Tolkien Gateway

Letters from Father Christmas

The name Letters refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Letters (disambiguation).
Letters from Father Christmas
Letters from Father Christmas.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien; Baillie Tolkien (ed.)
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released2 September 1976 (UK)
19 October 1976 (US)

Letters from Father Christmas, known in earlier editions as The Father Christmas Letters, is a collection of letters written and illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children, from "Father Christmas". They tell of the adventures and misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear and his two sidekick cubs, Paksu and Valkotukka. The book was first published on September 2nd, 1976, edited by Baillie Tolkien.


[edit] From the publisher

For more than twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien received letters from the North Pole -- from Father Christmas himself! They told wonderful stories of mischief and disaster, adventures and battles: how 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, and many others.Now, for the first time, these letters are brought to life with specially arranged holiday music.

[edit] Editions

  • 1976: The Father Christmas Letters. London: George Allen & Unwin; Boston: Houghton Miflin. [48 pages long, omits the letters from 1920-1924 and from 1939-1942]
  • 1995: Letters from Father Christmas. London: CollinsChildren'sBooks; Boston: Houghton Mifflin. [Facsimiles of letters with envelopes, with three previously unpublished pictures]
  • 1999: Letters from Father Christmas. London: HarperCollins; Boston: Houghton Mifflin. [Revised and enlarged edition; Revised version: 2004]
  • 2009: Letters from Father Christmas. London: HarperCollins. [New paperback edition]
  • 2012: Letters from Father Christmas. London: HarperCollins; Boston: Houghton Mifflin.[Revised and enlarged edition]
  • 2020: Letters from Father Christmas. London: HarperCollins; Boston: Houghton Mifflin.[Centenary edition]

[edit] Relation to the legendarium

While the Letters from Father Christmas do not relate to the Middle-earth of Tolkien's legendarium, some parts of the content can be noted:

Kris Swank has discussed similarities between The Hobbit and the Letters from Father Christmas, noting that they share a couple of story elements and that both works "contain story elements which have common roots in Tolkien's early Lost Tales and poems".[1]

[edit] External links


  1. Kris Swank, "The Hobbit and The Father Christmas Letters", in Mythlore 123
The world of the Letters from Father Christmas
Main characters: Father Christmas · North Polar Bear · Ilbereth
Other characters: Mr Cave Bear · Green Brother · Grandfather Yule
Man in the Moon · Paksu & Valkotukka · Snow Man
Races & Peoples: Goblins · Green elves · Red Elves · Snow-elves · Snow-men
Other concepts: Arktik · Goblin Alphabet · Windbeam