Thursday, 24 December 2015


Here's a little Christmas Eve gift for you...

Readers of my blog will know how much I love the work of the writer and artist, Tove Jansson – and especially her unique creation: the Mommins of Moominland...

In 1963, Jansson wrote and illustrated an enchanting Christmas letter as if written by Santa Claus himself in which he speaks about how he loves to receive letters from the world's children because they comfort him in the loneliness of his solitary life. He also explains how he and his helpers manage all those Christmas gift requests and his personal hopes and wishes.

It was published for the first time, today, on the Official Moomin Website and here it is...

Click to enlarge

The website includes a transcription, but as it isn't quite accurate (and since Tove Jansson wrote in impeccable English) I have made a few small corrections:

Dear little friend!

How are you? I’m getting to be a rather old Santa Claus. A little lonely as well, so I like letters. 

It’s great fun, you see, to think of the fact that all over the world a lot of small kiddies that I’ve never seen are sitting remembering me and writing me letters. Some of them write about presents for themselves or for other people. Some of them write to thank me, and some others just for a chat. But all of them have been thinking about me, and I like that. You see, all the year long I’m living by myself – rather a secretive and lonely life. I’m waiting for the winter to come and trying to imagine what kiddies like yourself might be wishing for, and what you might need.

Then, one night I hear the first snow falling outside. Only I, Santa Claus can hear the snow – it falls so silently and lightly, making all the world soft and white and friendly. By this I know that Christmas is on its way: the very special Eve and Night that are unlike all other nights of the year, the darkest and longest of all nights with its millions of burning candles. The night when everyone tries to be friendly towards everyone else, because the child Jesus was born in that night, once upon a time. 

So I open my cottage door and sniff against the north wind and ring my silver bell. After a while a rustling and a whispering are to be heard in the woods around my hut. Yule gnomes and brownies and many kinds of winter beings begin to arrive from all directions – on skis, on snow-shoes, struggling on foot or riding on grey reindeer that have gentle and velvet-black eyes. Then I take out all the X-mas letters and all the wishes and dreams that have accumulated under my cap, and my people and I roll up our sleeves and get to work. 

It is most important that everybody gets exactly the gift they want, within reason, that nobody is disappointed, that addresses turn out right and parcels tidy, that some space is left for surprises and that people who are too shy to ask for anything get a gift also. 

Some of us turn invisible and fly around the world like whispers – it is we who give parents their ideas for the right presents. Also we remind people of those who would never get a Christmas gift otherwise. We have a wonderful time with it all! I’m never lonely in those days because I’ve got all the kiddies of the whole world and their expectations in my head.

And all the woods of Finland lie gleaming white in the sparkling light of the Aurora Borealis, and the snow on the ground around my hut is crisscrossed by little tracks of hurrying feet, and the heaps of gift parcels are growing steadily. 

Then Christmas night arrives and all is silent and solemn. All the parcels have been sent off and received. And the stars are large and burning bright over the earth, and I walk up alone to the crest of Korvatunturi in my wolfskin coat and I sit down in the snow and I make a wish: that you will all be happy and like each other as much as possible. 

And that you will not forget me.

All best wishes from yours ever,

Santa Claus

You can read a previous blog-post of mine about my love of the Moomins and my time in corresponding with Tove Jansson, HERE

And Tove fans might enjoy knowing that I have introduced the new Tolkien Calendar for 2016, featuring some of the illustrations she made for The Hobbit in 1961. 

You can read more about the calendar on the website of the publishers, HarperCollins.


Tove Jansson's Letter from Santa Calus is © Moomin 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brian, for that gentle posting and for all the many words, photographs and links that have made your blog such an indispensable delight to your readers. May you and David have as happy a Christmas as the one you wish for all of us. (RGP)