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 fourth year I've put together a shopping guide and I thought maybe this year would be the year to update the original post, but frankly re-reading it, I think it still holds up well 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. Beyond Little House encourages you to do at least a little Christmas shopping from the 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 present that Laura fans should either already own or have on their list is 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.
Another new item this year, which as far as I know is only available from the Walnut Grove giftshop, is book about Dr. Tann by Susan Thurlow. Although only a booklet it takes the limited information available about Dr. Tann and unlike A Doctor Fetched by the Family Dog by Eileen Miles Charbo, puts it in a narrative format including information from Thurlow's research. It's based on Thurlow's presentation at LauraPalooza 2012. You can get Dr. George Tann: Black Frontier Physician by Susan Thurlow for $5.35 through Walnut Grove.
I've added the Loftus Store to the list this year because while not technically a homesite, they were mentioned in the books, are a can't miss stop for Laura fans in De Smet and they always have some unique Laura items. This year they report that they've 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), 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), and a brand new item, 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.
Spring Valley doesn't have anything new to mention, but they are one of the 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.) and they report they are still selling well.
Walnut Grove, which is another glass ball ornament site, has put out a page of Christmas specials. Walnut Grove reports their top sellers are:
- Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Walnut Grove $13.95
- Miss Beadle Tote Bag $37.50 on sale $32.50 Autographed and made by Miss Beadle herself Charlotte Stewart
- Little House Set of Paper Back books $62.99 on sale $53.55
They also just got in the Laura-esque figurine from Wild West (See photo below). I got one a few years ago at the Ingalls Homestead and I think it makes a nice display piece. It's not on the store site yet, but one can be yours for $10. One of the most expensive pieces in my personal collection is the replica of Laura's engagement ring that I recently 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. I got asked where you could get one by two different people at my last presentation alone. 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 haven't gotten some of the Jack's Treats for the special Laura fan dog in your life, I hope you will now realize Christmas was be incomplete until you do. (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 may or may not have a couple of plush Jacks heading towards my Christmas tree as we speak. They also have a variety of Laura related, Minnesota themed cookie cutters including a loon, a buffalo, a map of the United States, and a fish like the ones Pa trapped. They make the perfect present topper for your Laura themed gift.
Mansfield is says their best sellers are the DVD version of the documentary they made in conjunction with Ozark Public Television (not to be confused with the two Mansfield themed episodes of Ozark Watch also produced by Ozark Public Television) Laura Ingalls Wilder: Life of a Pioneer Girl and The Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook. On my order list from them for the new year (from now to Christmas is all about the presents so I have to wait) is a print of the painting done by W.H.D. Koerner that is in the Rocky Ridge living room ($12.95). Not everything they have is listed in their online store so feel free to call them and ask.
The Almanzo Wilder Farm in Malone/Burke added they have new embroidered logo t-shirts in adult sizes. Who doesn't need a new design of Laura shirt?
Prospective presents that I've mentioned before, see the links to past posts above, include the Legacy Documentaries documentaries Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura and the long awaited DVD release of The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the various products from Pa's Fiddle. These are available at most homesite giftshops.
What do you give the Laura fan who has everything? Although there is always something more that a Laura fan wants for their collection, a real fur muff, a custom Ingalls Girls a la Sunbonnet Sue wall quilt, the kitchen canisters from Laura's kitchen, Ma's pen with the pearl handle shaped like a feather, etc., another answer is to help insure Laura's legacy continues with a donation made in the name of your own special Laura fan. Right now special fundraising projects include:
- Pepin wants to Pave the Way to the Future. Donate to get your or your loved one's name on Pavers in front of the new frontdoor.
- Independence is planning an online donation campaign over the winter, but no details yet. Update: Now, we have details.
- Mansfield is working on their capitol campaign.They aren't offering your name on anything, but you do get a nice Thank you letter.
And don’t forget you can also get your Laura fan gift memberships to the museums!
Walnut Grove MN
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 17, 2013
Check out their Winter 2013 Specials
De Smet SD
Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, Click on The Gift Shop
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 13, 2013
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 13, 2013, 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 – December 10, 2013
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
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.
Last day for Christmas shipping is December 18, 2013.
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. They also report "We will do mail orders for the gift shop but will have to be by cashier check as our credit card machine has been down and we won’t get a different one till next spring.” Cashier checks are preferred, but will also accept cash or regular check.
Last Day for Priority – December 9, 2013
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, 2013
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 blogs at TrundleBed Tales; look for her on Facebook, Twitter , YouTube, Blog Talk Radio, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association, Acting President