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Letters from Father Christmas

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Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply? For more than twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien received letters from the North Pole - from Father Christmas himself! They told wonderful stories of mischief and disaster, adventures, and battles: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place, how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas's house, and many others.

Now, for the first time, these letters are brought to life with specially arranged holiday music.


"Tolkien at his relaxed and ingenious best." The Times of London


J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892-1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic extraordinary works of fiction as 'The Hobbit', 'The Lord of the Rings', and 'The Silmarillion.' His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

©1997, 2004 (P)1997 Harper Collins UK

111 pages, Paperback

First published September 2, 1976

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About the author

J.R.R. Tolkien

515 books68.9k followers
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: writer, artist, scholar, linguist. Known to millions around the world as the author of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien spent most of his life teaching at the University of Oxford where he was a distinguished academic in the fields of Old and Middle English and Old Norse. His creativity, confined to his spare time, found its outlet in fantasy works, stories for children, poetry, illustration and invented languages and alphabets.

Tolkien’s most popular works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set in Middle-earth, an imagined world with strangely familiar settings inhabited by ancient and extraordinary peoples. Through this secondary world Tolkien writes perceptively of universal human concerns – love and loss, courage and betrayal, humility and pride – giving his books a wide and enduring appeal.

Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist who painted for pleasure and relaxation. He excelled at landscapes and often drew inspiration from his own stories. He illustrated many scenes from The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, sometimes drawing or painting as he was writing in order to visualize the imagined scene more clearly.

Tolkien was a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Oxford for almost forty years, teaching Old and Middle English, as well as Old Norse and Gothic. His illuminating lectures on works such as the Old English epic poem, Beowulf, illustrate his deep knowledge of ancient languages and at the same time provide new insights into peoples and legends from a remote past.

Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1892 to English parents. He came to England aged three and was brought up in and around Birmingham. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1915 and saw active service in France during the First World War before being invalided home. After the war he pursued an academic career teaching Old and Middle English. Alongside his professional work, he invented his own languages and began to create what he called a mythology for England; it was this ‘legendarium’ that he would work on throughout his life. But his literary work did not start and end with Middle-earth, he also wrote poetry, children’s stories and fairy tales for adults. He died in 1973 and is buried in Oxford where he spent most of his adult life.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,977 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,118 reviews44.8k followers
December 21, 2018
Tolkien must have been an excellent farther to his children. To put so much thought and effort into the making of these letters speaks of nothing but devotion. They’re so well crafted by a master of the pen. The calligraphy, alone, is fantastic to look at. It’s quite revealing too. It’s like a little peek into the family life of the Tolkien’s, one which shows the patriarch as a kindly gentleman that he no doubt was. This is a great little book.



I do recommend this edition in particular because it shows the original print along with a text version. This means it can be read easily because some of the originals are quite dense.

Profile Image for oyshik.
219 reviews690 followers
January 3, 2021
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Every year J. R.R Tolkien's children received letters from Santa Claus and a polar bear, decorated with colorful pictures. Actually, the letter was from their father, Tolkien himself, to entertain their children. In these letters, Santa and a polar bear told great stories of their adventure and mischief, of battles with goblins and feasts with elves. Each illustration, stamp, and envelope, made personally by J.R.R Tolkien, are a fabulous work of art. It's a gripping tale of an adventure, which will appeal to children and even parents more.
If you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite so many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.

Profile Image for Angela M .
1,308 reviews2,192 followers
December 22, 2019
Even though Christmas has become so commercial and not many kids know the true meaning of Christmas, I‘ve always loved the magic of believing in Santa Claus or St. Nicholas or Father Christmas or the other names he’s known as throughout the world. I got to wondering this year whether or not the young children in my life, my two youngest grandchildren and four of my great nephews still believed. Their mothers said they do. I hope so, for one more year at least.

This is a lovely book of letters that Tolkien wrote his children over the years and they are loving and sweet and funny and they sometimes reflected the hard things that were happening around the world - the depression, the war. They also reflected the changes in his children over the years as his boys grow up and the last letters are to his youngest daughter. A father shares his love for his children and for the magic of Father Christmas with stories and drawings, adventures of gnomes and goblins and the wonderfully funny antics of Polar Bear. I wish he had included the letters that the children sent to Father Christmas. A beautiful book, nonetheless. Off to read “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus”.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,173 followers
May 27, 2020
A lovely collection of illustrated letters from Father Christmas to Tolkien's children.

