Letters From Father Christmas – A Little Tolkien Christmas Magic

Letters From Father Christmas Box SetJ. R. R. Tolkien is mostly known for his two classic fantasy books, The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, which set a new standard for the genre back in the first half of the twentieth century. However, this book and cd set, titled Letters From Father Christmas, reveals not only the Christmas spirit that Tolkien possessed, but the way in which he chose to share this with his children.

In 1920 Tolkien wrote the first letter from Father Christmas, to his then eldest child (who was only three years of age). Over the following twenty years, Tolkien would write more letters each year to his children, which became increasingly complicated in plot as he introduced more and more characters, from the North Polar Bear (who would also write letters), to the Snow Elves, Red Gnomes, Cave-bears, and more. The letters also contained a wide array of stories that grew with the children, and the household of Father Christmas himself grew in size to accommodate the stories.

The first letter from Father Christmas, written to a three year old John in 1920. The letter itself is reproduced on the left, in shaky handwriting.

The first letter from Father Christmas, written to a three year old John in 1920. The letter itself is reproduced on the left, in shaky handwriting.

This book collects the letters themselves, with many of the shakily written letters reproduced as they would have originally been seen by the children, with all the pictures that he sent alongside the letters, all in colour.

I love that Tolkien wrote these, especially when one considers that the majority of these letters would have been written long before he was famous – The Hobbit wasn’t released until 1937. It is such a labour of love, and such a beautiful way to not only excite one’s children about Christmas, but to help encourage their imaginations from a young age. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard not to be charmed by the cleverness of these letters.

This is a letter which was finished by the North Polar Bear, as Father Christmas had to run off halfway through writing the letter. We discover earlier that the NPB had played a prank by letting off a huge firework, spooking Father Christmas.

This is a letter which was finished by the North Polar Bear, as Father Christmas had to run off halfway through writing the letter. We discover earlier that the NPB had played a prank by letting off a huge firework, spooking Father Christmas.

To those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! And to everybody, I hope you all have a wonderful end of the year, whatever you celebrate/believe in/get up to!

4 thoughts on “Letters From Father Christmas – A Little Tolkien Christmas Magic

  1. Tolkien’s Father Christmas letters should be better known than they are – great shout-out for them, thanks for posting. Curiously, I’m currently reading John Rateliff’s ‘The History of The Hobbit’, which reveals that The Hobbit started life as an extension of the Father Christmas letters – as in something Tolkien was writing for his children – and that there was a good deal of interplay between the two in the early 1930s (when Tolkien actually wrote The Hobbit), certainly in terms of ideas and concepts.

    • That’s interesting to know about the links between The Hobbit and the letters. I did figure that some would have been written at the same time, and I was somewhat aware that The Hobbit was a story he wrote for his children. How fascinating! I may have to look into that book by Rateliff at some point. Thanks for sharing.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s