Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2016

Whether you are looking for the perfect present for the Laura Ingalls Wilder fan in your life or just what you want to know what to put on your Christmas want list, check out these suggestions.

This is the sixth year I’ve put together a shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. So read that first and use this post to look for new items, other ideas, and a list of which Laura homesites are offering Christmas mail order and the cut off dates for shipping by Christmas this year. Trundlebed Tales encourages you to do at least a little Christmas shopping from the Laura homesites because they are all local museums, highly dependent on admissions and gift shop revenue to stay open and preserve the homesites for Laura fans, so do your part.

Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 , 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , and 2015 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.

I recommend contacting the sites by e-mail or online store instead of by phone, except where noted. Even places that have been easiest to contact by phone in the past I’ve had trouble calling, but most responded quickly by e-mail this year even faster than normal.

And don’t forget you can also get your Laura fan gift memberships to the museums or a donation in your Laura fan’s name!

Little House Coloring Book
Little House Coloring Book

For a third year in the row the homesites have worked together to create a calendar with photos from all the sites. This year they are including recipes from The Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook. Heads up they are printed on slick paper and the space the recipe takes up means that calendar squares are smaller than the last two years. They are available at any homesite giftshop. Mine is hung up already.

The big news was that back in March a brand new book by William T. Anderson was released. The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder is the perfect present for any Laura fan that wants to learn more. Anderson thinks this will be the last newly published material we’ll see from Wilder.

Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder

More big news is that the Little House on the Prairie Museum has rolled out a brand new online store. Check it out. I especially love the stuffed bull. Instead of a longhorn, it’s a Hereford. Herefords are the best. We raise them. (Yes, I have one of these.)

New paperback editions of two scholarly books came out this year and would also make good buys.

  • Little House Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Impact on American Culture by Anita Clair Fellman (which includes a Sarah Uthoff reference).
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane: Authorship, Place, Time, and Culture by John E. Miller

A recent publication takes into account the surge in adult coloring and The Little House Coloring Book has been a big hit. Based on Garth Williams illustrations at any of the giftshops. If you’re into coloring there is also a great coloring book based on illustrations by Cheryl Harness is available at most homesites. See some sample pages.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but here’s an idea for your favorite fan if they are planning a trip to Walnut Grove this year, consider buying them pageant tickets. The tickets are available for 2017 already and the earlier you buy tickets the better seats you can get. They mail them so you can get the tickets to go under the tree. Buy them either online or by phone if you want their advice for which seat. The phone goes into a business so you can always find someone there during business hours. (Note: I don’t advise pre-buying for the other pageants because differences in how their systems work.)

Pioneer Night Dress
Pioneer Night Dress

Spring Valley may be a small site, but they tend to look for different and local buys so their giftshop always has interesting things you won’t find other places. Unfortunately they are out of their Christmas ornaments right now, but among other things they have a delightful large collection of “American Girl” style doll clothes. “We have big variety of 18″ Like Laura doll clothes that would make any young girl on your list happy.” I bought this lovely pioneer nightdress for my niece. Shhhh! E-mail them with questions about what they have and they’ll send photos.

The Almanzo Wilder farm has rolled out a wood cut ornament to add to your Christmas collection. wood-cut-ornament

The Walnut Grove museum brought out several new designs of sweatshirts and long sleeve t-shirts during 2016. It’s sometimes harder to find clothes to share your Laura love during the winter or even during cool summer nights. With one of the largest gift shops, Walnut Grove continues to work with authors and publishers to offer signed copies for Little House fans who can’t get to a book signing. Their big seller right now is autographed copies of Melissa Gilbert’s My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours. Ask them about other titles. They also focus on local handcrafted items. Don’t forget their doll clothes including the cutest American Girl style doll coat on the planet. 

