Like parents the world over,
J.R.R. Tolkien dedicated considerable time and effort
to making Christmas a joyful time for his young children.
Yet this was a man whose rich imagination brought to life
an entire world with thousands of years of legendary history;
described different orders of creatures, wars and battles;
even invented languages.
So inevitably, his family traditions were something rather special.
Every year, from 1920 to 1942, the Tolkien children –first John, and later Michael, Christopher and Priscilla– would receive a letter from Father Christmas.
It would be written in his spidery hand (he would, after all, be a very old man) and illustrated with funny scenes from life in the North Pole.
In 2018, the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford will exhibit the letters, alongside other manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters and artefacts from Tolkien collections around the world.