Christmas is a time of family, warmth, sharing, and of hectic shopping. However, booklovers don’t have to look far as it is Letters of Father Christmas that you want.
When I first heard about the Icelandic concept of Jólabókaflóðið I decided this is a the perfect tradition for myself and my bookloving family members and friends. However, which book would I choose first to read on the couch while it’s cold and winter-y outside?
The inspiration came when I visited friends in Edinburgh, of which one had this book on her bookshelves. The Christmas magic was screaming from the cover and then I knew this would be the fist Jólabókaflóðið-book for me.
Unlike Tolkien’s other work, this one is not as much as a story, it’s more of a bundle of childlike wonder and adventures that are being told while sitting around the fire while it’s snowing outside. It’s perfect for christmas. The letters and stories told in them are simple and short, and yet they have everything a good story needs. This is Tolkien in his prime, the grandmaster of fantastisc tales that will be remembered for centuries. And therefore Letters of Father Christmas is not only for the Tolkien-lovers, but for everyone who enjoys tales that radiate the warmth that is to be connected to a holiday.
Letters from Father Christmas
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 coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas. They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all 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 into 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 lived in the caves beneath the house! 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 humour to the stories. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and “authenticity’ of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.
J.R.R. Tolkien. Letters from Father Christmas / HarperCollins / 9780007280490