The tone and content of the letters changes over time to reflect the children growing up, and Tolkien Father Christmas doesn’t shy away from mentioning the horrors of the world, including war and hunger. The letters incorporate aspects of the children’s lives and things they'd written to him, but there is some continuity in the stories of what FC and his elves etc get up to. Lovely illustrations, too.

There are similarities with Mervyn Peake's Letters from a Lost Uncle, which I reviewed HERE.

A Bonding Book that Made a Tolkienite (two, actually)

I love this because it prompted "Father Christmas" to write similar letters to my own child over several years and because it kindled the flames of Tolkien fandom in my child, and thus, albeit to a lesser extent, me.

We went on to The Hobbit (see my review HERE), which I had disliked as a child, sowing the seeds of overlapping, but distinct reading tastes, that continues to this day. It also led my child to a world of like-minded friends at school, university, and beyond.

The letters my child received (and wrote in reply) incorporated some of the characters and plot from Tolkien (the North Polar Bear, for instance), but added new characters (especially Windley, a naughty girl elf). As with Tolkien's children, the exchanges continued a little after the real author was known, but it remained a wonderful imaginative stimulus and a shared semi-secret world.

Lego was a great passion. My child had pirate Lego, Ancient Egyptian Lego, and Star Wars Lego amongst others, but really wanted Roman Lego. For several years, they wrote to Father Christmas, asking for some. Each year, Father Christmas found it harder to come up with a new excuse - especially once said child knew the truth of Father Christmas and presented ever more challenging arguments as to why the elves could surely make it, and that there would be many other enthusiastic recipients. Eventually, Father Christmas said that most Roman things were ruins now, so they could just use regular Lego as ruins!

When my child turned 18, I asked if they still wanted a stocking from Father Christmas, but they said they'd rather just have regular presents. That year, the final gift from Father Christmas was a solitary Lego figure - a Roman soldier. (Thank you, internet!)

The Big Question

When just beginning to question the plausibility of Father Christmas, my child asked "How does Father Christmas make a profit?" (probably after listening to my father pontificating on matters of economics and personal finance).

I'd have questioned the premise that he needs or wants to make a profit, but my husband came up with an excellent answer: branding, licensing, and franchising.

The Ethics of Lying about Father Christmas

When I was a new mother, I wondered about the ethics of telling and acting out such an overt and detailed "lie" as Father Christmas delivering presents. It seemed less obviously fiction than reading Peter Rabbit or recounting fairy stories, which I was happy to do.

I didn't want to deprive my child of a core part of our culture, but thought I might feel guilty for deceiving, or that they might feel betrayed when the truth came out.

I need not have worried: as soon as my child could talk, their vivid imagination was apparent. I was drawn into that world, and we redrew it together. If I hadn't "invented" Father Christmas and many other fantasies, my child would have done so. And I am glad.

Other Imaginary Friends

My child's purest inventions were Sitty the cat - for whom they tried to sneak real cat food into my shopping basket - and Sitty's friend, Ruffy the dog. Distinct personalities evolved, and we spent many hours creating, retelling, and reworking stories about them.

But there was one time when I found my child, aged about three, sobbing uncontrollably. Between the stifled, hiccuping tears, they told me Sitty had said she didn't want to be friends any more! What sort of imaginary friend says that?! Fortunately, she relented quite quickly, there was no long-term trauma, and it's now a well-loved family anecdote.

A vivid imagination, fed by good books, is a powerful, symbiotic, mystical force. Thank you Tolkien.

Profile Image for Matt.
3,812 reviews12.8k followers
December 24, 2020
Join me in my final annual Christmas season reading. Here is the perfect story for young and not so young alike. Please find my original review here:

From the annals of one of the 20th century’s greatest writers of fantasy comes this collection of letters, perfect for the holiday season. A collection of letters written by Nicholas Christmas to the Tolkien children, this book is filled with the Christmas spirit and all the lovely stories that take place each year at the North Pole. The letters, penned in the 1920s and 30s, introduce the children to North Polar Bear and his helpful role as Father Christmas’ assistant in the preparation for the great Christmas delivery. Annual letters talk about wandering reindeer, small polar cubs, as well as the warm weather and fiscal belt-tightening required, which serve to entertain and educate the Tolkiens. As the years progress, the recipients change, though Father Christmas is sure to remember those older Tolkiens who may choose no longer to write. Making loose references to letters written and sent to him, Father Christmas adds a secondary gift with most letters, a hand-drawn picture in ink, depicting some of the key events mentioned in the text. This wonderful set of letters is sure to make any lover of Christmas feel a little warmer during the holiday season. Fans of Christmas will enjoy this short piece, as well as those who love Tolkien’s unique style.

