Little House Christmas (Little House Series)by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
In her beloved Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder describes some of the Christmases she and her family celebrate on the frontier. Even if they don't have much money for presents, they always have one another, and that's enough to make any Christmas merry. This lavish gift book gathers together five of Laura's classic Christmas stories from Little House in the Big Woods, Little Houes on the Prairie, and On the Banks of Plum Creek, and is illustrated with gently colorized versions of Garth Williams' original art. Bring these stories home with you as part of your own Christmas celebration!
And, this Christmas, you can also be Laura with the Little House Christmas Theater Kit! Inside this wonderful new kit is everything you need to put on two Christmas plays adapted from the Little House books. Ask for this kit at a bookstore near you, and make your Christmas this year a Little House Christmas!
Read an Excerpt
For a long time it seemed that Christmas would never come. On Christmas, Uncle Andrew and Aunt Delia, Uncle Wesley and Aunt Lindy, and all the cousins were coming to dinner. It would be the best dinner of the whole year. And a good boy might get something in his stocking. Bad boys found nothing but switches in their stockings on Christmas morning. Almanzo tried to be good for so long that he could hardly stand the strain.
But at last it was the day before Christmas and Alice and Royal and Eliza Jane were home again. The girls were cleaning the whole house, and Mother was baking. Royal helped Father with the threshing, but Almanzohad to help in the house. He remembered the switch, and tried to be willing and cheerful.
He had to scour the steel knives and forks, and polish the silver. He had to wear an apron around his neck. He took the scouring-brick and scraped a pile of red dust off it, and then with a wet cloth he rubbed the dust up and down on the knives and forks.
The kitchen was full of delicious smells. Newly baked bread was cooling, frosted cakes and cookies and mince pies and pumpkin pies filled the pantry shelves, cranberries bubbled on the stove. Mother was making dressing for the goose.
Outdoors, the sun was shining on the snow. The icicles twinkled all along the eaves. Far away sleigh-bells faintly jingled, and from the barns came the joyful thud-thud! thud-thud! of the flails. But when all the steel knives and forks were done, Almanzo soberly polished the silver.
Then he had to run to the attic for sage; he had to run down cellar for apples, and upstairs again for onions. He filled the woodbox. Hehurried in the cold to fetch water from the pump. He thought maybe he was through, then, anyway for a minute. But no; he had to polish the diningroom side of the stove.
"Do the parlor side yourself, Eliza Jane," Mother said. "Almanzo might spill the blacking."
Almanzo's insides quaked. He knew what would happen if Mother knew about that black splotch, hidden on the parlor wall. He didn't want to get a switch in his Christmas stocking, but he would far rather find a switch there than have Father take him to the woodshed.
That night everyone was tired, and the house was so clean and neat that nobody dared touch anything. After supper Mother put the stuffed, fat goose and the little pig into the heater's oven to roast slowly all night. Father set the dampers and wound the clock. Almanzo and Royal hung clean socks on the back of a chair, and Alice and Eliza Jane hung stockings on the back of another chair.
Then they all took candles and went to bed.
It was still dark when Almanzo woke up. He felt excited, and then he. remembered that this was Christmas morning. He jerked back the covers and jumped onto something alive that squirmed. It was Royal. He had forgotten that Royal was there, but he scrambled over him, yelling:
"Christmas! Christmas! Merry Christmas!"
He pulled his trousers. over his nightshirt. Royal jumped out of bed and lighted the candle. Almanzo grabbed the candle, and Royal shouted:
"Hi! Leave that be! Where's my pants?"
But Almanzo was already running downstairs. Alice and Eliza Jane were flying from their room, but Almanzo beat them. He saw his sock hanging all lumpy; he set down the candle and grabbed his sock. The first thing he pulled out was a cap, a boughten cap!
The plaid cloth was machine-woven. So was the lining. Even the sewing was machine-sewing. And the ear-muffs were buttoned over the top.
Almanzo yelled. He had not even hoped for such a cap. He looked at it, inside and out; he felt the cloth and the sleek lining. He put the cap on his head. It was a little large, because he was growing. So he could wear it a long time.
Eliza Jane and Alice were digging into their stockings and squealing, and Royal had a silk muffler. Almanzo thrust his hand into his sock again, and pulled out a nickel's worth of horehound candy. He bit off the end of one stick. The outside melted like maple sugar, but the inside was hard and could be sucked for hours.
Then he pulled out a new pair of mittens. Mother had knit the wrists and backs in a fancy stitch. He pulled out an orange, and he pulled out a little package of dried figs. And he thought that was all. He thought no boy ever had a better Christmas.
But in the toe of the sock there was still something more. It was small and thin and hard. Almanzo couldn't imagine what it was. He pulled it out, and it was a jack-knife. It had four blades.
Almanzo yelled and yelled. He snapped all the blades open, sharp and shining, and he yelled,
"Alice, look! Look, Royal! Lookee, lookee my jack-knife! Lookee my cap!"
Father's voice came out of the dark bedroom and said:
"Look at the clock."
They all looked at one another. Then Royal held up the candle and they looked at the tall clock. Its hands pointed to half past three.
Even Eliza Jane did not know what to do. They had waked up Father and Mother, an hour and a half before time to get up.
"What time is it?" Father asked.
Almanzo looked at Royal. Royal and Almanzo looked at Eliza Jane. Eliza Jane swallowed, and opened her mouth, but Alice said:
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