Methuen, 1976

Did you even know about these?

The first was written by J.R.R. Tolkien to his children in 1920, and the collection was edited by Baillie Tolkien.

(The last one, too, appears in the collection, although it’s just a sampling of the oeuvre.)

I discovered it this past autumn, while searching in the library catalogues for books of letters: imagine how thrilled I was!

(Even the librarian commented on it, when I went to pick up my copy, and I know that I’ve mentioned here before that it takes a lot to get the librarians in this city talking about a book you’re borrowing.)

And oh, it really is the perfect book of letters for this time of year. It just is.

Admittedly, I have huge issues over the Big Lie that parents tell their kids about Santa (yes, this stems to a deep personal betrayal: of course it does).

But I *still* thought this was an incredibly charming book. Turning the pages makes you feel cozy, like you’re sipping hot cocoa made from scratch.

So chances are that you (if you don’t share these issssssssues) will be adding it to your list of holiday favourites, in ink, at first glance.

You might even use the way-cool alphabet that Tolkien created for the polar bears to use. Because, yes, there is an alphabet in code.

Also, there are drawn pictures. There are storyboards. There are tales of adventure and mishap (especially involving the polar bear). There is, eventually, a secretary. There are even goblins.

And, obviously, there are grateful letter-reading children reading along. Even generations hence.

It’s lovely.