Friday, 23 December 2011
Twelve Days of Christmas 11: Little House on the Prairie
There are two vivid Christmas scenes in the series that stand out for me: the first in the first book: Little House in the Big Woods. It is a merry, family Christmas, with all the uncles and aunts coming to stay, presents of mittens and a precious doll for Laura, home-made candy of molasses poured onto snow, making snow-angels and indulging in a feast of a Christmas dinner. It is a Christmas described so well I could almost taste it, almost smell the clean, fresh snow and hear the laughter of a family celebrating Christmas together. Other Christmases feature as the series chronicles Laura's life. Nowadays children receive TVs, gaming consoles and iPods for their big Christmas presents, but Laura makes a few pieces of candy, a pair of mittens, a tin mug and a penny sound like riches galore. What else could any child want.
The other striking Christmas in my three-in-one volume, was a lonely one. A trip to town for essential supplies was a long journey, and one December, Pa Ingalls was stranded there by a blizzard. The days following his departure are anxious days of waiting, with Ma trying to distract her children with games, well aware of the dangers her husband faces. Pa's safe return on Christmas Eve, minus the Christmas candy and treats, which he had to eat to survive, is the best Christmas present of all.