Blog,  Love Letters,  Reflections

A Tolkien Christmas Eve Story

T’was the eve before Christmas, and all through the house,
Both Panger and Mossling awaited a mouse
A mouse they could chase and play with all day
And at night they could eat in a mousie souffle.


Long time no see, dear readers! I’ve been busy with all the customary Christmas projects: volunteering at church, working the obscene hours of the retail machine, and getting presents together.

And this little bit of Christmas cheer, dear readers, is my humble gift to you! So wrap yourself up in something cozy, perhaps grab a warm drink, and I’m going to tell you a Christmas story.

For a while, I’ve been wanting to share with you a wonderful site called Letters of Note, which in their own words, “is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. ” I stumbled on a particular post they’d done a few years ago that I HAD to share!

Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote Christmas letters to his children as Father Christmas? AND illustrated them? Because he did!

According to the post on the Letters of Note site:

In December of 1920, J. R. R. Tolkien secretly began what would become an annual event in his household for the next 20 years: in the guise of a shaky-handed Father Christmas, he lovingly handwrote a letter to his 3-year-old son, John, placed it in an envelope along with an illustration of his home near the North Pole, and planted it in the youngster’s bedroom. From then on, until 1943, Father Christmas never failed to write to all four of Tolkien’s children, and with each passing Winter his enchanting stories from the North Pole became more elaborate and character-filled.

This particular letter was given to the Tolkien boys for Christmas 1925. I’m in love with Tolkien’s drawings of Middle Earth, so it’s really fun for me to see his beautiful watercolors depicting such whimsical scenes.


And check out the fantastic handwriting on the letter itself! If you can’t read it, I put a little excerpt below.


Here’s the beginning of the letter:

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.

You can read the rest of the transcript on their site. What a fantastic tradition! It figures that a brilliant author like Tolkien would do something so creative for his kids.

Speaking of traditions, this year Wervyn & I are spending Christmas at the old Nelson homestead with my family and my wee niecey. There’s something so sweet about being in the house you grew up in, going through family rituals. My sister and I used to scream when we saw the tree surrounded with presents on Christmas morning, which started off involuntary, and turned into a tradition, until it became passé ^_~

One that might actually come back this year, because of my little niece, is a Christmas Eve retelling of Jesus’ birth with our creche. Now that she’s getting big enough to understand more, I’m curious to see how my sister and brother-in-law teach her the family traditions.

Did you ever get letters from Santa? Do you have any favorite Christmas traditions? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!

Merry Christmas, everyone! And if I don’t see ya, a Happy New Year too!

One Comment

  • Dena Nelson

    Yes, we DID enjoy our traditional Christmas Eve; singing/reading of Jesus’s WONDERFUL earthly arrival! Thanks for being a major contributor, Sweetie!!! SO blessed to have you, Sarah and your families with us this year! XO

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