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2020 Tolkien Christmas gift guide

As we approach Black Friday, people are turning their attention to the Christmas, and what Tolkien readers and fans might like to receive. Check out the list below of 10 suggestions which hopefully provide a range of ideas for every one. And, if you’re feeling the need for a pick-me-up, there’s always the option of picking up one of these for yourself!

1. Letters from Father Christmas Centenary Edition (£20/€22/$27)

Surprisingly few people know about this little gem by Tolkien, but the Letters from Father Christmas is a cute festive treat. First published as The Father Christmas Letters in 1976, the letters were written and drawn by Tolkien to his own children in the 1920s and 30s and tell the reader all about Father Christmas’s adventures and his dealings with the North Polar Bear; this edition is published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first letter. This is great to be read to children and enjoyed as an adult.

2. Mini Epics from Weta Workshop (£22/€25/$30)

The Mini Epics from Weta Workshop are both fun and affordable: they are physical caricatures of the characters from the films, with highly expressive appearances that are full of personality. They’ve quickly become a favourite amongst collectors, but there are many that would enjoy one of these. My favourite is Merry which so delightfully captures the nature of the character. Check these out!

3. Tolkien Calendar 2021 (£10/€12/$14)

Published to coincide with the publication of the new edition of Unfinished Tales, this calendar features three of the top Tolkien artists: John Howe, Alan Lee and Ted Nasmith. The artwork beautifully depicts scenes from the First and Second Ages, and even includes accompanying sketches. The calendars have become collectors’ items, so worth snapping these up whilst you still can.

4. “Speak friend and enter” t-shirt (£13/€16/$16)

A themed t-shirt can always be a bit of fun, and thanks to websites like TeeFury, QwerTree, RedBubble and Zazzle we’re able to find both the beautiful and the amusing from artists around the world. Some years ago the Society sold a t-shirt with the quote “Aragorn and Legolas went now with Éomer in the van” with a predictably amusing drawing. I found this particular t-shirt on Qwertee which is certainly beautiful.

5. New The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings illustrated boxed set (£100/€115/$135)

These new illustrated editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are a colourful and wonderful addition to anyone’s collection. Illustrated by Alan Lee – well-known Tolkien artist and conceptual artist on the films – these editions are in bright watercolour which will take readers through the journey of Tolkien’s masterpieces. This is a unique boxed set that any reader of Tolkien’s works can enjoy.

6. The Lord of the Rings Moleksine – Shire edition (£17/€19/$23)

We’ve seen some Moleskines which came out to tie in with The Hobbit films. But these ones feature stylised versions of Tolkien’s original artwork on the cover. These hardback notebooks are limited editions that celebrate Tolkien’s works, and are of the typical high quality you would expect from Moleskine. I’ve picked out the Shire edition, but there’s ones for Moria, Isengard and Mount Doom. The only thing to be wary of, the person receiving it might complain that it is “too nice” to write in!

7. The One Ring (£900/€1,000/$1,200)

The most expensive gift on the list, but the only one likely to grant dominance over all the free peoples of Middle-earth. Made by the same company that produced the Ring in The Lord of the Rings films, Jens Hansen can sell you an exact replica gold ring. I’d go for a version without any inscriptions or hallmarks: it only reveals markings when you place the Ring in fire.

8. The Hobbit Spineless Classics (£35/$39/$47)

An edition of The Hobbit you might not have: the entire book as a poster! Coming in at 700 x 1000mm (27 9/16 x 393/8 in) this beautiful depiction of The Hobbit could take pride of place on your living room wall. I have bought some of these as gifts in the past and they have always been gratefully received, especially when framed. A little warning, though: make sure you have enough wrapping paper!

9. Pins by Jenny Dolfen (various)

Jenny Dolfen is well-known to Tolkien Society members as a popular artists. Her watercolour artwork – particularly of Elves from the First Age – makes for some of the most beautiful art there is around, which is no wonder that Jenny Dolfen has won the Tolkien Society award for her art. Aside from art, she also produces a series of enamel pins which includes the three Rings and even the Eagles. Take a look!

10. Membership of the Tolkien Society (from £30)

I myself received my first membership of the Society as a gift from a friend over 15 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. At this time of year we receive so many requests to sign up friends and relatives as members, we’ve created a dedicated gift membership page. I’ve spoken elsewhere of the benefits of joining the Tolkien Society, but as a reminder you get to join a worldwide fellowship of Tolkien aficionados, received our publications Amon Hen and Mallorn (pictured above), and get a chance to meet others in your area and online. If you know someone that would appeal to, why not buy them gift membership!

All prices correct at the time of writing. Prices in $ represent USD.

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 3,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter. He chaired another charity, Mankind, and is a local councillor.