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet are continuing with their Garth Williams ornaments with designed closely inspired by Garth Williams work. The memorial society has also come out with an entry for De Smet in the Images of America series from Arcadia publishing. If you are unfamiliar with this publishing company they have a template and then partner with local people to collect the photos and information to complete it. Many towns across the country have done this and Mansfield, Missouri also has one available through the Mansfield Historical Society. Check out an exciting, well researched publication Laura Ingalls Wilder and Education in Kingsbury County by Nancy Cleveland.

When I was in De Smet this summer I was most impressed by the Memorial Society’s decorative replicas. I bought things like a version of the butter churn Laura threw out the door at Rocky Ridge and a lamp mat.

Check out new fabric licensed by Little House on the Prairie of Family Friendly Films for crafts and sewing projects. They have also license a series of dolls through Queen Treasures. These are the 18 inch dolls (the same size as American Girls) and includes both the dolls and a range of accessories.

Independence KS
Little House on the Prairie Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority Mail – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Walnut Grove MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-800-528-7280
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 15, 2016

De Smet SD

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
Online Store
Phone 1-800-880-3383
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 13, 2016

Ingalls Homestead
Online Store
Phone: 1-800-776-3594
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date use your own judgment.

Loftus Store Online
Phone: 605-854-3773 Call to order
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date use your own judgment.

Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
Last Day for Priority – December 21, 2016

Malone NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm
Online Store
farm@almanzowilderfarm.com
Last Day for Priority – December 19, 2016

Spring Valley MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online)
wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com
Recommends using e-mail to order for Christmas, but you may want to include your phone number in the e-mail so they can get back to you with questions quickly.
Last Day for Priority – December 9, 2016

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
Online Store
Phone (563) 735-5916
Last Day for Priority – December 15, 2016

The best way for people to shop during the winter is through the website gift shop and then pay through Paypal. You can email the museum with questions. They are no longer accepting checks for orders because of some bad check incidents.

Pepin WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Best to order online, but can also reach by phone 715-513-6383, or by sending a letter. Neither museum nor gift shop is open during the winter.
Last Day for Priority – December 15, 2016

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Trading Card 2014 and 2015

Sharing the history of my trading cards as I get ready to unveil my next card.

Sarah's Notebook

Cards #1 and #2

Trundlebed Tales Trading Cards 1 and 2 Trundlebed Tales Trading Cards 1 and 2

Back in late 2011 when I was working on my photo Christmas cards I discovered a part of the same online photo place that let me create the card let you create trading cards aka baseball cards. I meant to take them to LauraPalooza 2010, but they disappeared into the secret realms of the Christmas cards I was working on at the time and didn’t show up again until that Fall. So I had Cards #1 and #2 available in 2013.

Card #3

trading card 2014

For Card #3 I thought I’d do one to help remind people about my program “In the Kitchen With Laura” so the photo on the trading card is me in the kitchen of the Masters Hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa.

Card #4

2014

This year my new card is Card #4. It’s a little different. This year’s…

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December 2016 Presentations

Presenting In the Kitchen With Laura in Mason City
Presenting In the Kitchen With Laura in Mason City

Due to the high number of cancellations that I’ve had to make for winter weather over the years I normally cut off bookings about the second week of December and don’t accept anymore until March. So I just have one to share this month.

  • Burlington Public Library – Burlington, Iowa – In the Kitchen With Laura – Friday, December 2, 2016 – 10:00 am

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder 2016 Season Ends and Christmas Events

Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April
Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April

October usually is about the end of the main Laura Ingalls Wilder season for the year. If you plan a Laura trip during or after October, make sure you call ahead. They may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see. On the plus side you get autumn foliage and then snow photos. I called around to find out when the Laura museums were officially closing for the year. Find contact information for the homesites/museums here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/laura-links/

As a heads up the weather this fall has been unusually mild across the Midwest as a whole, but one big snow storm has already cut across the upper Midwest reaching De Smet, Walnut Grove, and points east. The weather forecast is still calling for a cold and snowy winter once it does arrive so account for that possibility in your plans if you are planning a winter trip.

