Tolkien Festive Facts
1. Born in South Africa in 1892, J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest recollection of Christmas was of a “blazing sun, drawn curtains and a drooping eucalyptus”.
2. In 1895, a three-year-old Tolkien moved to England with his mother and brother and enjoyed his first wintry Christmas with a real Christmas tree.
3. As a young man, Tolkien used to spend part of his Christmas holidays with his Incledon relatives, whose custom was to perform theatrical entertainments, some of which were written by him.
4. In December 1913 Tolkien announces to his friends his engagement to Edith.
5. On 9 December 1936 Tolkien delivers his lecture Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.
6. Christmas 1920: Tolkien writes his first illustrated letter as ‘Father Christmas’ to his children.
7. This first letter is written to Tolkien’s eldest son, John, then aged 3, after him asking what Father Christmas is like.
8. Four days after being asked by his publisher, on 19th December 1937 Tolkien writes the first chapter of the sequel to The Hobbit – it will eventually become the beginning of The Lord of the Rings.
9. Christmas 1943: Tolkien writes his final letter as ‘Father Christmas’, to his daughter Priscilla.
10. On 3rd December 1953 Tolkien delivers the typescript of The Return of the King to his publisher.
11. A selection of Tolkien’s Father Christmas letters is first published in 1976; 34 years later an enhanced eBook is released for the first time for Christmas 2010.
12. The Hobbits’ name for Christmas is Yule.