There are many books and stories that I think of when I think of Christmas reading. There’s Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, of course, and O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, which is one of my favorite Christmas stories! The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe has always had a very Christmas-y feel to me, especially considering that iconic image of the lamp-post beaming in the middle of a snowy wood and a personal appearance by Father Christmas, himself. But I must admit that, until now, J. R. R. Tolkien never featured heavily in my Christmas reading. And then I discovered Letters From Father Christmas.
A charming collection of letters that Tolkien wrote for his children each year, Letters From Father Christmas, is simply a delight to read! Each letter features the adventures of Father Christmas and the other inhabitants of the North Pool, most notably the North Polar Bear. From the mishaps of the well-intentioned but accident-prone Polar Bear to fighting off incursions by wicked goblins, each letter is filled with the latest news from the North Pole and is accompanied by images of the letters themselves, with the text in Father Christmas’ shaky handwriting and fun little illustrations that Tolkien drew as part of the letters.
My only complaint is that, since the letters were written to the Tolkien children, they sometimes include references to people, places, or pets that they knew well, but that the reader wouldn’t necessarily understand. A couple of well-placed footnotes would go a long way in these instances, but otherwise, I enjoyed Letters From Father Christmas very much and will definitely add it to my list of favorite holiday books!