Review: Letters from Father Christmas, J.R.R. Tolkien

Rating: 5 out of 5

I knew about this title for a long while, and yet I never thought to pick it up. What a mistake that has been was only demonstrated when I finally—towards the end of last year—did jump past my lethargy to read these letters. What I found was something I had never thought to discover though indeed I’d not given much thought as to the form of a book titled ‘Letters from Father Christmas’. The letters are accompanied by drawings—very adorable drawings—which help clarify the content of the letters.

It’s a collection of letters, as written by Mr Tolkien himself, in the position of Father Christmas, to his children over the years (generally one or two per year). In this, Father Christmas start out, in the easy-going 1920’s by describing how he’s going to be by soon with lots of presents, but in the more troubled 1930’s the descriptions often relate to the fighting and troubles that have started up around the North Pole where Father Christmas lives.

It would be difficult to come up with a more charming premise, but that’s one meets Polar Bear or PB. PB often interjects himself into the letters, especially where Father Christmas is describing things differently than he would. These additions are not only delightful but also help turn these into more than just letters, never mind the letterhead and formatting—these are stories, stories with two main characters who are clearly very good friends but who also, for that very same reason, take the mickey out of each other.

While not quite Milne’s Winnie the Pooh (especially where the nefarious goblins come into play), this is nevertheless a delightful and charming set of stories.

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