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.
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!
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.
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.)
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 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.
Walnut Grove MN
De Smet SD
Loftus Store Online
Phone: 605-854-3773 Call to order
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date use your own judgment.
Spring Valley MN
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online)
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
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.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.