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Image / Living / Culture

This 1925 Christmas letter from JRR Tolkien to his children is incredibly sweet


By Grace McGettigan
24th Dec 2020

JRR Tolkien

This 1925 Christmas letter from JRR Tolkien to his children is incredibly sweet

JRR Tolkien letters from Father Christmas to his children

In 1925, ‘Lord of the Rings’ author, JRR Tolkien penned this letter (from the perspective of Father Christmas) to his sons, John, Michael and Christopher 


For more than 20 years, from 1920 until 1943, author JRR Tolkien wrote letters ‘from Father Christmas’ to his children. First, to his son John; later to his children Michael, Christopher and Priscilla.

The one below was penned in 1925, with the Lord of the Rings creator mimicking Santa’s shaky handwriting. He describes a situation whereby the North Polar Bear (or N.P. Bear, as he writes it), fell off the North Pole and through Santa’s ceiling. When all the snow from the roof extinguished his blazing fires, Father Christmas was forced to move house.

It’s believed Tolkien also included a drawing of the scene and attached it with the letter in an envelope. Read it in-full here:

The letter

Cliff House
Top of the World
Near the North Pole

Xmas 1925

My dear boys,

I am dreadfully busy this year — it makes my hand more shaky than ever when I think of it — and not very rich. In fact, awful things have been happening, and some of the presents have got spoilt and I haven’t got the North Polar Bear to help me and I have had to move house just before Christmas, so you can imagine what a state everything is in, and you will see why I have a new address, and why I can only write one letter between you both.

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.

He is well again now, but I was so cross with him that he says he won’t try to help me again. I expect his temper is hurt, and will be mended by next Christmas.

I send you a picture of the accident, and of my new house on the cliffs above the N.P. (with beautiful cellars in the cliffs). If John can’t read my old shaky writing (1,925 years old) he must get his father to. When is Michael going to learn to read, and write his own letters to me?

Lots of love to you both and Christopher, whose name is rather like mine.

That’s all. Goodbye.

Father Christmas

JRR Tolkien letter to children

A full collection of JRR Tolkien’s ‘letters from Father Christmas’ is available to buy on Amazon.

Photo: Britannica


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