As we approach Christmas, some people are hunting around for a gift for a Tolkien fan. So, 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. The Fall of Númenor (£25/€22/$27)
We were delighted to get the news earlier this year that Brian Sibley (winner of the 2022 Outstanding Contribution Award) was editing a collection of Tolkien’s writings on the Second Age. And it isn’t just collecting them, it is collecting them all and putting them in order for you to read through the Second Age as close as possible to being in chronological order. This is available in both hardback and deluxe editions, and for anyone into Tolkien it is an essential work (not least so you can spot how The Rings of Power might not full align with the stories as Tolkien wrote them!).
2. The Lord of the Rings Playing Cards (£10/€11/$12)
This was a nice surprise that popped up on Kickstarter some time ago, Jackson Robinson of the Kings Wild Project is producing a deck of cards for each of the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings. This first set covering The Fellowship of the Ring is fully licensed and looks absolutely stunning. If you’re hoping to play some card games with the family this Christmas, this is definitely worth looking at. And for those with an aversion to film imagery, you will particular enjoy this.
3. Tolkien Calendar 2023 (£10/€12/$14)
For years I have been quietly lobbying for more artists to feature as illustrators of Tolkien’s works. So I am delighted that the Tolkien Calendar 2023 features no less than 6 artists: Emily Austin, Jenny Dolfen, Spiros Gelekas, Justin Gerard, Donato Giancola, Kip Rasmussen, Ted Nasmith (all 6 having been nominated in the Tolkien Society Awards in the past; both Dolfen and Nasmith winning). The art covers the entire history of Middle-earth, and goes to show how Tolkien’s artwork can inspire a real range of different artistic styles. Let’s hope we will see these artists in some illustrated editions of Tolkien’s works!
4. Grumpy Geeks t-shirt (£20/€22.50/$24)
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, and now there is a licensed collection at Grumpy Geeks, offering t-shirts including Uruk-hai Boxing Club, Erebor National Park, Moria Miners, and Minas Tirith University
5. The Lord of the Rings deluxe edition, illustrated by Tolkien (£150/€172/$182)
Now here is something special (and, admittedly, a special price). An edition to match last year’s Silmarillion, this book is a sumptuous experience for any reader. For the first time ever, this one-volume edition is illustrated in full colour with illustrations by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the book is even quarterbound in leather. This deluxe slipcased edition contains the complete text, fully corrected and reset, which is printed in red and black and features, thirty colour illustrations, maps and sketches drawn by Tolkien himself as he composed this epic work. These include the pages from the Book of Mazarbul, marvellous facsimiles created by Tolkien to accompany the famous “Bridge of Khazad-dum” chapter.
6. The Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck (£23/€26/$28)
Another pack of cards! We know that many people wish they could integrate The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s works more into their daily lives. Well, now you can with The Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck. The deck contains 78 cards (and a handy guide), depicting characters and other objects from Tolkien’s works, all presented in a nice gift box. To top it all, it the illustrations are all by Tomás Hijo, a friend of the Tolkien Society who won the 2016 Tolkien Society Award for Best Artwork, for the piece The Prancing Pony.
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. Misty Mountains Starlit Throw (£96/$118/$100)
For those who haven’t heard about this before, the team at Oscha have a range of licensed Middle-earth merchandise, which includes my personal favourite: Misty Mountains Starlit Throw. They have totes, throws, slings, mugs, shawls, scarfs and more. The designs cover a range of Tolkien themes, including a stylised map of Middle-earth, Rohan, Doors of Durin, and a lot more. My favourite is the Misty Mountains theme for how well it mirrors Tolkien’s design on the dustjacket of The Hobbit, but there are plenty of others to choose from.
9. The Great Tales Never End (£40/€46/$49)
Or, to give it its full title, Great Tales Never End, The: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien. And these 10 chapters are not just in memory of Christopher but they truly honour him. The collection includes: Maxime H. Pascal; Priscilla Tolkien; Vincent Ferré; Verlyn Flieger; John Garth; Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull; Carl F. Hostetter; Stuart D. Lee; Tom Shippey; Brian Sibley (that’s eight Tolkien Society Award winners, by the way!) covering essays on both Christopher and his father, adaptations, personal memories, and the creation of Tolkien’s world. This book is a must-have.
10. Membership of the Tolkien Society (from £35)
I myself received my first membership of the Society as a gift from a friend over 17 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.