Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Letters from Father Christmas

Personal Photo - From Instagram
J.R.R. Tolkien invokes imagery of Middle Earth, elves, hobbits, wizards and dragons. He's a magic man, a man of fantasy, a writer of wordy literature, and rarely do people immediately think "He was also a father." Of course that's part of the facts and anyone who has even glimpsed at his Wiki page will see he had children, but it's often left out and not often focused on when the world of Middle Earth is there glittering in front of you.

But privately, Tolkien had a normal family life with little kids who believed in Santa. 

These letters are written to his children; notes from Father Christmas as he replies to letters they sent him, includes artfully done drawings and paintings of his world, and urges the children to keep hanging up their stockings as they grow older.

They're simple letters, written with a shaking style (Father Christmas comments on that a few times). He details the North Pole and the many battles that are raged with the goblins, the antics of his friend the North Polar Bear, and happy notes of pleasant moments. For me, the saddest part of the letters were commentary from "Father Christmas" about the older children becoming to old to receive letters. One by one, new names appear on the letters as older names are left off. The final letter, one to Tolkien's daughter, makes comment about it being the last as she's growing up and I felt sad. I know my parents were rather saddened when I stopped believing in Santa, so I imagine there was a bit of sadness for Tolkien and his wife, it seemed that way through the letters.

These are not the detailed lines you're used to from Tolkien's other works but quick articles meant to be read by children. I enjoyed them though and I read the book quickly and have it back on my bookshelf. It's inspiring, in a way. I'd love to write letters to my own children, penned by Santa, whenever those little ones come along. 

For lovers of Christmas, nostalgia, and Tolkien, this would be the perfect Christmas gift.

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