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 ninth year I’ve put together a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan 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 you are buying from Amazon, make sure you go into Amazon Smile and they’ll donate part of cost to your selected charity – select a Laura Ingalls Wilder homesite.
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! Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 , 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , 2016, 2017 and 2018 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.
Keep Laura in Your Thoughts All Year
Once again the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites have put out a calendar. It includes glossy full color photos of the homesites. Some photos you will have seen before others that are brand new. The calendar also features dates from things like the pageant dates to birth and death dates of family members. They are available from most of the homesites.
Put the China Shepherdess on the Mantle
Last year’s big return was a china shepherdess replica. I was shocked a couple of years ago when all three of the homesites that were selling different versions had stopped due to separate production issues. Last year 3 of the homesites (Mansfield, [as of 12/7/19 they’re on sale] Walnut Grove, and Independence) each introduced their own new version of the shepherdess. They cost about the same. Watch me unbox the shepherdesses from Independence and Mansfield.
Selected Laura Letters
Does your favorite Laura fan have a copy of The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson yet? If not, make sure they get a Christmas copy! Find it at any of the homesites.
With Rings on Her Fingers…
Walnut Grove has been offering a duplicate of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s engagement ring for sometime. It’s designed following what’s believed to be the one Almanzo bought her from the Montgomery Ward catalog. The cost is a little expensive (much more than Manly paid), but as many complements as I get when I wear mine, it’s a perfect gift! I thought it was worth another shout out!
Lauri Goforth is the Cat’s Meow star! At least she should feel like she is because it was her efforts this year that lead the company to roll out a new set of Laura Ingalls Wilder figures to go with what they originally had in 1998. Mansfield is still selling their two set pieces from the 1998 batch.
Watch me unbox them!
HarperCollins hasn’t put anything new for this holiday season, but last year they rolled out a new edition of the Little House Cookbook. The new edition is hardback and replaces the hardback version that has been available since 1979. Its design follows the book design of a trio of books in the series released with an introductory essay by a famous woman. The design of the text is different and the Garth Williams illustrations have been replaced by full color photographs that are lovely, but I’m fairly confident what they cooked to photograph wasn’t done by a historic cook. A lot of focus is put on these photographs that are either full page or 2 pages. The book is printed on half-chalked paper (which is in vogue for all kinds of books right now for some reason) which is traditionally used to give a better surface for photographs. I should warn you that the use of chalked paper also makes the book much, MUCH heavier than you’d expect. The paperback version will continue to follow the design established in 1979 by the original hardback edition and themed to the gingham covers version of the books which came out in the early 1990s. Walker herself has told me she prefers the Williams edition, but the actual content, apart from the illustrations and design (font, etc.) are identical.
You can buy the first 5 books in the “Little House” series as an ebook package from HarperCollins for use on the BookShout App only. This ebook package actually came out in 2016, but has missed the list until this year.
A Rose and a Prayer
I want to point out two books that I got copies of this year. The first is the graphic novel style nonfiction Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story by Peter Bagge. I still haven’t written a review of it because I’m still mulling it over, but I will say that I think overall he has a pretty good idea about how Rose saw herself and none at all about anything about Laura. If you read it, let me know your take. I was surprised by not really seeing it in many of the giftshops this year. It may have to be a bookstore purchase.
The other one is A Prairie Devotional by Wendi Lou Lee. A devotional is a book that gives you a story and a prayer every day. Lee, who was one of twins who played Grace on the NBC series, fills in with stories of the show and working with cast members. She also dealt with some serious health issues she talks about in-depth. I think it’s a read that is aiming at a particular audience and if you are it, you’ll love it. It was available through several different giftshops.
When Friendly Films and their Little House on the Prairie TV show started authorizing products again one of the first things licensed was a set of dolls and accessories for a Laura doll. They have everything from a covered wagon to all the miniature equipment you need to fill it up. You can outfit your doll in a typical pioneer dress or in one based on Laura’s good dress from the TV show. This fall they rolled out a second doll so now you can purchase both Laura and Mary.