I was put onto this short piece by someone who shares my love of the holiday season, as well as a well-crafted piece of writing. Tolkien surely lays the foundation for both and has made this very short buddy read worthwhile. Using his wonderfully expansive mind, Tolkien surely devised the idea to communicate with his children on an annual basis. Without pulling the children into anything too time consuming, Tolkien develops a set of characters who can be revisited on an annual basis, as well as referencing the children’s letters and trying to explain how he came to choose the presents that appeared in their stockings. From the slightly grumpy North Polar Bear to the always helpful red and green elves, the letters are sure to capture the attention of the Tolkien children. The hand-drawn additions to the letters, done by Tolkien himself, add another layer of beauty to these letters, warming the hearts of the children who were sure to find them in the post close to Christmas, as well as the reader, who might marvel in the detail offered. While I listened to the audio, I made sure to borrow the hard copy from the library to marvel at the drawings. Any parent or adult with children close-by will surely think this a superb idea to bring added excitement to Christmas. I wonder if this idea might be one that I begin with Neo next year, if he is willing to write a letter to the North Pole. That said, my drawing leaves much to be desired. It’s the thought, though, right?!
Kudos, Mr. Tolkien, for helping me spark the holiday season with this piece. I will be adding this to my annual Christmas reading list and wish I had known about it years ago.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,028 reviews763 followers
December 26, 2022
Christmas Letters

Wow, Tolkien's children received letters from Santa from 1920 to 1943, until his youngest daughter was 14. In this collection of letters, Santa shares his adventure at the North Pole with goblins, elves, gnomes, and polar bears. I can't imagine how thrilled his children must have been to get these every year.

Love the spirit of Christmas and father's love.💌🎄

Profile Image for leynes.
1,111 reviews3,028 followers
December 14, 2021
((This the perfect Christmas read, just saying, get your hands on this book now, and either read it yourself or give it to your loved ones!))

I can't believe I'm saying this but I finished this book bawling last night. I haven't cried so much upon finishing a book since ... oh well, I forgot I read Crooked Kingdom at the beginning of March but, you get me, it's been a month. ;)

This collection of Christmas letters touched me in a way I would've never anticipated. They are a manifestation of "show, not tell" – Tolkien's love for his kids, and how much thought and care and love for detail he put into their upbringing shines through his letters to them. It is so apparent how much love Tolkien had for his four children, how much love he had for storytelling, inventing languages, and drawing pictures.

I feel weird writing this but I felt so close to him as a human being and all of his children as well. We notice them growing up throughout the span of 23 years in which Tolkien wrote them these Father Christmas letters. We notice how the eldest no longer believes in Father Christmas, no longer puts up his stockings and no longer responds to F.C.'s letters. I noticed Tolkien's heartbreak over this as well. Of course, you want your kids to grow up and become their own people, but it's natural for parents to not want to let go so quickly. These moments of vulnerability touched me the most.

When the last letter came around in 1943, the year Tolkien's youngest child Priscilla forgot to write to Father Christmas because she no longer believed in him, I cried so so so much.
My dear Priscilla,

A very happy Christmas! I suppose you will be hanging up your stocking just once more: I hope so for I have still a few things for you. After this I shall have to say "goodbye", more or less: I mean, I shall not forget you. We always keep the old numbers of our old friends, and their letters; and later on we hope to come back when they are grown up and have houses of their own and children.
It really reminded me of the interaction between Kat and her father in 10 Things I Hate About You: "You know fathers don't like to admit it when their daughters are capable of running their own lives. It means we've become spectators. Bianca still let's me play a few innings - you've had me on the bench for years. When you go to Sarah Lawrence, I won't even be able to watch the game."

Oh boy, I'm getting really, really sappy over this but this collection is honestly my favorite work of Tolkien's. I'm aware that I wouldn't have loved it so much hadn't I read so much of his fiction before, and so on a rational level The Silmarillion will always be my fave, but on an emotional level it's these damn letters. They showed me how fucking much I vibe with Tolkien's sense of humor. He was so funny and clever with his jokes, I can't wrap my head around it.
At twelve, or later,
he will arrive – and hopes once more
that he has chosen from his store
the things you want. You're half past nine;
[Ilbereth interjecting: She is not a clock!]
I loved that he created these different personas (Father Christmas, the North Polar Bear, Ilbereth etc.) because the interaction between them (in the letters) was fucking golden and remained authentic and true to their origin throughout the curse of 23 years, e.g. the North Polar Bear always interjecting "RUDE" when the other characters were calling him out. :> How is that even possible? Tolkien was such a dedicated hoe, I am shooketh! But he also didn't fail to address important issues of the time such as World War II and the environment. I loved that he raised his kids to value humility and see things in perspectives; after all, looking at the grand scheme of things, these UK kids were very well off.

