Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder
Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)
Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)
Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)
Carrie Ingalls (1974 - 1982)
Nellie says about Bunny, "I'll be good to him" and seconds later, Nels calls the horse, "Bunny old girl." No one involved seems clear about the gender of this horse.
Laura says to Mary in this episode: "This is our first Christmas here", meaning in Plum Creek. This surely can not be true, as the Ingalls family moved to Plum Creek in the fall, and after that, Caroline Ingalls went nine months pregnant with Charles Jr. and then he died a few weeks later. These events happened in the previous two episodes entitled "The Lord is My Shepherd. Therefore, they must have been celebrating a Christmas in Plum Creek before this one.
Laura asks Caroline if she can have two pieces of cloth. Later, when they are opening their gifts we see that Laura made a scarf for Charles, but it is of a different fabric and color than the cloth scraps.
We learn green is Pa's favorite color (from the knitted scarf Laura made him), green was also Michael Landon's favorite color.
In this episode, 3-year-old Carrie has two significant one-on-one scenes with Charles; first when she asks Charles what Christmas is, and again when she and Charles are talking about Santa in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. We don't see Carrie interact this much with her father again until Season 5's The Godsister.
While begging her parents to let her work with Mrs. Whipple, Mary is talking so quickly that she accidentally says "And I sewed her how I could show! I mean, I showed her how I could sew." This was an actual goof-up that Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) made during filming, as she discussed in a later interview, but she and the other actors did a great job at continuing the scene despite it.
Caroline: (waking Charles up late on Christmas Eve) Charles, what is it?
Charles: What's what?
Caroline: In the other room. There's a big box. What is it?
Charles: Caroline, you're worse than the girls! I'm not gonna tell you what's in that box. You're just gonna have to wait until the morning.
Caroline: But Charles, I can't sleep.
Charles: Well, you're gonna have to sleep.
Charles: Are these the eggs you're taking in to Oleson's?
Charles: Seems like a lot more than usual.
Caroline: Don't worry, there are plenty for us. Charles, you just got through saying that Christmas is not the time to ask questions!
Caroline: (after Laura swaps her pony to Nellie for a stove for Caroline) Charles, your pony, we can't...
Charles: Caroline, she had the right.
Caroline: But she loves Bunny so.
Charles: I think she loves you more.
Caroline: Oh, I can't...
Charles: Caroline, she wants to do this. She loves you. Don't spoil it for her.
Mary: What should I get Pa for Christmas?
Caroline: I don't know what I'm gonna get him myself. But I'm sure he'll like whatever you find to give him.
Mary: This is our first Christmas here. It has to be special.
Caroline: Well, one thing's for sure - we don't have money to buy presents. If we want Christmas to be special, we're gonna have to make it that way ourselves.
Nels: (about Carrie's penny) My goodness, Carrie! Where did all that money come from?
Nels: And you want to buy something with it, no doubt.
Nels: Oh, the star! All right. Fine, we'll get it for you.
Laura: Oh, Carrie, you don't have enough money. That star costs five cents.
Nels: Well, this tag happens to be wrong. It should read one penny, and one penny is what I'm going to take for it. (smiles and hands the star to Carrie)
Carrie: What's Christmas?
Charles: What's Christmas? Well, that's a very good question. Come on, let's see if I can show you. (carries her to the window) There. You see that star up there? The real big one? Now, a long, long time ago, a star like that appeared in the sky--of course, it was much bigger and much brighter. A lot of people saw that star, but only a few people knew what it meant. Some shepherds, some kings, and three Wise Men followed that star a long, long way, until they came to a manger. And you know what they found? A baby. Baby Jesus. And he was God's son, and God gave Him to the world because He loved us. So Christmas is the baby Jesus' birthday.
Laura: I hate that Nellie Oleson!
Caroline: Laura! Don't say hate--don't even think hate! Now, you may be angry, but try to understand. I'm sure Nellie has some fine qualities in her.
Charles: Your Ma's right. On the way home, we'll try and think of one.
Laura: Is it all right if I ride Bunny into town? Ma said to ask you.
Charles: Well, let's see. Are you going to ride because you want to or because you just feel like making Nellie jealous?
Laura: A little of both, I guess.
Charles: Well, I suppose you're not breaking a commandment. Go on.
Charles: (about Mrs. Oleson) Now we know what Charles Dickens had in mind when he wrote about Ebenezer Scrooge.
In this episode, Pa recounts the Christmas story to Carrie and the rest of the family. He goes into great detail, even referring to Jesus as "the Son of God." Considering Michael Landon was Jewish, and the show's director, it strikes one as very unusual that he'd deliberately choose to give such a direct and poignant testimony about Jesus Christ.
Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley, Murphy's Ranch, and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.
The ending has a similar messege to O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi."
The plot from this episode is based heavily on the timeless Christmas story known as The Gift of the Magi, written by O. Henry.
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