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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Christmas 2010 - More Father Christmas illustrations.

Posted on 2010.12.19 at 14:48
Tags: , ,

Merry Christmas!

Here are some images from Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters, not the same as I posted last year.

Below, one of the regular characters in the Father Christmas letters, the naughty [North] Polar Bear, gets into a scrape, crashing into the North Pole, which in turn crashes into Father Christmas's house. The pole and house must be rebuilt.

From the 1925 letter, showing why Father Christmas's house came to be relocated to the top of an ice cliff, out of harm's way:

Letters from subsequent years show views of the rebuilt North Pole and house. Both pictures are very lovely, I think. The earlier shows the aurora borealis, the later shows the scene under the stars. The sense of awe and wonder that runs through all of Tolkien's work is much in evidence in these illustrations he made to amuse his children.

1926 ~ Father Christmas watches the Northen Lights:

1927 ~ A Night Scene:

Tolkien stopped making Father Christmas letters when his children became too old. Priscilla, the youngest, received the last of them. Below is an illustration, full of charm, for the letter Tolkien wrote in 1940. Note how it differs in style from previous drawings, the bodies of the subjects more realistically rendered. I wonder if the change of style would have been permanent, had he made the Christmas letters for more years.

1940 ~ 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year': the penguins have come to help Polar Bear after Father Christmas is kidnapped by goblins. As is usual for Polar Bear, they don't get much accomplished, playing on the ice instead:

A very happy, grace-filled holiday to you all!

~ Mechtild


(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2010-12-19 23:21 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they're incredibly charming, full of wit. The more realistic drawing I still find incredibly charming, but the humour is more gentle. The more cartoonish style just says "funny". :)
(Anonymous) at 2010-12-19 21:56 (UTC) (Link)
oh, I love these! A beautiful *card* of the season, dear Mechtild. Thank you and best wishes to you, always. ~jan
mechtild at 2010-12-19 23:22 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Jan. I suspected you'd like this. *g*
maeglian at 2010-12-19 22:23 (UTC) (Link)
I love the penguins-and-polar bear one (a High Fantasy concept for sure, seeing how they live on opposite ends of the earth!)

I'd like to wish you and your family a lovely Christmas and a happy new year. I hope all is well.
mechtild at 2010-12-19 23:24 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much, Maeglian. I hope you are well and have a lovely, joyous Christmastime. Yes, it's a paradise-like world he's imagined, one in which penguins are *not* a polar bear's dinner! (ETA: besides being from opposite poles.)

Edited at 2010-12-19 11:47 pm (UTC)
shirebound at 2010-12-20 01:05 (UTC) (Link)
Happy Holidays, dear Mechtild!
mechtild at 2010-12-20 03:51 (UTC) (Link)
And to you!
antane at 2010-12-20 01:09 (UTC) (Link)
I love these illustrations! Merry Christmas! Christ is born! Glorify Him! (greeting and response from the Byzantine Catholic church).

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2010-12-20 03:52 (UTC) (Link)
Alleluia! Well, in less than a week, anyway.
antane at 2010-12-20 01:37 (UTC) (Link)


Just saw the fabulous MEFA results for jan-u-wine! Wow and wow! Congrats, my dear! You deserve it all and many more to come also! Mechtild, you must blow her horn!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2010-12-20 03:54 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jan-u-wine!

I will email jan-u-wine a copy of your comment, Antane. That's great news, yes, indeed! *g*
jan_u_wine at 2010-12-20 06:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jan-u-wine!

thank you, dear Antane! But I also see that congratulations are due to you, as well! I'd also like to thank you again for nominating these pieces, and to wish you the most happy of holidays and a joyous New Year!


antane at 2010-12-20 19:06 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jan-u-wine!

Thank you, my dear and right back to you! Hope to nominate more next year. So wonderful to see your name so many times on the awards list! :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-12-21 03:02 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jan-u-wine!

it's rather.....daunting, to tell you the truth. But...you know how i get around the daunting-ness? By writing more poetry.....

it's a win-win!

take care,

antane at 2010-12-21 18:42 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jan-u-wine!

I was hoping that would be your reaction! :) What a delightful treat that would be for all of us! *hugs*

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year and all those good things!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-12-22 02:28 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jan-u-wine!

you're so kind to say that, dear Antane. I shall certainly brush up my toes and give it a go! May you have a blessed and peaceful holiday and a Happy New Year!

with love, jan
bagma at 2010-12-20 20:32 (UTC) (Link)
I particularly love the one with the northern lights. I remember my son was fascinated by it, and he was pretty disappointed the first time he saw a picture of a real aurora borealis. The world looks a lot more interesting and magical when you see it through Tolkien's eyes.

Have a happy holiday!:)

mechtild at 2010-12-21 02:56 (UTC) (Link)
"he was pretty disappointed the first time he saw a picture of a real aurora borealis."

Ha ha! Just what I thought, when I saw photos of them as a child. I've seen photos of them since that make them look pretty awe-inspiring. But what Tolkien has painted is, perhaps, more a painting of Father Christmas's reaction to seeing the Northern Lights than the lights themselves.

"The world looks a lot more interesting and magical when you see it through Tolkien's eyes."

Yes, Tolkien had an imagination, like no other's. I have so benefited from the fruits of it!

Edited at 2010-12-21 02:57 am (UTC)
maewyn_2 at 2010-12-24 09:54 (UTC) (Link)
Merry Christmas to you!

Don't those penguins remind you of another tap-dancing character? :)
mechtild at 2010-12-24 14:20 (UTC) (Link)
Ha ha ha! You know, they do look a bit like certain dancing penguins!! Happy Christmas, Maewyn. :)
mariole at 2011-01-01 20:22 (UTC) (Link)
These are charming! Thanks so much for sharing them.

Back from holiday, catching up on LJ. Have a wonderful 2011, dear!
mechtild at 2011-01-01 21:40 (UTC) (Link)
Welcome home, Mariole! I hope it was a holiday full of pleasures, large and small. :)
mariole at 2011-01-02 17:02 (UTC) (Link)
It was a lovely Christmas, but my parents are getting older and more frail, so it's bittersweet. I really enjoy their company. Thank you.
mechtild at 2011-01-02 20:05 (UTC) (Link)
I know what you mean... My mom is that way. I went to see her for ten days at Thanksgiving. I'm going for another ten days starting next week. I'm afraid her continual claim that's she's going to die one of these days (she's been saying it for a dozen years) is closer to being true -- one of these days. :)
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