These letters mean a heck of a lot to me and have solidified Tolkien as one of my absolute favorite authors. And yes, I'm reading Christmas books in April, don't @ me.
Profile Image for [ J o ].
1,950 reviews434 followers
December 8, 2021
[First read: 28th November, 2015.
Second read: 10th December, 2016.]

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is best known for his high fantasy series The Lord of the Rings and the pre-cursor, The Hobbit, as well as being one of the foremost respected professors on Anglo-Saxon Britain, but behind closed doors he was a wonderful father and a tremendous family man. He had four children, John, Michael, Christopher and Priscilla, and with every passing year they would receive hand-written and illustrated replies from Father Christmas, detailing all of his escapades up in the North Pole.

This book is a wonder to behold. I am a pro-consumerist, anti-capitalist far-left-wing socialist and I pretty much despise Christmas, but this book holds within its pages every little thing that I can tolerate about the festive holidays. This is what I wish Christmas were still about: not spending £50 on cards, or buying a PS4 and an XBOX One for your child because they want both of them, but loving your family through thick and thin, and war, and using Father Christmas as a catalyst for teaching young children the importance of giving as well as receiving and the value of money.

Each letter was hand-written by Tolkien in a shaky script to denote Father Christmas's advanced years, but his drawings were utterly superb. Every year, Father Christmas would try and sort out all the world's presents, but Polar Bear and his friends would upset everything whilst having an enormous amount of fun. As the years went by, more and more characters were added and a whole race of Goblins was brought in to wage war against the beautiful splendour of Father Christmas.

The thing that struck me the most about this book is the fact that I was surprised how surprised I was at Tolkien's imagination. He also tried to deal with things like war in a way that a child can understand without shying away from how truly terrible it is. It is a lesson in Being Bloody Nice and I truly loved this book. It made me believe that one day I may end up liking Christmas: perhaps maybe even loving it.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,779 reviews14.2k followers
December 8, 2015
3.5 When I first started reading this I thought what a fantastic idea, one I wish I has thought of when my children were young. Soon though I was caught up in the letters, waiting for the further adventures of polar bear and the cubs, the goblins and the old Ancient bear as well as the happenings on the North Pole. We can tell as the children age and quit believing in Santa as well as insights to what is happening in the rest of the world. Loved the colored pictures too.

Clever, clever, Tolkien. Lucky, lucky children.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book557 followers
December 5, 2022
What a darling little book of letters written from J.R.R. Tolkien (Father Christmas) to his children, John, Michael, Christopher and Pricilla. I found it interesting that a man of so much imagination gave his children such common names.

The illustrations that he drew to accompany the letters are remarkable and I shall now think of Polar Bear as a Christmas staple, the way I think of the Grinch.

What a lovely glimpse into the person Tolkien was! These are very personal interactions with his children and say quite a lot about his relationship with them.

Here’s to Christmas, imagination and fathers.

(A special thank you to my friend, Angela M., for putting this one on my radar).
Profile Image for Matt.
3,812 reviews12.8k followers
December 21, 2022
Another wonderful annual re-read!! This year, Neo joined me!

A masterful piece of writing by J.R.R. Tolkien, which is a collection of the letters he penned as ‘Father Christmas’ over the years of his children’s upbringing. The letters are in response to those sent by the Tolkien children over the years, in which Father Christmas explores some of the drama he had up at the North Pole. With a handful of splendid characters who add even more excitement in a way only Tolkien can do, this is the perfect collection to read each and every year. I highly recommend the audio version, as it increases the excitement even more!

Kudos, Mr. Tolkien, for another great piece. I may not be a fantasy nut, but this book was right up my alley!

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Kenny.
506 reviews938 followers
December 24, 2021
Excuse thick writing I have a fat paw. I help Father Christmas with his packing; I live with him. I am the GREAT (Polar) BEAR
J.R.R. Tolkien ~~ Letters from Father Christmas


This was my first J.R.R. Tolkien read. I was enchanted by this delightful book.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien's children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful color drawing. They were from Father Christmas, telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: How all the reindeer got loose and scattered all over the place; How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas's house in the dining room; How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; How there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lives in the caves beneath the house, and many more! Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humor to the stories.


