Yuletide literally means “Yule time”. Yule, on the other hand, was a religious festival that was celebrated by the historical Germanic peoples. The festival was celebrated for 12 days, but it lent its name to the whole month that it was celebrated it, which is generally considered to be December.
The Yule festival is considered to be held in celebration of the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht. In fact, among his various names, Odin was also called Yule father and the Yule one. The customs of the festival included the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others.
If to some this sounds similar to Christmas, it is because it is actually Christmas. After Christianity over swept Europe, many of the traditional festivals and customs underwent Christianised reformulation, which means that they were Christianized and adopted by the people after they became Christians. Yuletide eventually became Christmastide, now only known as Christmas.
It is because of Yule, that Christmas has the tradition of yule log, which is a piece of special log that is burned on a hearth, i.e. fireplace, around the period of Christmas. The Yule singing is now the Christmas caroling. The Yule goat is still a famous symbol of Christmas throughout Scandinavian countries, as it was traditionally the Yule Goat that carried Father Christmas on his back. In fact, it is believed that Father Christmas, now commonly known as Santa Claus, was actually one of the forms of Odin, who used to deliver presents to well behaved children during Christmastide.