Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Letters from Father Christmas” as Want to Read:
Letters from Father Christmas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Letters from Father Christmas

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  17,747 ratings  ·  2,639 reviews

Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply? 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 th
Paperback, 111 pages
Published November 15th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published September 2nd 1976)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Letters from Father Christmas, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sophie I'm 21, so I can't answer this from a parent's point of view, and I'm also not a fan of Tolkien, but I did enjoy this book. It's creative and the illu…moreI'm 21, so I can't answer this from a parent's point of view, and I'm also not a fan of Tolkien, but I did enjoy this book. It's creative and the illustrations are really cute.(less)
Leigha He said, "nearly all the Alison Uttley books have been burnt." Alison Uttley is the name of an author of children books. Moldy Warp (#11 in a series) …moreHe said, "nearly all the Alison Uttley books have been burnt." Alison Uttley is the name of an author of children books. Moldy Warp (#11 in a series) is one of them that he mentions: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,747 ratings  ·  2,639 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Letters from Father Christmas
Sean Barrs
Tolkien must have been an excellent farther to his children. To put so much thought and effort into the making of these letters speaks of nothing but devotion. They’re so well crafted by a master of the pen. The calligraphy, alone, is fantastic to look at. It’s quite revealing too. It’s like a little peek into the family life of the Tolkien’s, one which shows the patriarch as a kindly gentleman that he no doubt was. This is a great little book.



I do recommend this edition in particular because
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Every year J. R.R Tolkien's children received letters from Santa Claus and a polar bear, decorated with colorful pictures. Actually, the letter was from their father, Tolkien himself, to entertain their children. In these letters, Santa and a polar bear told great stories of their adventure and mischief, of battles with goblins and feasts with elves. Each illustration, stamp, and envelope, made personally by J.R.R Tolkien, are a fabulous work of art
Angela M (On a little break)
Even though Christmas has become so commercial and not many kids know the true meaning of Christmas, I‘ve always loved the magic of believing in Santa Claus or St. Nicholas or Father Christmas or the other names he’s known as throughout the world. I got to wondering this year whether or not the young children in my life, my two youngest grandchildren and four of my great nephews still believed. Their mothers said they do. I hope so, for one more year at least.

This is a lovely book of letters th
A lovely collection of illustrated letters from Father Christmas to Tolkien's children.

The tone and content of the letters changes over time to reflect the children growing up, and Tolkien Father Christmas doesn’t shy away from mentioning the horrors of the world, including war and hunger. The letters incorporate aspects of the children’s lives and things they'd written to him, but there is some continuity in the stories of what FC and his elves etc get up to. Lovely illustrations, too.

Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, buddy-read
Join me in my final annual Christmas season reading. Here is the perfect story for young and not so young alike. Please find my original review here:

From the annals of one of the 20th century’s greatest writers of fantasy comes this collection of letters, perfect for the holiday season. A collection of letters written by Nicholas Christmas to the Tolkien children, this book is filled with the Christmas spirit and all the lovely stories that take place each year at the North Pole. The letters, pe
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
((This the perfect Christmas read, just saying, get your hands on this book now, and either read it yourself or give it to your loved ones!))

I can't believe I'm saying this but I finished this book bawling last night. I haven't cried so much upon finishing a book since ... oh well, I forgot I read Crooked Kingdom at the beginning of March but, you get me, it's been a month. ;)

This collection of Christmas letters touched me in a way I would've never anticipated. They are a manifestation of "show
[First read: 28th November, 2015.
Second read: 10th December, 2016.]

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is best known for his high fantasy series The Lord of the Rings and the pre-cursor, The Hobbit, as well as being one of the foremost respected professors on Anglo-Saxon Britain, but behind closed doors he was a wonderful father and a tremendous family man. He had four children, John, Michael, Christopher and Priscilla, and with every passing year they would receive hand-written and illustrated replies fr
Diane S ☔
Nov 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: let-it-snow
3.5 When I first started reading this I thought what a fantastic idea, one I wish I has thought of when my children were young. Soon though I was caught up in the letters, waiting for the further adventures of polar bear and the cubs, the goblins and the old Ancient bear as well as the happenings on the North Pole. We can tell as the children age and quit believing in Santa as well as insights to what is happening in the rest of the world. Loved the colored pictures too.