Polar Bear always seems to get himself into trouble whether he is falling down the stairs, overflowing the bathtub, breaking the North Pole or turning on two years worth of the Northern Lights all at one time. Luckily Santa is patient with him and Polar Bear eventually saves the day when the North Pole is invaded by evil goblins who want to steal all the presents. Letters from Father Christmas is sure to delight readers of all ages.

I will enjoy myself for years to come rereading this book, and making it part of my Christmas reading traditions.

Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,898 reviews378 followers
December 26, 2018
Quite charming collection of letters Tolkien wrote ummm I mean Nicholas Christmas wrote to Tolkien's children during the 1930s. I think this would be best enjoyed with a cup of eggnog, a fireside, a hardback copy to look at the illustrations, and the audio copy to follow along with the reader.

12/25/18 annual audio reread #268
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
December 29, 2019
Reread December 2019:

Honestly, there's nothing I have to say here except:

1) the illustrations are precious
4) and it's Christmas themed
5) so like . . . go read it?

(yes, this is my fourth year in a row reading it & I will never stop)

/ / /

Reread December 2018:

This never fails to make me smile. My favorite Christmas read. :)

/ / /

Reread December 2017:

OKAY SO IT'S ADORABLE. And it's written by Tolkien.

That's all you need to know. ;)

/ / /

I loved this so much! *hugs book* It's definitely the best Christmas book I've read--and it will for sure be something I reread again at Christmastime. ^_^ Honestly, it reminds me so much of The Hobbit, purely because of the fun characters and humor. An instant Christmas favorite. <3
Profile Image for Trish.
2,015 reviews3,433 followers
December 21, 2020
Cliff House, Top of the World, Near the North Pole [insert date]:

I think the author needs no introduction. But this little gem of a book proves that the man didn't "just" invent Middle-Earth, the place of epic fantasy. No, he was a man with a great imagination in general.

Apparently, like so many children around the world, his kids would write to Father Christmas. Only in their case, he wrote back! Throughout his childrens' childhoods, there would be a letter every December. The letters, the envelopes, even the stamps were handmade by Tolkien (see pictures below), complete with scraggly handwriting (so as not to be recognized). The letters were written by Father Christmas himself or the North Polar Bear living with him or some of the elves, detailing life at the North Pole, the accidents and preparations for the highest of holidays.
The first letter is from 1920, the last one from 1943 (that ones written during the war were especially touching). All of them are charming and full of warmth and kindness.

A wonderful collection that spreads the Christmas cheer and is a real eye-catcher if you have the print edition. The perfect read for anyone enjoying the holidays and delighting in tales of mischief and the right kind of spirit for this time of year.

P.S.: *Here* is my review of the slipcased deluxe edition.
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 20 books2,146 followers
December 10, 2019
A friend reviewed this this very morning insisting the audiobook was a must-listen and so I bought it this morning for a couple dollars on Audible and got my steps in listening to this wonderful, wonderful collection. If you have a couple hours in the car or around the house this Christmas, nothing will be more Christmassy than this collection of letters from JRR Tolkien to his children.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
671 reviews4,285 followers
December 24, 2018
This was so sweet and heartfelt. Such lucky children to have Tolkien as their father. And such gorgeous illustrations!! Really worth reading around Christmas time. This will certainly be a book I share with my future children.
Profile Image for Dennis.
658 reviews276 followers
January 1, 2021
This was sweet.

Almost every November or December from 1920 to 1943 one or several letters would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. In strange spidery handwriting Father Christmas would tell them about life at the North Pole. Those tales were accompanied by color drawings and sometimes also by additional notes written by the North Polar Bear and later also by Father Christmas’ secretary, an Elf named Ilbereth.

Tolkien put a lot of work into these letters. Not only did he come up with a new story for his children pretty much every year, the envelopes are also handmade, and he drew the pictures and even designed the post stamps.

The original letters are reproduced here and thankfully accompanied by a word-for-word transcript, as they are sometimes a little hard to read.





This is a wonderfully designed book with high-quality production values.

I won’t lie, though, it took some time to win me over. Don’t get me wrong, I think what Tolkien did for his kids is just wonderful. But I was asking myself initially, why should I read the letters that someone else wrote to his children? Will it be like reading a couple of short stories that I have no connection to, and that were not meant for a wider audience anyway?

It was a little like this, in the beginning. But of course, these letters are building on each other, and they are so full of warmth and kindness, and mischief. The banter between Father Christmas and the Polar Bear was really quite funny. The drawings are also often funny, and sweet.

