A Christmas reminder

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By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Christmas is a special time in South Dakota, and it was no less special in the 1880s. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of The Little House on the Prairie series, lived on a homestead near De Smet, and wrote about Christmas in Dakota Territory in “The Long Winter.” Even if the train was unable to reach De Smet at Christmas time, Santa Claus always managed to find his way to the Ingalls household. In “The Long Winter,” which takes place in 1880, Laura and her family were faced with a tough, snowy winter, but they still took time to enjoy Christmas. Each of the girls had packages of Christmas candy. Pa got a pair of blue suspenders. Ma got a cardboard hair receiver. Mary got a roll of knitted lace. Carrie got a nice Christmas card in a frame. In addition to the presents, Pa bought two cans of oysters from the store and let the girls have the last of the cow’s milk – a cow they recently had to sell. Laura wrote that whatever happened, they always had a lovely Christmas.

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