Clever, clever, Tolkien.
Excuse thick writing I have a fat paw. I help Father Christmas with his packing; I live with him. I am the GREAT (Polar) BEAR
J.R.R. Tolkien ~~ Letters from Father Christmas


This was my first J.R.R. Tolkien read. I was enchanted by this delightful book.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien's children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful color drawing. They were from Father Christmas, telling wonderful tale
BAM the enigma
Quite charming collection of letters Tolkien wrote ummm I mean Nicholas Christmas wrote to Tolkien's children during the 1930s. I think this would be best enjoyed with a cup of eggnog, a fireside, a hardback copy to look at the illustrations, and the audio copy to follow along with the reader.

12/25/18 annual audio reread #268
m a r y l i z
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reread December 2019:

Honestly, there's nothing I have to say here except:

1) the illustrations are precious
4) and it's Christmas themed
5) so like . . . go read it?

(yes, this is my fourth year in a row reading it & I will never stop)

/ / /

Reread December 2018:

This never fails to make me smile. My favorite Christmas read. :)

/ / /

Reread December 2017:

OKAY SO IT'S ADORABLE. And it's written by Tolkien.

That's all you need to know. ;)

/ / /

I loved this so much! *hugs book* It's
What a darling little book of letters written from J.R.R. Tolkien (Father Christmas) to his children, John, Michael, Christopher and Pricilla. I found it interesting that a man of so much imagination gave his children such common names.

The illustrations that he drew to accompany the letters are remarkable and I shall now think of Polar Bear as a Christmas staple, the way I think of the Grinch.

What a lovely glimpse into the person Tolkien was! These are very personal interactions with his childr
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cliff House, Top of the World, Near the North Pole [insert date]:

I think the author needs no introduction. But this little gem of a book proves that the man didn't "just" invent Middle-Earth, the place of epic fantasy. No, he was a man with a great imagination in general.

Apparently, like so many children around the world, his kids would write to Father Christmas. Only in their case, he wrote back! Throughout his childrens' childhoods, there would be a letter every December. The letters, the env
Johann (jobis89)
This was so sweet and heartfelt. Such lucky children to have Tolkien as their father. And such gorgeous illustrations!! Really worth reading around Christmas time. This will certainly be a book I share with my future children.
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was sweet.

Almost every November or December from 1920 to 1943 one or several letters would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. In strange spidery handwriting Father Christmas would tell them about life at the North Pole. Those tales were accompanied by color drawings and sometimes also by additional notes written by the North Polar Bear and later also by Father Christmas’ secretary, an Elf named Ilbereth.

Tolkien put a lot of work into these letters. Not only did he come up with a new stor

When I started reading this, I was charmed with this illustrations and the idea of J.R.R. Tolkien even writing just these letters to his children, and then when I began reading this, I realized what a treasure this was, and I wished I had thought of doing something similar for my own children… and then I realized how it would pale in comparison to these letters, the stories they hold in them from Father Christmas to his children through the years.

And what years they were, the first of these bein
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, favourites
Another wonderful annual re-read!!

A masterful piece of writing by J.R.R. Tolkien, which is a collection of the letters he penned as ‘Father Christmas’ over the years of his children’s upbringing. The letters are in response to those sent by the Tolkien children over the years, in which Father Christmas explores some of the drama he had up at the North Pole. With a handful of splendid characters who add even more excitement in a way only Tolkien can do, this is the perfect collection to read eac
2017 review: ADORABLE! <333 I think reading this may become an annual Christmas tradition.

2018 update: Just listened to it on audio for the second year in a row and still love it. <3 Definitely a keeper for the list of annual traditions. :D
Shirley Revill
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook of this wonderful story and it was absolutely magical.
The audiobook comprises of a collection of letters from Father Christmas with cheery festive music before each letter.
The narration and the music was absolutely superb and my Grandchildren where entranced with this book.
You couldn't hear a pin drop while the story was being told and I now feel in the mood for putting the Christmas tree up and decorating the house in November.
Absolutely magical and captures the spir
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh, what a charming book! I was skeptical about getting this, since I’m not even a Tolkien fan. That genre is just not my cup of tea. I’m so glad that I got this. What a beautiful book to get me in the mood for Christmas! While reading this, I was amazed at all the love and dedication that Tolkien put into these letters from Father Christmas to his children for years and years! The illustrations are incredible. The only thing that I would have loved to see were the letters from his children to F ...more
Carolyn Marie Castagna
The only word to describe this book by is...wait for it... PRECIOUS!!!
This was my first time reading anything "written" by Tolkien...or should I say Father Christmas?
I admire his imagination, creativity, and love for his children greatly! Not only the wonderful letters of the many adventures of Father Christmas captured my heart, but the charming illustrations he sent with them!
This book reminds me of when I was a child, waking up on Christmas morning each year and finding a note from S
A lovely read, I would have loved to be one of Tolkien's kids & leading an extensive correspondence with St. Nick.

