Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2017

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 seventh year I’ve put together a shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. 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.

If your favorite Laura fan is planning a trip to Walnut Grove this year, consider buying them pageant tickets. The tickets are available for 2018 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.)

De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt 3
De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt

Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , and 2016 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.

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!

What’s Not Available

I’m going to take a minute first and tell you some things that you aren’t able to get because there was expectation you would be able to get them. For the past 3 years the homesites have worked together to create a calendar with photos from all the sites. Unfortunately when I checked with the De Smet Memorial Society who makes them up, they’ve given up on doing one for 2018, but look for the 2019 one sometime this spring.

Also, this fall I was shocked when I checked with all the homesites and discovered in the last year we’ve gone from 3 versions of the china shepherdess replicas available to 0. Hopefully, at least 1 version will be available sometime next year (a couple of the homesites have a new version in the works), but for now your only choice is keeping an eye out for one second hand.

150th Birthday Items

150th Magnet – Photo Courtesy of Mansfield

With this being the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth, check out some of the unique things offered for the anniversary. There are special limited edition t-shirts from both De Smet and Walnut Grove. (Walnut Grove had a double reason to celebrate with the 40th anniversary of their pageant.) De Smet also came out with an updated and expanded 60th anniversary edition of The Ingalls Family of De Smet. There is a special china ornament from De Smet featuring a bust of an older Laura wearing her red velvet dress. Mansfield has created a special limited edition magnet from Mansfield with a middle-aged Laura’s image and a 150th anniversary slogan.

40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt
40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt

HarperCollins

HarperCollins released a new edition of the first 3 books in the series. This edition is hardback, features matching covers, no illustrations, and an introductory essay by a famous person; Laura Bush, Little House in the Big Woods; Ree Drummond, Farmer Boy; and Patricia MacLachlan, Little House on the Prairie. I’m saving them to buy at one of my next homesite visits so I haven’t seen them myself, but the reviewer at Horn Book Magazine is pretty scathing about them urging people to buy the standard Garth Williams illustrated version instead.

Happily in honor of Laura’s birthday, HarperCollins released the audiobooks, as recorded by Cherry Jones, as digital downloads for the first time. Slowly throughout the year they’ve been re-releasing the simplified chapter books, such as The Adventures of Laura and Jack or the most appropriate Christmas Stories, with brand new covers. Six of the simplified picturebooks, illustrated by Renee Graef, are newly collected and published as one volume. It’s called a Little House Picture Book Treasury. Finally, they also put out The Little House Book of Wisdom, a collection of quotes from the series.

Quilt Discovery – Doves in the Window

One of the things I’m most excited about is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Wedding Quilt by Linda Halpin. Halpin has braved the untamed jungle that is quilt pattern names and makes a strong case that this is the pattern Laura calls “Doves in the Window” thought to be the one Laura made for her Wedding Quilt. It includes instructions for making the quilt pattern pictured here. Linda Halpin is also the author of Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie Series. Check out her interviews on the Trundlebed Tales podcasts about Doves in the Window and on quilts in the 19th century in general. You can get the pattern directly from her website, from Burr Oak (who has the original square that kicked off her search), and possibly from other homesites – ask.

While we are talking about crafts The Little House Coloring Book, a publication that takes into account the surge in adult coloring has been a big hit. It’s based on Garth Williams illustrations at any of the giftshops. There is also a great coloring book based on illustrations by Cheryl Harness is available at most homesites. See some sample pages.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

You’ll remember that when the SDHSP released Pioneer Girl in November 2014 a frenzy broke out as underestimated demand meant that even pre-published purchased copies from Amazon were months late and it found a long term spot on the bestseller list. With such intense interest, it’s no wonder that they’re planning on following up with a three volume set of scholarship about Pioneer Girl. The first volume was released this last April, Pioneer Girl Perspectives. It is be available from either the South Dakota State Historical Society or any of the homesites.

In honor of Laura’s 150th birthday and the release of Pioneer Girl Perspectives the South Dakota Historical Society Press  held a conference in April. If you couldn’t go they have released a set of DVDs of the conference. I’m grateful that they did so we have a record of the sessions and I think that any serious scholar or anyone who wanted to go to the conference and didn’t get to will want a copy. However, be forewarned that the sound quality is bad. Basically they set up a camera and let it roll using the ambient sound in the room.

Some Homesite Highlights

Pepin didn’t report anything new, but my favorite thing is a green and white throw. It has images from the books including the Pepin replica cabin, Pa’s fiddle, and a bonnet. I won mine in the Laura Days essay contest, but you can buy and love one.

Little House on the Prairie Ornament – Photo courtesy of Little House on the Prairie Museum

If you haven’t checked out the Little House on the Prairie Museum online store yet, poke around. They have a wide variety of possible presents including tote bags, candles, and coffee. I haven’t gotten one yet, but they have a variety of styles of shirts with their logo including tanks which are hard to find in Laura shirts. The most Kansas thing is a poster that I NEED a copy of called “The Yellow Brick Road” with a covered wagon following a path of yellow flowers across the prairie. Besides Laura, Kansas also claims a connection with Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum (“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”) hence the yellow “brick” road. They have a set of china Christmas tree ornaments each with a colorized image from the Helen Sewell books, one per book.

