Letters from the North Pole


Searching for seasonal bedtime reads for the kids, or a great way to get into the spirit on Christmas Eve? Forget stories about Santa – why not read letters containing stories from the North Pole, written by Father Christmas himself, and addressed to none other than J.R.R. Tolkien’s sons.


Tolkien might be more famous for his somewhat darker fantasy tales, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t lighten up a notch in order to write letters from the North Pole full of stories about all the things that happen there for his kids at Christmas. Ok, so even these stories weren’t completely goblin-free, but things generally ended well and Father Christmas was always able to get his work done in the end.


It seems that being a university lecturer who spent a lot of his spare time creating new languages and writing fantasy mythologies didn’t always leave much for Mr. Tolkien, in the way of family finances, to buy lots of presents for the boys at Christmas time. The letter however arrived every year without fail and became a family tradition that lasted 23 years!


The letters were always written in some pretty shaky handwriting – probably because it’s so terribly cold up there, or perhaps because being Father Christmas is such a stressful job – and accompanied by beautiful paintings or drawings. The letters told of mischievous reindeers who broke loose, scattering presents all over the place, or how the North Polar Bear, generally referred to as the N.P. Bear, got into all sorts of difficulties, falling through the roof of Father Christmas’s house, or breaking the Moon and leaving the man in it to go tumbling into the back garden, or of the nasty goblins who live in caves beneath the house causing trouble every year, and so on.


All those letters and pictures were of course kept safe, and finally published as a collection entitled The Father Christmas Letters in 1976, and then again with the title Letters from Father Christmas in 1999 and 2004. Here’s just a little taster for the sorts of things Father Christmas would write to Tolkien’s kids.


It all happened like this: one very windy day last November my hood blew off and went and stuck on the top of the North Pole. I told him not to, but the N.P.Bear climbed up to the thin top to get it down — and he did. The pole broke in the middle and fell on the roof of my house, and the N.P.Bear fell through the hole it made into the dining room with my hood over his nose, and all the snow fell off the roof into the house and melted and put out all the fires and ran down into the cellars where I was collecting this year’s presents, and the N.P.Bear’s leg got broken.


Yikes! We bet it all turned out ok in the end though. So, just in case Father Christmas doesn’t have time to write a letter to you this year, this is the book to pick up if you want to know what goes on up there at the North Pole!





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