21st of December 2017
Although nowadays Yule is often used as a synonym for Christmas, originally it was a pagan celebration connected with Midwinter. Some believe that many traditions still observed today have their roots in those holidays, for example: the Christmas Tree, Yule Log (burned in fireplaces in Anglo-Saxon countries), the custom of eating Christmas Ham (in Great Britain), Yule Goat in Scandinavia etc.
In The Shire Calendar, used by hobbits, two days called Yule existed. They were holidays of the end of the Old Year, and at the same time, of the beginning of the new, and therefore, belonged to no month.
On the 21st of November (gregorian calendar) a month called Foreyule began (in Bree it was called Yulemath). It lasted until the 20th of December. 21st of December was the last day of the year, known as 1 Yule, while the 22nd – 2 Yule – was considered to be the first day of the new. On the 23rd of December began the first month, Afteryule.
This holiday season, which began on the 29th of Foreyule and ended on the 2nd of Afteryule (six-days long) was known as Yuletide.
Sadly, we don’t know how hobbits celebrated this time, we can only assume that their traditions were similar to Anglo-Saxon.
In Scandinavian folklore, a creature called tomte (known also as nisse) existed. According to LML from The Mythical Astronomy it is likely that it was used by George R.R. Martin as a source of inspiration, while creating the name Nissa Nissa.
It turns out that nisse is startingly similar to a Child of a Forest: both are short, have four fingers, and eyes that reflect light in the dark, like those of a cat.
Nisse would protect the homestead, but only if he received food and drinks as payment. When the farmer forgot to leave a meal for nisse at night, the gnome would get angry and begin play pranks on him.