Letters From Father Christmas

Letters From Father Christmas - J.R.R. Tolkien, Baillie Tolkien Reading this as an adult, what comes across most strongly is Tolkien's love and affection for his children (which is, of course, what one would expect of all parents for their children, but which sadly is not always so) and his delight in writing and drawing these little Christmas stories each year.Due to the very young age of his eldest son when the first letter was written in 1920, these early missives are very short, but in 1925 we get a longer message which introduces us to the North Polar Bear, who will feature every year thereafter, and a beautiful little painting of the NPB wrecking the North Pole itself, smashing Father Christmas's house, and a picture of the new house that he builds to replace it.The Letters were never intended for publication and it's a testament to Tolkien's remarkable skill at storytelling that simply collecting them together makes such a delightful book. The Letters do continue themes from one year to the next and the characters are likeable, funny and have their own personalities.The last couple of letters, addressed just to his youngest child, Priscilla, by this time, are quite poignant. It seems that she has been too busy to write to Father Christmas, but he has a good idea, anyway, of what she would like in her stocking (books, of course). In 1943, Father Christmas supposes that Priscilla will be hanging up her stocking just once more, and there was to me a feeling that, perhaps, she would not have missed Father Christmas's letters had they stopped a little earlier. Sometimes it's hard for parents to accept that their children have grown up. Nevertheless, Father Christmas assures Priscilla that he will never forget her, nor her brothers, and that when they have children of their own he may write again.A magical story to read with younger children, although I suspect that they might be wanting some letter from Father Christmas themselves afterwards, so be warned!