(Sorry Dad, I love you & you are the top and the uncontested & uncrowned King of DIY-land, but you would have never written/drawn me letters pretending to be Father Christmas!!! :)
The days are getting shorter, and I frequently don't leave work until after dark (then work more from home). When I walk to and from work – and I feel lucky to be able to do so – I tense my shoulders against the cold. And, of course, the politics have darkened my state of mind.

In such times, warm books are necessary, especially "comfort food." I've never read Letters from Father Christmas before, but this is comfort food. Tolkien's Father Christmas is kind and funny, a good artist, a man who eng
Juho Pohjalainen
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written, imaginitive, and charming collection of letters for children, with a strong sense of continuity and a little bit of somber feels for later years when the world was in the grip of a great war. Still Tolkien's weakest work, probably - but he never meant it as anything more than shallow entertainment for his own kids in the first place, and I think it's quite telling that even then it ends up as highly enjoyable and well worth a read for everyone of all ages.

I can only imagine what
J. Aleksandr Wootton
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you like Tolkien's more whimsical offerings, like The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, you'll like this. Cheers to the Tolkien family for being willing to share it with everyone else! ...more
Cindy Rollins
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2019
A friend reviewed this this very morning insisting the audiobook was a must-listen and so I bought it this morning for a couple dollars on Audible and got my steps in listening to this wonderful, wonderful collection. If you have a couple hours in the car or around the house this Christmas, nothing will be more Christmassy than this collection of letters from JRR Tolkien to his children.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book which contains all the letters JRRRRRRRRR Tolkien wrote to his children in the guise of Father Christmas from the first to his eldest son in 1920 right through to the last one he wrote to his only daughter in 1943. Each letter purports to be an account of various scrapes and adventures that happen to the man in red and his various helpers and hinderers and the lovely thing is that so totally enamoured with this correspondence were his children during their younger years ...more
Gary Sundell
A charming book. I will undoubtedly return to this next Christmas time for a reread. Wonderful illustrations by the author.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien, 2018
Another great Christmas read amidst snow-clad mountains. It really puts one in the mood. For some reason I have never read this one, although a copy has been standing on my shelf my entire life.

Letters from Father Christmas is an excellent little collection of Tolkien's annual Christmas letters to his children, in the guise of Father Christmas himself. It's a beautiful little insight into Tolkien as a father, and into the meaning of Christmas for the man and his family.

Christmas (or Yule as I ty
This is a re-read for me, and it's still as wonderful and wholesome as I remembered :') ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: (WPF) Letters From Father Christmas / J R R Tolkien - 4**** 3 9 Jan 13, 2022 08:30PM  
Chiave di Lettura: Lettere da Babbo Natale 1 1 Dec 21, 2021 01:01PM  
The World of Tolk...: Letters from Father Christmas 3 8 May 15, 2021 02:25PM  
Please correct this page count... 1 3 Jan 04, 2021 05:56AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please correct this page count... 3 14 Dec 22, 2020 02:59PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
  • Nutcracker
  • A Boy Called Christmas (Christmas, #1)
  • Olen nyt täällä metsässä
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Crown of Acorns
  • The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale
  • The Story of Holly and Ivy
  • The Grumpy Fairies
  • Nelson Mandela
  • The Christmas Pig
  • The Book That No One Wanted to Read
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (The Herdmans, #1)
  • The Quiet Little Woman: A Christmas Story
  • The Christmas Hirelings
  • Io ti sento
  • Io ti voglio
See similar books…
See top shelves…
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: writer, artist, scholar, linguist. Known to millions around the world as the author of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien spent most of his life teaching at the University of Oxford where he was a distinguished academic in the fields of Old and Middle English and Old Norse. His creativity, confined to his spare time, found its outlet in fantasy works, stories for children, p ...more

Articles featuring this book

The holiday season is all about comfort and joy, but—let's be real—it can be a bit hectic too. That's why we suggest cozying up with a...
45 likes · 15 comments
“If you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite so many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.” 45 likes
“Here we are again! Bless me, I believe I said that before—but after all you don’t want Christmas to be different each year, do you?” 5 likes
More quotes…