Even Frodo was able to forget the Ring for a time when he saw the tree and thought of their days in Lorien. At the insistence of Legolas, Gandalf made a long and ponderous speech to commemorate the occasion. And at long last they began to eat. It was a feast to remember!
After a while the little hobbit children grew tired of sitting and were allowed to leave the table. They went over to the large hearth to lay down and nap, their tummies full and their cheeks flushed.
But one little hobbit stood up on tip toe and cried out, “Oh, look! There above the fireplace are toys!”
All the other children looked too. And indeed there were the toys that the hobbits had toiled over. Dolls, trains, and toy soldiers were peeking out of the tops of the largest stockings the children had ever seen (being, as they were, Gandalf’s own) and there was a stocking for each of them. Gandalf strode over and took down the stockings, giving one to each little hobbit and praising them for their good behavior all year long. He laughed a good deal as he did so, for their wide-eyed faces filled him with mirth. And so began the annual tradition of feasting and giving presents, two activities which hobbits hold most dear.
I am sure it does not require much in the way of imagination and cleverness to see where this story is leading. And I can only say that all your suspicions, which you may have had since the ship first crashed on the shores of the North Pole, are correct. The holiday grew larger until Frodo suggested that more children be given toys (especially since the hobbits kept making more and there was no place to put them all). This led them to call upon Radagast’s reindeer and Gandalf’s wizardry to create the sleigh and flying reindeer we are all familiar with today. The tradition of hiding the presents in stockings also continued (for it was never said that Gandalf did not have a sense of humor). And of course there was a tree every year, glimmering with light and, eventually, with candy and other decorations. Legolas would have it no other way.
Speaking of Legolas, he found it very amusing that the hobbits became known as “elves” to the children of men. “There is something very nice," he often said, "about children still knowing the name of my people.”
The rest, my good reader, is what you might call fiction, myth or legend but what I simply call history. That is the true story of the Fellowship and the beginning of Christmas.
And so I say to you all: Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!