You can see how over the years the kids were developing a friendship with Father Christmas, and then ultimately grew out of it. You can also see how the letters are changing in the light of events back then, namely the Second World War. The last letter to his daughter was particularly profound and made me a little sentimental.

A nice read for the holiday season.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,795 reviews2,388 followers
December 4, 2017

When I started reading this, I was charmed with this illustrations and the idea of J.R.R. Tolkien even writing just these letters to his children, and then when I began reading this, I realized what a treasure this was, and I wished I had thought of doing something similar for my own children… and then I realized how it would pale in comparison to these letters, the stories they hold in them from Father Christmas to his children through the years.

And what years they were, the first of these being written in 1920. His oldest was then only three years old when he began writing these, and they were continued through for over twenty years. Even though Santa may live at the North Pole, he was not oblivious to the problems the world was facing, then, and there are some nods to the leaner years, where Santa may have sent fewer items than in the past since there were so many difficulties for other children in the world. At the same time, each letter contained enough charm, humorous events, and an occasional word from the North Polar Bear, Santa’s chief assistant.

I would recommend a print copy, since the pictures in this are wonderful, but if you have an iPad, you won’t miss out on the lovely colours this offers.

Growing up, my belief in Santa was pretty strong, most of the homes in my neighborhood contained children, some with two, some with four children, most with three, but Santa came to our home with a giant red leather-bound book, in which he had stories of things we’d done throughout the year written down, so when it was our turn to sit on his lap, we often were cautioned about things we’d done wrong and congratulated for things we’d done right. Since this was a neighborhood ritual, we all gathered at one house and patiently waited our turn. Santa was the same from year to year, with a real beard and no stuffing needed, and his “suit” was clearly his own, nothing new about it. He was, as we all knew, the real deal.

Fans of Tolkien will love this, as well as those who are looking for a nice, charming Christmas story.
Included are copies of all of the letters, you can see how shaky Santa’s handwriting is, and the drawings add so much more to what is already delightful, I loved the lengths he went to so that his children would have something to believe in.
Profile Image for Marcos GM.
293 reviews130 followers
September 10, 2023

2ª lectura:

Qué decir de estas cartas que no se haya dicho ya, incluido yo mismo más abajo... Lo intentaré.
Que Tolkien tenía facilidad para elaborar historias y universos propios es de sobra conocido, y lo mismo se podía decir para las lenguas. Lo que se conoce menos es su faceta como ilustrador, y aunque no era muy pródigo, ilustró bastantes de sus obras en un momento u otro. Así que para Navidad, juntó todo esto y escribió una carta de respuesta del propio papá Noel a su hijo. Eso fue en 1920, y hasta 1943 siguió enviando misivas a sus hijos.

En estas misivas Nicholas Christmas, su nombre real, contaba todo lo que le iba sucediendo de un año a otro, con profusión de detalles y con muchos personajes. Y además ilustraba las mismas, bien en la propia carta o bien como imágenes adjuntas. Aquí dejo un enlace a varias de esas ilustraciones, aunque trasteando en la web hay muchas más de sus obras más conocidas.

Dibujos de papá Noel

La edición que yo tengo, llamada de lujo por algo, es maravillosa. Viene en su propia caja, roja con ribetes blancos simulando escarcha o nieve y rematada con un sello de papá Noel. El libro en sí es tapa dura, con papel semi cartulina, ideal para estas cartas y dibujos, y en él vienen tanto reproducciones de las misivas originales, un puntazo, como la propia traducción al español. En cada carta viene su fecha y membrete, y a diferentes tintas y tonos la escritura de varios personajes (papá Noel, Karhu el oso polas o el elfo Ilbereth). Además viene un desplegable al inicio con una reproducción ordenada de todos los sellos que llevaban los sobres de las cartas.

Para lectura en navidades es idóneo, y si los niños ya saben el secreto, hacelo en familia también es algo fantástico.

1ª lectura:

Poco que decir de este compendio de cartas que no se haya dicho mil veces.
Incluye la correspondencia de los niños Tolkien desde 1920 hasta 1943 (no todas, pero casi) con Papá Noel. Y estas son una auténtica maravilla. Las diferentes caligrafías que usa para cada personaje, los idiomas que usa, que son no muy elaborados pero muy diferentes, y sobre todo los muy variados y muy maravillosos dibujos que acompañan a estas cartas.

La edición que yo tengo en concreto es realmente magnífica: el encuadernado, el papel, la reproducción de los sobres y sellos...todo conforma un ejemplar espectacular.