I’ve heard Walnut Grove called the homesite with the best gift shop and it is a very nice facility with a bunch of options. Although the grounds close for the season, the gift shop/visitor center is open all year. They have more things available than shown on their website so if you are looking for something in particular or want something you don’t see on the website, call them and talk. Aprons, bonnets, and dresses continue to be popular and they have a great selection. They also have a lot of the Queen’s Treasures collection of dolls and accessories. To have a memory of Walnut Grove on your tree check out their wood ornament.

Besides the quilt pattern I mentioned above, Burr Oak has Laura t-shirts featuring the hotel in bright primary colors to make a splash in your Laura shirt. They are the place to get The Iowa Story: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life in Burr Oak, Iowa by William T. Anderson. They also keep a stock of Old Town in the Green Groves by Cynthia Rylant which knowing Rylant’s other work should be much, much better than it is and takes a stab at fictionalizing the time missing out of the series when they lived in Burr Oak. (Spoiler: Pa suddenly starts calling Mary Pumpkin Pie — yep.)

The Memorial Society in De Smet has several new items this year. Besides the new edition of The Ingalls Family of De Smet and the t-shirt, I mentioned above, they have an exclusive cookie cutter shaped like the Surveyor’s House. In addition to the new china ornament with the older Laura in red velvet (which I just HAD to buy back in July), they have a complete set of the ornaments each one featuring a colorized Garth Williams’s illustrations from each book in the series. The older Laura one isn’t showing on their website, but give them a call.

Covered Wagon Ornament
Ornament Photo courtesy of The Ingalls Homestead

The Ingalls Homestead, who developed the idea of wood crates to create a box set for the hardcover books, also has a wide range of products and some great news about shipping. They have free shipping for all orders over $25 this year through December 13. They also have rolled out digital gift cards for the first time. Use them online or over the phone for onsite purchases. Associate the Homestead with the covered wagon rides? They have a beautiful ornament of a covered wagon. (Yep, I got one of these on this last trip too.) Remember how excited Laura was about her Santa Christmas presents she got from Mr. Edwards? At the Homestead you can order tin cups with two sticks of peppermint, the heart shaped cakes and even a penny! A unique gift is squares of Ingalls Homestead homemade soap. They also have a wide selection non-Laura books of prairie/pioneer related subjects.

Harvey Dunn, nephew by marriage of Grace Ingalls and internationally known artist and illustrator, is best known for his connection with Manchester, the next town west of De Smet. The South Dakota Art Museum houses the largest collection of Dunn’s work. (It’s well worth your effort to stop in Brookings on your way to or from De Smet.) They have just released a reprint of Where Your Heart Is: The Story of Harvey Dunn, Artist. This current edition is available exclusively from the South Dakota Art Museum store.

Spring Valley is a smaller site, but they work on having unique things in their giftshop. One area they have a big selection in is the American Girl aka 18 inch size doll clothes. They are locally made and not mass produced. Colors may vary.

Doll Clothes from Spring Valley

Besides the 150th magnet, Mansfield has several other cool magnets look at all of them. They have a couple of unique things that feature the Rocky Ridge farmhouse including a snow globe and a frame. They have also have boxed sets of the hardbacks in wooden boxes.

In Malone/Burke, New York, they’ve also redone their website. Check out the Mason Jar style mug with Almanzo’s name, their selection of mugs, and cachet hand painted envelopes. If your Laura fan doesn’t yet have the DVD documentary Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura. It was produced by Dean Butler (Almanzo on the TV show) and is either a great keepsake or a tour if you haven’t been to the farmstead. They also have a lovely print called “Coming Home” with the Wilder farmhouse and a sleigh. I have a copy.

 

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.

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 18, 2017

De Smet SD

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
Online Store
Phone 1-800-880-3383
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 18, 2017

Ingalls Homestead
Online Store
Phone: 1-800-776-3594

Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2017

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 19, 2017

Malone NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm
Online Store
farm@almanzowilderfarm.com

Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

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 – Didn’t give a date

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

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 18, 2017

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.

Annual Christmas Shopping Guide 2014

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.

Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 and 2012  and 2013 are still available so take a look at past year’s posts for more ideas.

 

 

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.

De Smet Jack 2014
De Smet Jack 2014

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

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

Phone 1-800-528-7280

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

Phone 1-800-880-3383

Last Day for Priority Mail – December 17, 2014

Ingalls Homestead

Phone: 1-800-776-3594

Last Day for Priority Mail – before noon on December 20, 2014, call if questions

They have a specials page.

Loftus Store

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

Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum

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 NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm

farm@alamanzowilderfarm.com

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)

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. 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

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum

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

Pepin WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+, 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.