Christmas is a financially difficult time for most families, but for Charles and Caroline and their girls, it is even more so as each tries to think of a way to gather enough money to buy presents for each other. Charles is in great need of some new clothes, Caroline desperately wants a lovely stove she sees in the mercantile and Carrie wants to get a special gift for the baby Jesus.
In order to earn money for the stove, Charles undertakes to repair some wagon wheels for a customer of the mercantile, while Mary helps out the local seamstress and makes something nice for her father. Meanwhile, Laura makes a secret deal with Mr. Olseon about buying the stove for her mother so several people are suffering a case of crossed wires when Caroline makes Charles exactly what Mary does and both Charles and Laura think they have purchased the stove for Caroline.
It is a real tear-jerker when Charles makes a fine saddle for Laura's pony and we see that, in order to pay for the stove, Laura has made arrangements to sell her beloved pet to Mr. Olseon for Nellie, who wants it badly, in exchange for the stove.
A beautiful episode, full of all the love, peace and Joy of Christmas.
Christmas is my favorite time of year and this episode reminds me of the excitement that filled my childhood home as the holidays approached!
The first ordeal of the episode was to find out just what everyone wanted for Christmas!
After those discoveries were made, many secrets are kept and deals are struck in order to get each other that perfect Christmas gift. The way Ma deals with the duplicate gift is classic… I’ve always wondered what actually happened to it! The scene where payment is due on the gift Laura arranged for Ma is heart-wrenching, and Ma herself has a hard time accepting the sacrifice that Laura made. And Laura, in classic Ingalls fashion, is more worried about the time and effort Pa put into her gift that is now (for the time) useless than she is about what she gave p for Ma.
What I really like about the episode "Christmas at Plum Creek" is how it has a sort of "Gift of the Magi" when the episode comes to the end, with how Laura trades her beloved horse Bunny to get Ma a stove for Christmas, and gets a new saddle to use on Bunny from her parents. Granted, Laura didn't know what her present was going to be, I thought that her actions where very selfless, caring more about her mother than her happiness in riding Bunny to make the trade with Mr. Oleson for the stove. What I also liked about the episode also goes along with the Gift of the Magi references, because of how everybody kept what their Christmas present giving plans a screct so that their suprises could go off without a hitch. To me, I found it a little heart-breaking to see Caroline want to stop Laura from giving Bunny to Nellie and the way she was crying after Nels and Nellie left and how she felt bad for Charles for working so hard on her present. It is a classic episode that shows how much love the Ingalls clan has for each other. "Christmas At Plum Creek" is possibly my favorite Christmas episode the show produced in its 10 season run.
The messages in this episode are very much what the entire series was meant to be about. The love of family, the devotion to hard work and how making sacrifices is a part of life. It's almost impossible to believe that there are people like this today, who would give so much of themselves, their time, their energy and even their own possesions just to give joy to another person for one day.
Mary works and works with Mrs. Whipple and her efforts are rewarded by being able to make Pa a beautiful new shirt. Pa works so hard out in the barn, not just on Laura's saddle, but also on the wagon wheels so that he'll have money for Ma's stove. Caroline and Laura both spend many hours sewing and knitting, respectively, so that they may give something special to the folks they love. And even little Carrie gets in on the action by spending her only penny on the star for the tree. But what really makes this episode grab your heart and squeeze it is the sacrifice that Laura makes for her Ma, and the "Gift of the Magi" type ending. Laura gives up her beloved Bunny because she knows how much Ma wants, and needs really, a new stove. But Pa has made her a saddle for her horse and she can't seem to stop crying over it. Not that she doesn't have a horse to put it on, but because she knows how hard he worked on it. Wow! This episode cements in our hearts and minds how special these people are, both to us and to each other. I watch it every Christmas and it never fails to move me.
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