When you think Laura trip, normally think of summer trips. Planning driving trips around the Midwest during the winter isn’t a wise person’s first choice, but sometimes early December is still fine weather. Over the years several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites have had a Christmas event that first December weekend. Currently Mansfield, Missouri; Malone, New York; and Spring Valley, Minnesota, have Christmas Events.
The most immersive Christmas event is the one at the Almanzo Wilder Farm in Malone, New York. This year Christmas with Almanzo! will be December 1, 2018 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. “For this event admission is 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!”
In comparison Mansfield’s Christmas event is much smaller. This year the event is December 1, 2018 from 6pm-8pm. Refreshment, shopping, and tours of Rocky Ridge are all part of the event. I haven’t had official confirmation for this year’s event, but in past years they’ve allowed photographs inside the living room decorated for Christmas and tours of the upstairs.
Spring Valley, MN
The Spring Valley Laura Ingalls Wilder museum doesn’t reopen for an event, but does do a special Christmas fundraiser. They hold a special Christmas tea. They used to do several, but they are down to one. Reservations are required. Although many Laura fans only look at the church museum, they have two additional buildings across the street. One of which is a lovely late 19th century house museum. Teas will be held on Dec. 1, 2018 at 12:30pm. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Keystone stole a march on the other Laura homesites by having a Christmas in July event. I think this was especially clever (and frankly I wish some of the homesites would have a summer birthday for Laura like that) as I don’t know many people who’d drive across South Dakota in December for an event. I didn’t get to it, but it sounds like it was a great event – with special guest Dean Butler as Santa Claus. The director of Keystone resigned this fall and since she started the event no word on whether it will continue in 2019 or not.
This isn’t specifically a Christmas event, I hadn’t reported on it yet and its run crosses Christmas. It opened October 19, 2018 and will close January 13, 2019. “Laura Ingalls Wilder and Her Prairie” features rare books from the collection of the Chicago Botanical Garden focusing on the original prairie plant illustrations of Helen Sharpe based on Marta McDowell’s book The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Find out more.
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.