J. 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.
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.
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!