Some Homesite Highlights
One of the most exciting additions to Pepin’s store for fans of the “Little House” picture books is that Pepin now is selling high quality prints of Renee Graef’s illustrations. There are several and appear in different sizes. Another cool thing is that they are now selling private label honey and maple syrup.
Pepin also has The Ingalls Family: The Pepin Story by William T. Anderson. It’s back in print as the most current update to his original book published in 1967.
If you’re looking for normal trip stuff to bring back between the stuffed animals, specialty coffee, and candles you’ll find all sorts of that kind of thing with a Laura theme at the Independence store. The are connected with one of those make everything custom printing places which gives plenty of choices. I should warn you though I bought a t-shirt there this summer and it not only was very light weight, it tore the very first time I wore it.
Walnut Grove also has some of its 2019 Little House on the Prairie Cast Reunion t-shirts. They are my favorite color – red! With a real pretty design. Whether you attended the reunion or not, you’ll want one of these limited supply t-shirts (scroll to bottom of online catalog page) for your collection. Another product are the Beadle Bags created by Charlotte Stewart each is unique. If you have a TV show fan in your life, they’ll probably want one.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet had Kitty Latane make some specially designed tin lanterns. A hot new item there is the sweatshirt blanket. It’s available in different colors with an image of the Surveyor’s House. Their next china ornament out this year features a design from On the Banks of Plum Creek. Also find a quilt for your favorite Charlotte doll! Finally if you don’t have a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Education in Kingsbury County by Nancy S. Cleaveland, you need one.
The Ingalls Homestead is having a special on right now. Between now and December 11th they are having a special sale. 10% off on everything online and if there is anything you remember seeing in person that isn’t on their online store, call and ask. They also are offering free regular shipping as part of the sale. Used the code word “Suspenders.” Order by Dec. 16th if you’re using the free shipping for Christmas delivery. Order by Dec. 20th for priority shipping.
Two new things the Homestead are offering are a wooden bookmark featuring Laura’s signature and a brand-new and a redesigned crate holding a set of the original series. Personally I’m excited about their luggage tags. I’d been bugging them to get these for years because I love my Disney ones and I’m excited they got them! The tags aren’t online yet, but give them a call, they’ve got them!
Mansfield is focused on its metal ornaments. Originally they came out year by year, but if you don’t have them all your tree is sorely lacking. 😦 My favorite thing in their gift shop was the fiddle shaped flashdrive! They also have t-shirts specifically for the Wilder Days fiddle-off. One thing Rose and I agree on is loving huge cups to drink out of. Get one in a Blue Willow pattern from the gift shop. The most unique product is a Valentine’s meal for two that includes a tour of the farmhouse. Or registration is open for the 2020 season of Pioneer Camp for your kids.
If you love “18-inch dolls” aka “American Girl Doll Size”, Thimbles and Acorns has been printing dress patterns for specific doll dresses. There are publications of various lengths and with patterns around various themes. Most of the homesite giftshops have them now.
Malone has continued to offer limited products in the Almanzo Wilder farmstead Facebook shop. Malone is offering branded maple syrup bottles. They have a red stocking ornament with Almanzo’s name. They also have a fundraising raffle. The grand prize is a quilt made to Linda Halpin’s pattern.
When I teach one-room school sessions I’ve been surprised by questions about where to buy McGuffey’s Readers after I tell them they are still in print. (100 years of reprints and counting after they fell out of print for about 20 years.) You can find them online at Pepin (under Books keep clicking show more until they show up it’s a long way down), Walnut Grove (scroll down linked page), and Mansfield (note the covers that are all brown are the 1830s ed and the blue/orange-ish covers are 1890s-ish).
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.
Check out the shipping dates from the United States Postal Service, if you have a question about shipping dates.
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 – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.
Walnut Grove MN
De Smet SD
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 – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.
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.
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 , LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.