As moviegoers prepare to bid farewell to Peter Jackson's epic six-film tour through Middle-earth via adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, many are also out buying last-minute gifts and penning letters to the jolly man himself, Santa Claus. Some of you may not know that when Tolkien wasn't busy spinning tales of hobbits, elves, wizards and orcs, he was also penning letters about Santa... as Santa.
Tolkien, under the guise of Father Christmas, wrote letters to four of his children for 20 years, including illustrations to go along with stories about life at the North Pole. In one letter Tolkien included illustrations of Father Christmas' new home on the North Pole along with a story about why he had to move right before Christmas thanks to the bumbling North Pole Bear.
Check it out below, along with the letter and the transcript, via Letters of Note. Pictured above is an illustration of Tolkien's Father Christmas watching the Northern Lights, circa 1926.
Top of the World
Near the North Pole
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, and you will see why I have a new address, and why I can only write one letter between you both. It all happened like this: one very windy day last November my hood blew off and went and stuck on the top of the North Pole. I told him not to, but the N.P.Bear climbed up to the thin top to get it down — and he did. The pole broke in the middle and fell on the roof of my house, and the N.P.Bear fell through the hole it made into the dining room with my hood over his nose, and all the snow fell off the roof into the house and melted and put out all the fires and ran down into the cellars where I was collecting this year's presents, and the N.P.Bear's leg got broken. He is well again now, but I was so cross with him that he says he won't try to help me again. I expect his temper is hurt, and will be mended by next Christmas. I send you a picture of the accident, and of my new house on the cliffs above the N.P. (with beautiful cellars in the cliffs). If John can't read my old shaky writing (1925 years old) he must get his father to. When is Michael going to learn to read, and write his own letters to me? Lots of love to you both and Christopher, whose name is rather like mine.
That's all. Goodbye.
Many of Tolkien's letters and illustrations as Father Christmas were collected for a book that you can pick up here. Meanwhile, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is now in theaters... minus that bumbling North Pole Bear.