2nd reading:

What to say about these letters that hasn't already been said, including myself below... I'll try.
That Tolkien had a facility for creating his own stories and universes is well known, and the same could be said for languages. What is less known is his facet as an illustrator, and although he was not very prodigal, he illustrated quite a few of his works at one time or another. So for Christmas, he put all this together and wrote a reply letter from Father Christmas himself to his son. That was in 1920, and until 1943 he continued to send letters to his children.

In these letters Nicholas Christmas, his real name, recounted everything that was happening to him from one year to the next, in profusion of details and with many characters. And he also illustrated them, either in the letter itself or as attached images. Here I leave a link to several of those illustrations, although browsing the web there are many more of his best-known works.

Father Christmas illustrations

The edition that I have, called deluxe for a reason, is wonderful. It comes in its own box, red with white rimming simulating frost or snow and topped with a Santa Claus stamp. The book itself is hardcover, with semi-cardboard paper, ideal for these letters and drawings, and it includes both reproductions of the original letters, a stamp, and the Spanish translation itself. In each letter comes its date and letterhead, and in different inks and tones the writing of various characters (Father Christmas, Karhu the polas bear or Ilbereth the elf). In addition, there is a drop-down at the beginning with an ordered reproduction of all the stamps that the envelopes of the letters carried.

For reading at Christmas it is ideal, and if the children already know the secret, doing it as a family is also something fantastic.

1st reading:

Little to say about this compendium of letters that has not been said a thousand times.
Includes the Tolkien children's correspondence from 1920 to 1943 (not all, but almost) with Father Christmas (Nicolas Christmas being his real name). And these are a real wonder. The different calligraphies that he uses for each character, the languages ​​that he uses, which are not very elaborate but very different, and above all the enormous variety of very wonderful drawings that accompany these letters.

The edition that I have in particular is truly magnificent: the binding, the paper, the reproduction of the envelopes and stamps...everything makes up a spectacular copy.

Profile Image for Ajeje Brazov.
724 reviews
December 21, 2019
Sono in pieno periodo tolkien-iano e chi se ne libera più!? :-D
Dopo l'affascinante viaggio in "Lo Hobbit", mi ritrovo al Polo Nord con Babbo Natale e i suoi amici. Tolkien dal 1920 al 1943, per 23 anni confeziona decine e decine di letterine da Babbo Natale per i suoi figli, ovviamente i figli sapevano che queste bellissime letterine venissero da Babbo Natale, chissà che emozione nei loro occhi e soprattutto nei loro cuori. Perchè siamo all'inizio del 1900 e non ora all'inizio del 2000, dove internet, social network e televisione a profusione, incombono sulle povere menti in crescita dei bambini, sfatando i loro sogni, le loro fantasie...
Così mi trovo davanti dei veri e propri capolavori, sia in come Tolkien ha confezionato e strutturato le lettere, ma anche per il tocco delizioso dato dalle numerose illustrazioni, magnifiche!
Non sono letterine banali, ma così dense di folklore, attenzione alle situazioni quotidiane, sociali ed anche divertenti, piene di felicità e gioia.
Profile Image for Carolyn Marie  Castagna.
290 reviews6,192 followers
December 28, 2020
The only word to describe this book by is...wait for it... PRECIOUS!!!
This was my first time reading anything "written" by Tolkien...or should I say Father Christmas?
I admire his imagination, creativity, and love for his children greatly! Not only the wonderful letters of the many adventures of Father Christmas captured my heart, but the charming illustrations he sent with them!
This book reminds me of when I was a child, waking up on Christmas morning each year and finding a note from Santa Claus or Mr. C!
I'm so happy to have another new holiday favorite!
Profile Image for Shirley Revill.
1,197 reviews248 followers
November 19, 2017
I listened to the audiobook of this wonderful story and it was absolutely magical.
The audiobook comprises of a collection of letters from Father Christmas with cheery festive music before each letter.
The narration and the music was absolutely superb and my Grandchildren where entranced with this book.
You couldn't hear a pin drop while the story was being told and I now feel in the mood for putting the Christmas tree up and decorating the house in November.
Absolutely magical and captures the spirit of Christmas.
Recommended for everyone who is still a child at heart and children everywhere.
Profile Image for Negin.
629 reviews150 followers
December 20, 2020
Oh, what a charming book! I was skeptical about getting this, since I’m not even a Tolkien fan. That genre is just not my cup of tea. I’m so glad that I got this. What a beautiful book to get me in the mood for Christmas! While reading this, I was amazed at all the love and dedication that Tolkien put into these letters from Father Christmas to his children for years and years! The illustrations are incredible. The only thing that I would have loved to see were the letters from his children to Father Christmas. This book is delightful for children and adults.