Pepin, WI – Closed for the season Oct. 26, 2016. They aren’t participating in the town’s Christmas event this year.

Independence, KS – They closed for the season in October.

Walnut Grove, MN – Museum grounds closed for the season November 1, 2016, but their Gift Shop/Visitor Center will remain open during November and December 23, 2016 from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. After Christmas it will be open Monday –  Friday, same hours, until March 1, 2016. If you’re looking for winter homesite photos, they have snow already.

Burr Oak, IA – Closed mid-October 2016. Beginning in September they have reduced hours. In October they are open Thurs.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm and Sunday noon-4 pm. They will have their annual fundraising event Dec. 12th. If you’d like to attend contact the museum. Best bet is to e-mail them because they are not in the office every day.

De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – open all year with slightly reduced hours during winter, MondayFriday 9 am -4 pm.  They suggest tour times at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. They will be closed from Dec. 24, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017.
Hours Chart

Ingalls Homestead – Open depending on the weather through October and then closed at the end of October. Office remains open for making reservations, etc. Call and leave a message if they don’t pick up. Scheduled activities only take place through September 30th. People are welcome to walk around even after they are closed for the year. Look for maps in plastic holders beside visitor center/gift shop doors.

Mansfield, MO – Season ends November 15, 2016. Winter hours are November 16 – December 15 by appointment only (call ahead). Bookstore 10 am -2 pm.
Christmas at Laura’s
Chistmas Tradition here on Rocky Ridge Farm. Free admission to the historic home featuring vintage decorations. Tunes on Pa’s fiddle. Bring YOUR camera or cell phone for pictures with Santa by Laura’s fireplace. Normally photos aren’t allowed inside the house so this is a rare treat. Tastings from Laura’s own recipes. Laura’s Christmas is scheduled for December 3, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. Weather Permitting. (NOTE*) If the parade is canceled for bad weather Laura’s Christmas will be canceled as well. Come celebrate Christmas with us in a most special way!

Malone, NY – Closed October 2, 2016 Can arrange tours by appointment if volunteers available . Minimum admission is $25 for three or less. Four or more admitted at regular price. Arrange by e-mailing farm@almanzowilderfarm.com Re-opens for Christmas With Almanzo event (1 Day) December 3, 2016 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. “For this event admissions free. Come and enjoy readings from Farmer Boy Christmas chapter in the parlor of the house at 11:30 and 1:00. (Adults must accompany and remain with child.) Enjoy cookies, mulled cider, Christmas carols, and children’s activities. Come visit our gift store for last minute shopping with complimentary gift wrapping for purchased items. “Happy Christmas!””

Spring Valley, MN – They closed for the season at the end of October, but they reopen for Christmas teas. Teas will be held on Dec. 3-4, 2016 at 12:30 each day. Cost is $12 for the lunch. It is a full lunch set in a Victorian home that was built in 1888. Reservations required for the teas. Contact the museum at wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com

Keystone, SD – Closed September 15, 2016.

Vinton, IA – Pat Barr passed along this information: “Our hours are the same year round – 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Monday through Friday. A group larger than five should contact me – all others are welcome to drop in.  My phone number is:  319-472-5221, Extension 1110.  My e-mail is:  pbarr@iowa-braille.k12.ia.us ” The biennial membership meeting is December 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Driving Safely With Deer

Be careful out there!

Sarah's Notebook

Deer Crossing Sign Deer Crossing Sign

Laura Ingalls Wilder season normally brings with it a lot of folks trekking across the Midwest and the Great Plains who aren’t accustomed to country driving and getting to any of the Laura homesites requires country driving. One thing that you rarely encounter driving in cities is having to deal with deer-car collision (although deer populations do seem to be on the upswing in urban areas too). The population of deer in Iowa has soared since it was reintroduced by “accident” in the early 20th century. Iowa has a particularly robust population thanks to the policies of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, but you will find dealing with deer a strong possibility anywhere in Laura country.

The Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources gives the following recommendations if you’re not used to driving in an area with a high deer population.

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Remember Laura at Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Check out my blog post on the Little House on the Prairie website from last year.

http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/thanksgiving-laura-ingalls-wilder

Now get cooking!

IMG_0044

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Plays 2016

It’s time to get in the mood for the holidays and for many families attending a Laura Ingalls Wilder play. There are three titles that are currently running on the circuit.

  • A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas by Laurie Brooks
  • A Little House Christmas by James DeVita
  • Melodies and Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hoover 2010 Me and Bonnet Tree

There are only so many ways to do A Christmas Carol, let your local community or small professional theater that you’d like to see them do one of these next year! And if I’ve missed one in your neck of the woods let me know so I can add it.

Christmas Plays and Laura – An Annual Tradition

There are a few events going on, including Christmas shows, I’m listing the entire season’s worth below so you can make plans if one is in your regional area:

“A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas”

If you want your local group to try it next year, check out the script and production rights. Learn the basics.

Check out a clip from a production in 2012.

Milwaukee, WI – Acacia Theatre Company’s “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas.” Tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for seniors, full-time students and full-time clergy.
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
http://www.acaciatheatre.com/show/a-laura-ingalls-wilder-christmas
November 11 through November 20, 2016
Concordia University, Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, WI
Review

Catch an interview about it. Real life family plays the Ingalls Family.

St. Croix Falls, WI – From the Festival Theatre’s professional acting troupe.  Read a little more about the show.
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
https://festivaltheatre.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0SF0000005YCTKMA4
November 26-December 24, 2016
Franklin Square Black Box, 125 N. Washington Street, St. Croix Falls, WI, 54024

Prattville, AL – Presented by Way Off Broadway Theater.
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
http://www.prattvilleal.gov/departments/ticket-information.html
Thursdays through Sundays, between December 8 -December 18, 2016.
Cultural Arts Center, 203 4th St, Prattville AL 36067

Walhalla, SC – Presented by Walhalla Civic Auditorium.
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
http://www.walhallacivic.com/events.html#p7AP3c1_4
December 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 & 18, 2016
Walhalla Civic Auditorium, 101 E.N. Broad Street, Walhalla, SC 29691

“A Little House Christmas”

Shots from a production.

Sierra Madre, CA – Adapted by James DeVita.
http://sierramadreplayhouse.org/smp-presents-little-house-christmas-november-18-december-23/
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
Purchase tickets
November 25-27, December 2-4, 9-11, 15-18, and 21-23, 2016
Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Bozeman, MT – Presented by the Verge Theater
http://vergetheater.com/shows/family-stage
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
Purchase Tickets
Saturdays Nov. 26th-Dec. 17th, 2016
Verge Theater, 2304 N 7th Ave C1, Bozeman, MT 59715

Menomonie, WI – Presented by the Menomonie Theater Guild
http://volumeone.org/events/2016/12/02/216111_menomonie_theater_guild_presents_a_little_house
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
Purchase Tickets
December 2-4 and 9-11, 2016
Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts205 Main St. E, Menomonie, WI 54751

“A Little House Christmas at Plum Creek”

Grand Rapids, MI – Adapted for the Stage by Lisa Cordes.
Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
http://www.experiencegr.com/event/little-house-christmas-at-plum-creek/45855/
November 17, 2016 – December 10, 2016
Recurring weekly on Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Master Arts Theatre, 75  77th St SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

“Melodies and Laura Ingalls Wilder”

Check out this clip from a 2009 production.

Auburn, CA – From a non-profit theater group. Catch a short news story.

Basic Information (dates, ticket prices, etc.):
http://takenotetroupe.org/musicals
Nov 11th & 18th – 7:30 p.m. Nov 12th & 19th – 4:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603

 

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.