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Little House in the Big Woods Recap: Christmas

Maggie Mae



Here's a list of things I enjoy about this book: 

  • It is apolitical. Trump does not exist. 
  • It is pleasant to read. 
  • There is no comment section full of people yelling at each other about things that have nothing to do with the article. 
  • The illustrations are perfect. They fit the theme and aren't too modern, yet still nice too look at. 
  • I enjoy the setting & it's a picture perfect view of a time when things were likely not picture perfect. 
  • Trump hasn't even been born yet. World War I and II haven't happened. It's just Mary and Laura and Ma and Pa. 

Things I dislike: 

  • Casual racism.
  • Bullet making.
  • Trapping. 

Anyway, so Christmas is coming and Wisconsin is full of snow. I love snow. I love our hoarfrost. I especially love talking about the hoarfrost with young teenagers who get excited that they are allowed to say "whore" and their dumb jokes. 

Pa makes Ma an intricate shelf, which Ma puts a "china woman" on.  I'm guessing it's some sort of porcelain doll? Or is it actually a Chinese doll? I have no idea.  I am inspired by Pa's woodworking skills though. 

Ma cooks for Christmas - "rye'n'Injun" bread, Swedish crackers, baked beans, salt pork, molasses. Vinegar pies, dried apple pies, and cookies. Okay, I know what Swedish crackers, baked beans, salt pork, and molasses are. No idea on the Vinegar pies or rye'n'injun bread. I feel weird typing out the rye bread name. 

  For Christmas, extended family visits! All of the kids run around shouting, and get yelled at. There are no ages listed, but Laura is obviously younger than Peter and Alice and Ella. They flop around in the snow for a bit, and get so excited they can't sleep. See, olden days people are just like us, but without the internet. Or automobiles. Or Beat Saber. 

Uncle Peter and Aunt Eliza tell a story that Laura eavesdrops in on. It involves their family dog protecting them from a panther. Man, there must have been a lot of big cats back in the day. 

Ma realizes the kids are all awake and tells Pa to play fiddle for them. 

Then it's Christmas! They all wake up and get their stockings! They all got candy and mittens. Laura gets a rag doll. The other girls are not jealous because Laura is the littlest, other than Carrie and Dolly Varden (OMG that's a fish). The dolls name is Charlotte. 

Peter jokes about no one getting only a switch. I wonder if that's like the "you'll get only coal" that some parents threaten now? 

Then they do chores because life during westward expansion and homestead isn't easy. They eat pancakes and now I want pancakes.  It's too cold to be outside (ha!) and so they look at the bible and Laura holds her doll, and they eat candy. 

They are served dinner and we are reminded that children should be seen and not heard, which is so weird. And their aunt and uncle and cousins leave. 

Not a lot happens but it's just a nice story. Definitely for kids. Very nice distraction from the very stable genius. 

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The "china shepherdess" is a figurine that traveled from place to place with the Ingalls family.

Right now I'm starting a re-read of The Long Winter.  I have certain books I go to when I need a shot in the arm.  I call  them my "courage books".

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The Christmas chapters for the Little House books are always my favorite. 

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