All I want for Christmas is … a surprise

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It came as a surprise to me that JRR Tolkien used to write letters to his children as if from Father Christmas, and that he illustrated them with these amusing drawings. In this picture a polar bear falls asleep in his bath so that the bath water floods into the room below, where Father Christmas and his elves are at work packing presents. Somehow I can’t imagine the elves in Lord of the Rings doing such a thing.

Tolkien as Father Christmas

The Father Christmas letters / JRR Tolkien. London : George Allen & Unwin, 1976. UL classmark: 1976.11.159. Order in West Room