A Christmas Message
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series is one of my favorites to read and share with children, especially during the holidays.
This book series describes a simpler time when families were just beginning to homestead the northeastern prairie regions of our country. Building log cabins by hand and depending on the land for their survival, these early pioneers experienced hardships and a harsh environment. Yet, they still found joy and beauty in their everyday life, and Ingalls Wilder captures it beautifully in the stories of her childhood and young adult life.
A contributing writer for several publications in her lifetime, it was not until Laura was 65 years old, with the urging of her daughter Rose, that she began writing down her memories of the days growing up living in the little house on the prairie. Thank goodness for her daughter Rose’s insight into the wonderful gift these memories would be for future generations of readers.
We are many decades removed from the childhood described in this book collection. While the idea of churning butter and chopping firewood for the cookstove may seem like unusual tasks for children these days, there are lessons to be learned from these stories that are timeless and remain important and relevant for children and adults.
Our third graders are enjoying reading Christmas Stories, an adaptation of her fifth Little House book. The entire book series is filled with teachable moments and learning opportunities wrapped up in language that makes each of us feel as if Laura is sitting beside us and reminiscing about her youth as one of our best friends.
Rachel Kalina, editor-in-chief of Parent Guide Magazine, points out a few of these lessons in Lifestyle Literature. Her favorites include: put family first, work hard, be brave, handmade gifts are the best and appreciate nature.
This Christmas excerpt from On the Banks of Plum Creek illustrates Ingalls Wilder’s wisdom and insight. She wrote, whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus. Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning you saw what that had done. “If everybody wanted everybody else to be happy all the time, then would it be Christmas all the time?” Laura asked, and Ma said, “Yes, Laura.”
A timeless message of hope, joy and anticipation of Christmas all the time sent across the years as a lesson for all of us to remember all year long.
Merry Christmas from St Cyprian’s Episcopal School and wishes for the happiest new year, ever.
Dr. Sherry Durham