We’re running a little late this year, but there’s still time to get that perfect gift for your Laura fan under the tree before Christmas. 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 fifth year I’ve put together a shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. So read that first and instead in this post look for new items, other ideas and then 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.
The big Laura release of the year is Pioneer Girl, an annotated published version of Laura’s autobiography, written as a precursor to the “Little House” books. Laura fans self-define themselves and be aware this won’t be appreciated by all “Laura fans.” Scope out whether they’ve read Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder by John E. Miller or anything by William Anderson and that they haven’t already gotten a copy before you buy. My brother is getting me mine for Christmas. While Amazon is still not shipping ordered copies most of the homesites mentioned when I called that they have copies available.
If they didn’t get it last year, then you’ll definitely want to get the new last year Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Walnut Grove by William T. Anderson. A new book from Bill is always big news and this one ties together all sorts of new information together about Walnut Grove in addition with classic photos that you won’t see anywhere else. It’s available at many of the homesites. Also, from William Anderson they’ve republished Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Book & Audio CD). It was originally published in the mid-1990s when it was released with an cassette tape. Look for a full report soon. So far I’ve only seen it on Christian Book Distributors, an online retailer (they have great prices, but will continue to e-mail you if you buy from them once). Hopefully it will expand to more sources soon.
The Ingalls Homestead is offering free shipping on hardcover sets and all other orders over $150 made before 10 am Dec 18. These will be shipping UPS Ground. They are continuing to sell their sets of books in a wooden crate. They report several people have been picking up Pioneer girl with the hardback set as a group present and to take advantage of the free shipping.
The Loftus Store, while not technically a homesite, was mentioned in the books and is a can’t miss stop for Laura fans in De Smet. They always have some unique Laura items. Nothing new from this year, but last year they reported that they brought back some nice pieces that haven’t been available for awhile. A linen wall hanging (an original from the 1980s, long has been on display at the Loftus Store and much asked about) has been reproduced with the same design as a poster. Also, the first in a series of pewter plates that were originally sold by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in the 1970s ($40 plus $10 shipping) was released last year. They intend to eventually reproduce the entire series, but want to sell most of the current issue before they move on to the rest, so help buy them out and we’ll get the next one. 🙂 A final brand new last year item was an accurate paper model pattern of Pa’s store. The Loftus Store is also one of my favorite places to shop for Laura T-shirts with the tie-dye girls fit top being the closest I’ve found to truly hot weather gear in any homesite town.
While previous ornaments are still available including the great glass ball ornaments (you can only get that site’s ornament through that site – e.g. you just can get Spring Valley’s ornament from the Spring Valley giftshop, you can only get the Pepin ornament in the Pepin gift shop, etc.). Do you have yours? Also, specifically check with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet. They have put out their first two porcelain ornaments. Each has 22 karat gold edging and a full color illustration taken from Garth Williams’s work. You can get them gift boxed.
Walnut Grove, which is another glass ball ornament site, hasn’t created a special Christmas specials page this year, but is still offering these specials from this fall. Walnut Grove points out their signed Miss Beadle Tote Bag $37.50 and that in addition to their continuing offer to get Alison Arngrim to sign her book (personalized), you can also get My Prairie Cookbook signed by Melissa Gilbert.
One of the most expensive pieces in my personal collection is the replica of Laura’s engagement ring that I posted about. Laura’s engagement ring is still getting a lot of reaction from people when I wear it if they haven’t heard of it before. You can still get yours for Christmas and be the one flashing the ring at the next Laura event you attend, but the sooner you order the better. Find it in Walnut Grove’s online store Souvenir section, click and then scroll down. And if you’re looking for a treat for your special Laura dog, get some of the Jack’s Treats. I can’t say enough about how much my dog Blue loves these treats. He insists I add some to every Walnut Grove order. (I would insert a photo of Blue eating said treats but he eats them so fast I’ve yet to get a photo where you can see more than a blur.) They also have some great new sweatshirt designs.
This year the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet has taken my unofficial title of cutest Jack available. In fact, I bought one for my collection this summer and when my niece and nephew insisted that I get one for each of them for Christmas, despite the fact that they each got a Jack last year. You’ll love it too.
The Almanzo Wilder Farm in Malone/Burke says “The shop is stocked with books for all ages, including, of course, Farmer Boy and the “Little House” series, history books about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Wilder family, coloring books, cookbooks, music, and DVDs. We still have old-fashioned bonnets and straw hats, mugs, postcards, note cards, small toys, and more so save time for shopping. Be sure to check out our online store http://www.almanzowilderfarm.com
After trying multiple times on different days to get in touch with Mansfield I’ve given up. You might have better luck try contacting them at the information below.
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!
Walnut Grove MN
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 19, 2014
Check out their specials from this fall.
De Smet SD
Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, Click on The Gift Shop
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 17, 2014
Last Day for Priority Mail – before noon on December 20, 2014, call if questions
They have a specials page.
Phone: 605-854-3773 (Ignore the toll free number on the site, it’s no long valid)
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 15, 2014
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
This is their information from last year, but again I’ve tried their main number between 10 and 2 multiple days, good luck. “You can order online or by phone, but call if you have questions or want something you aren’t seeing online. Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am – 2 pm are best, but you should be able to reach someone from 10 am – 2pm Monday through Friday. Orders will be shipped Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.”
Malone said for their set up, online ordering has a quicker response during the off season. If you’d rather order by phone or have a question e-mail them and they’ll either e-mail a response or call you, so please include your phone number. They didn’t respond with a date this year, so it’s up to you.
Spring Valley MN
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online, but they are one of the glass ball ornament sites)
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. If you remember from last year they did get a new credit card machine, so you can pay by credit card again.
Last Day for Priority – December 15, 2014
Burr Oak IA
Phone (563) 735-5916
The best way for people to shop during the winter is through the website gift shop and then pay through Paypal. They can email the museum with questions. They are no longer accepting checks for orders because of some bad check incidents.
Last Day for Priority – December 10, 2014
Off season ordering is only online, through e-mail. Contact them through their contact form.
Last Day for Priority – Not giving a last day, it’s up to the customer
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.