Quite a few years ago my husband and I were browsing a sweet little book shop in downtown Holland, Michigan at Christmas time. We could spend hours there.  Tim, who is a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, picked up a full-sized softcover book with the most amazing illustrations, Letters From Father Christmas.

My Favorite Christmas Book :: Letters to Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien - Book Cover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.netI was busy that year and though Tim encouraged me to read it, I never got around to it.  But, year after year, I stacked it up along with an assortment of Christmas books on the blanket chest we used for our coffee table.

Then, for some reason, I sat down.  Um.  Generally I never sat down before Christmas unless we were entertaining guests, and that was because I had to. [wink]  Anyway, I picked up Letters From Father Christmas and started to read.  Why did I wait so long to crack that binding?

The book includes letters written, over a twenty-year span, by Tolkien, as Father Christmas to his children.  During World War II there were shortages.  But, Tolkien’s children would really never know.  Instead the letter that Father Christmas left them each year regaled tales of mishaps at the North Pole which explained why the packages were damaged, or why there wasn’t any chocolate, or why a much wished gift was not delivered.  Father Christmas had the craziest of creatures helping him out.  Plus North Polar Bear was so accident prone and got into all kinds of mischief.  I truly delight in Tolkien’s imagination each time I read a letter and study his artwork.


My Favorite Christmas Book :: North Polar Bear - illustration in Letters from Father Christmas by Tolkien :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Letters from Father Christmas are not simply words on a page written by an amazing storyteller.  No, each letter was also hand illustrated in pen and ink and watercolor by Tolkien.  I even get a kick out of Father Christmas’s shaky handwriting.

If you have this book, I’m sure you are shaking your head in agreement with me and sporting a big cheesy grin.

For some reason the memory of this book came to me today and I just had to share it with you.  If you want a copy, you may purchase it through my Amazon affiliate links where I will earn a few pennies from each of your purchases there. (Thank you!)  Letters From Father Christmas is available in paperback, Kindle, or even a hardcover gift edition (which I have never seen, but I bet is amazing.) If you are unfamiliar with Letters From Father Christmas, let me encourage you to get a copy.  Just click on the red titles here.


My Favorite Christmas Book :: Letters from Father Christmas - JRR Tolkien - Illustration ::  AnExtraordinaryDay.net


My husband and I spent a few years reading the book out loud, before we went to bed at night, in front of the sparkling lights of our Christmas tree.  It was a fun tradition.  We also would read a few letters to our annual Christmas Eve guests who had four children within a twelve-year age span.  They loved it, too.   I think it’s one of those ageless books which would be wonderful for you or to give as a gift.  Really…I’m not trying to sell the book…I just love it that much.

I’m sure Letters From Father Christmas will become one of your favorite Christmas books and traditions, too.


Do you have a favorite Christmas book?


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  1. angie says

    what an awesome book perfect for the holidays

    • Diane says

      Oh Angie….it really is! I hope you get a chance to read it too!

  2. I will have to find this one for my husband – he is a big Tolkien fan!

    • Diane says

      I bet he will love this, Heather. Especially with some of the special language characters in the book too!
      Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!!

      p.s. If it helps Heather…the book’s title in the post is my Amazon affiliate link if you wish to order it online.

  3. Sandi says

    Sounds like a charming book to read this time of year, Diane. Tolkien had a wonderful imagination! Thanks for sharing at my HOME.


    • Diane says

      Oh yes, Sandi..it is a wonderfully imaginative book.

  4. Tammy says

    I used to collect Christmas books. This looks like one I need to take a look at. Thanks for sharing.

    • Diane says

      Oh Tammy….you do need to pick this one up. It really is a delight. 🙂

  5. This looks like a pretty amazing book. Thanks for sharing with us at TTF!

  6. It sounds like a wonderful book that I would like to read to my granddaughter. Right now we are reading The Night Before Christmas over and over. We’re testing our memories on Christmas eve. She is five and has a much better memory than me.

    • Diane says

      Darlene, I love that you are enjoying reading with your granddaughter….what a treasure of memories you are creating together.
      I highly recommend this book…the letters are full of imagination and creativity.

      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!

  7. We are Tolkein fans around here too. And Christmas fans. I will keep an eye out for this book…it would please not only my kids, but especially my dad (he read the entire Lord of the Rings series to us, winter nights, through my childhood…lovely memories). Hope you find a little more time to read this holiday season! Oh, yes… and my favorite Christmas book is and will always be the Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. I have a thin little paperback that’s bent and wrinkled and torn that I keep and read to my kids (if I can…all the times I’ve read it and I still get choked up).

    • Diane says

      I don’t think I have ever read the Little Match Girl…I’ll have to find a copy.
      If it makes it easy for you Lynaea…the post contains links for the book on Amazon. I rarely have seen it in stores…sad.
      Thanks for popping by! Hope your Christmas season is joyful!!

  8. Mel says

    Ohhhh…MUST investigate!! It looks like a cute book. And what a cool idea for a tradition.
    I adore that the two of you read to each other. I thought we were the only ones!

    • Diane says

      [smiling] Reading together is the best!!
      And yes…I’m certain you will love the book. Tolkien’s imagination was amazing. I LOVE the stories in the letters.

  9. Sounds like a lovely ready. I will have to check it out!
    Thanks for the recommendation.
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

    • Diane says

      Two thumbs up at our house!
      Thanks for popping over Linda!
      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!

  10. Kim says

    Diane, books can bring us so much comfort! This is such a sweet post – hope you find the time to sit down and read often!
    Christmas blessings,

    • Diane says

      Thanks, Kim! Hope you have a favorite or two or three, as well.
      Best wishes for an extraordinary weekend. 🙂

  11. Now I am intrigued! I have to check it out for my granddaughters! thank you for introducing it to us…I never heard of it!

    • Diane says

      Oh AnnMarie…it really is a treasure of a book. I’d love to hear if you are as smitten with it as I am.

  12. i never knew! love the whimsy of it all … thank you for sharing!

    • Diane says

      Oh…but now you do!! 😉 And you must read this darling book.
      Thanks for popping by Melissa!

  13. Kathy says

    Wow, this looks wonderful! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

    • Diane says

      If you love Christmas books….I know you’ll love this one.
      Thanks so much Kathy!!


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