North Polar Bear

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North Polar Bear
Polar Bear
The North Polar Bear dancing with the Pengiun chiefs
AffiliationFather Christmas, Paksu, Valkotukka
LanguageEnglish, Arktik
SiblingsAt least one[note 1]
Physical Description
RacePolar Bear
Hair colorWhite

The North Polar Bear (also, the Great Polar Bear[1]) was a polar bear who lived with Father Christmas at the North Pole. He is especially noted for being "helpful" and for causing a lot of accidents. The Polar Bear was, according to Father Christmas, magical,[2] and he sometimes wrote comments on Father Christmas' letters and even letters of his own.[3]


The North Polar Bear started out as very foolish, unrepentant, and temperamental. When he broke the North Pole and the house while climbing the North Pole. Father Christmas was angry with him and so the Polar Bear refused to help with the presents.[4] He was most unrepentant when he turned on the Northern Lights, causing a huge bang and lots of inconvenience,[5] and when he caused lists to be blown about and mixed up, he laughed.[1] The Polar Bear often stuck his nose in places it shouldn't be (including Father Christmas' cabinets)[6] He could be hurt easily - he ran away in shame after he fell down some steps.[7] The Polar Bear was very lazy, leading to accidents, including an explosion of crackers.[8]

But, in later letters, the North Polar Bear was nicer and more considerate. He was noted as being "a nice old thing" by Father Christmas. One year, he noticed strange smells and so, not wanting to trouble Father Christmas, he slept in the kitchen, which had steps going down to the cellars. This led to his saving Christmas, because Goblins attacked - "the worst attack in centuries" - and the Polar Bear killed many, preventing them from killing Father Christmas and the other helpers. Father Christmas called him splendid, and the Polar Bear's comment was "Say no more; I enjoyed it immensely!".[9]

The North Polar Bear sometimes wrote a letter as well as Father Christmas. In these, he attributed his mistakes in spelling to the fact that Arktik is the language spoken at the North Pole, instead of English.[10] His handwriting was thick because he had large paws,[4] but he learned to write and paint with his mouth.[11] Father Christmas stated that his drawing skills were bad which he vehemently denied.[11]

His real name was Karhu (Finnish for 'bear').[10] He had two nephews, Paksu and Valkotukka (respectively Finnish for 'fat' and 'white hair'),[8] and the Great Bear (Big Dipper) was his cousin.[6]


In November of 1925 Father Christmas's hood flew off and was blown by the wind to the top of the roof. Despite Father Christmas telling him not to, he went on to the roof to try to get it back and fell through the roof, making a hole in the living room and breaking his leg. Father Christmas had to move to a new house causing him much stress.[4]

The next year the North Polar bear set off a firework that shook the stars and broke the moon. The Man in the Moon fell into Father Christmas' garden, ate some chocolate and went back to the moon. He then turned on two years of Northern Lights in one go.[5] Because of this there were no Northern Light until 1928.[6]

The North Polar Bear was no less trouble making in 1927 when he put his tongue against the North Pole and pulled the skin of his tongue off. Later when snowballing the Snow Man he accidentally rolled him off the cliff breaking him.[6]

Polar Bear had fallen from top to bottom onto his nose by J.R.R. Tolkien

In 1928 a bar of stairs was left on the stairs and the North Polar Bear fell down the stairs spilling Christmas decorations.[12] He forgot to send that year's letter until December 26.[13]

In 1929 the North Polar Bear spent the summer improving his spelling so he could help Father Christmas with the Christmas letters. At the beginning of winter a bonfire was thrown to celebrate and he lot off 20,000 silver sparklers. He then spent time in Norway with a woodcutter named Olaf. While cutting Christmas trees in Norway he chopped his right paw,[14] but by November he reported that he felt well again.[10] While helping Father Christmas write down the names of the children that needed presents (of which there were many), he complained that it was "stuffy" and opened a window. The wind blew in and he was buried under papers and lists.[10]

The next year he got whooping cough, made worse by being buried under the snow during a snowstorm. Despite this he did his best to be helpful, mending the sleigh and looking after the reindeer (which is how he got stuck in the snowstorm). He quarreled with the Snow Man and pushed him into the roof of his snow house. He decided to put ice instead of presents in the parcels of naughty children and they melted all got the good children's presents wet too.[15]

In 1931 he ate gifts containing food because "to make sure they were still good" (He found stones in the currants). He was sent down to the cellar to grab fireworks and being lazy brought two snow-boys (Young snowmen)[15] down with to help him. A candle was knocked into a box of fireworks and sparklers and when Father Christmas rushed down to see what the commotion was, found him on fire. His nephews Paksu and Valkotukka were visiting and like their uncle were very accident prone and mischievous.[8]


  1. His siblings were never named or mentioned however he did have two nephews.


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