Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Book 54 of 2015: Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

I know, I know! It's the middle of June, it's completely the wrong time to be blogging Christmas book reviews. Then again, you might be like me and organise your reading material six months in advance, in which case this is entirely the right time to be blogging about J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas.

I've reviewed this book a couple of times before, since I reread it each year and inevitably end up posting the review on here so you're probably already familiar with it if you're a regular reader. Basically it's a collection of the letters that the Tolkien children received each year from Father Christmas. They tell the stories of life at the North Pole, what the North Polar Bear got up to, what events were causing problems with the presents and include little drawings by Father Christmas. It's a beautiful little book.

I read this one at the beginning of December last year and it prompted a slightly different emotion in me than before because at the time we were waiting to hear back from the hospital about what was going on with our IVF treatment after we had been removed from the list. Normally when I read this book I imagine doing something similar for my imaginary future children, but reading it last year I wasn't sure if there would ever be any future children which made me a little sad.

Which meant that as you read the book and see the Tolkien children growing up, the sadness is just amplified. Gradually each of the boys stop writing their letters to Father Christmas until only Tolkien's daughter, Priscilla, is left. I always find the last two letters heartbreaking as you realise that Tolkien is preparing to come to the end of a yearly ritual that he has been doing for around twenty years.

One of my favourite things about this book remains the same as always; I love the illustrations. Last year my Mum got me a Christmas doodle book and I resolved to try copying some of the illustrations from this book into it. Then I got distracted by colouring in the pictures and doing my own unique doodles, but this year I'm definitely going to crack it out and have a go. I always forget what a talented artist Tolkien was (along with all of his other talents).

As always, my one complaint with this book is that it doesn't contain more letters. I'd love to see some of the letters the children wrote to Father Christmas or perhaps a little bit of insight into what was going on at the time when the letters were written to help put what was written in context. But it's only a very small complaint about what is easily one of my favourite Christmas books.


  1. I didn't even know this book existed. But the picture makes me crave Christmas!

    1. You should read it, it's a lovely quick ready and just right to get you in the mood for Christmas (so you might want to wait until closer to December ;-D).

  2. Aww, such a lovely review. I always feel sad near the end of this collection too.

    1. Thank you. I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling a wee bit blue at the end. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)