Profile Image for Melindam.
663 reviews293 followers
November 26, 2019
A lovely read, I would have loved to be one of Tolkien's kids & leading an extensive correspondence with St. Nick.

(Sorry Dad, I love you & you are the top and the uncontested & uncrowned King of DIY-land, but you would have never written/drawn me letters pretending to be Father Christmas!!! :)
Profile Image for sfogliarsi.
351 reviews232 followers
January 4, 2023
Conoscevo questo libro? No, l’ho scoperto grazie ai vostri post. Conoscevo questo scrittore? Si, ma mai letto! Mi sono innamorata di questo libro? SI SI
Lettere da Babbo Natale è un libro breve ma intenso che raccoglie tante lettere scritte da Babbo Natale (nonché lo stesso scrittore) mandate ai figli. Ogni dicembre i tre figli di Tolkien ricevono puntualmente una letterina in cui Babbo Natale si confida, descrive l’anno passato, il Natale imminente e le sue avventure con tanti aiutanti tra cui l’Orso Bianco del Nord, gli Elfi della neve, gli Gnomi Rossi, gli Uomini-Neve, Elfo Ilbereth, Paksu e Valkotukka.
Un libro che raccoglie tante lettere a partire dal 1920 dal figlio maggiore, all’ultima lettera del 1943 rivolta all’ultima figlia di Tolkien. Ogni letterina presente nel libro è accompagnata dalla lettera vera e propria e da tantissime illustrazioni meravigliose, disegni che riempiono il cuore.
Ripeto, non conoscevo questo titolo e averlo scoperto mi rende felicissima. Trovo che sia davvero un libro particolare e che la scelta dello scrittore sia stata davvero un’azione super bella: non è da tutti diventare Babbo Natale per i propri figli e renderli così felici in questo periodo magico. Per questo penso che sia un libro originale e magnifico, adatto sia ai più piccoli che ai più grandi. Un libro da leggere sia come libro della buonanotte per i più piccini o come libro di piacere per i più grandi. Perché una cosa è certa: anche se si è il Grinch, questo libro non può non far innamorare del Natale.
Un libro emozionante che potrebbe diventare anche un calendario dell’avvento: una letterina al giorno per immergersi nella totale magia del natale e immergersi nelle mille avventure di Babbo Nicola Natale.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews935 followers
December 26, 2019
Muy bonito el libro, me gusto.

Cuando llega la Navidad casi todo el mundo solo piensa en regalos, fiestas y comida; pero gracias a esta pequeña recopilación de cartas de Tolkien, podemos ver una perspectiva diferente de esta celebración. Tolkien, aprovechando su talento para escribir, les proporciono a sus hijos una infancia muy bonita. Claro que les dio regalos, pero es que enviarles cartas, haciéndoles creer a sus hijos que era Papa Noel quien se las enviaba es muy original y especial. De solo imaginar esa escena, puedo ver que esos niños fueron muy felices en esa época y que tuvieron mucha ansiedad e incertidumbre, no solo por los obsequios, sino también por las cartas de Papa Noel.

Desconozco si era una costumbre familiar o simplemente él lo quiso intentar, pero cuando leemos estas cartas llenas de ternura, inevitablemente nos surge un deseo de intentarlo nosotros también con nuestros hijos o sobrinos. De hecho, yo ya lo estoy considerando hacer cuando tenga mis hijos, porque sinceramente me pareció una idea fascinante.

Sin embargo, ocurre que cuando un libro es tierno, también puede producir nostalgia y tristeza a la vez. Me causo nostalgia al hacerme recordar mi infancia, en donde con esa inocencia que tenía, hacia una lista de tres páginas con regalos imposibles. Y en cuanto a la tristeza, es porque naturalmente esos niños, igual que todos nosotros, se enteraron de la verdad y toda esa aventura llego a su fin. Las despedidas o finales de ciclo, siempre me producen tristeza.

Algo importante para destacar y recordar, es la gran afectación que sufrieron las personas que vivieron en medio de las guerras mundiales. Lo menciono, porque en estas cartas lo noté. Al inicio, cada escrito transmitía mucha felicidad y dulzura; pero en las últimas cartas esto cambia mucho, y lo que transmite Tolkien ya es angustia y tristeza por lo que en ese momento ocurría en el mundo.

Vale realmente la pena leer estas cartas y llenar un poco de ternura nuestro corazón.
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