That Time I Got 20 Teddy Bears For Christmas

Day 13 - Christmas Teddy Bear Watercolor - Doodlewash

When I was visiting my mother in Texas recently, I was marveling at her tree filled with stuffed bears, each one with its own crocheted sweater. I asked if she had made them, but she said, “No,” as if making that many bears would be a crazy thing to do. But, my heart and mind drifted back to a time when I was very young and experienced what felt like a Christmas miracle. I had asked for a purple teddy bear from Santa and was sure that he was listening to me and would deliver it. I’m not sure how I knew, but I just felt it would happen, like so many of my childhood dreams. When I came downstairs on Christmas morning, I first looked at the presents to see which wrapped box might be hiding my purple prize. My mother was nearby and softly said, “Look up, Charlie.” There, sitting on a branch of the Christmas tree was a purple jointed teddy bear smiling back at me. I rushed over to it and gently pulled it from its perch on the tree. While I was still hugging it, I noticed another bear sitting on a branch nearby. My eyes grew wide as I raced around the tree realizing that it was literally covered in bears of all different shapes and colors. It was an incredible experience and, to this day, I’m still not sure what was actually under the tree that year.

I’m not totally sure of the final number of bears I collected from that tree, but to me it felt like a million. It was like one little wish had somehow multiplied and become an impossible dream come true. But, even then, I knew that though Santa had shown up with the original gift, it was my mother who had made it something truly magical. Perhaps there wasn’t much under the tree that year. There were times when finances were a bit challenged back then. But, if anything had changed beneath the tree, I certainly didn’t notice. I was too caught up in the wonder and joy smiling at me from all of those branches. Soon, I had a cast of the most unique teddy bears I’d ever seen, and each one was waiting for its name and to have its story invented. I was in heaven! There are those moments in life that sparkle a bit more than others. The ones that make a memory so vibrant and incredible that it burns a place in your heart, never to be forgotten. There’s a lot during my time on this planet that I’ve managed to forget, but that moment is one that I’ll cherish until the day I die.

Today, it’s moments like these that remind me there’s always something lovely to be found in life no matter what is happening. Always a glimmer of hope. Whether it’s a truly stressful day or one that simply didn’t seem to run according to plan, I manage to smile no matter what. And as I head toward another Christmas Eve, I know that very little has changed after all of these years. Though I’ll receive some of the gifts I asked for, it’s the ones I never expected that will warm my heart the most. Often, just little things that don’t cost very much to acquire, but create a wealth of happiness in the giving. My days are getting busy as I prepare to take a bit of time off work, and with it comes a feeling of hectic stress. But, as ever, I’ve learned to recreate my own magic as an adult by sitting down to sketch something each and every day. My mind relaxes for the first time that day and lets me travel back to less complicated moments. The kind that made me the hopeful dreamer I still am today, as I reminisce about that time I got 20 teddy bears for Christmas.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Vermillion, Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 13 - Christmas Teddy Bear Watercolor Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash
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27 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 9 months ago

    Wow! That does sound like an amazing Christmas! I know I would have been over the moon. I had one similar when I was about five and it’s my clearest Christmas memory. My parents had bought me a doll on sale, shortly after the Christmas before, and my mother sewed her about 25 dresses over the course of the year. The funny thing was that I saw her sewing them, and asked about it, and she said she was sewing them for a little girl who’s doll didn’t have any. I knew all my dolls have dresses, so it never once occurred to me that the dresses were for me. I was truly surprised that Christmas!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Aww I love that story!! Moms are the most amazing beings on the planet!! I have no idea how they DO it, but they always make things magical!

  2. Jodi 9 months ago

    what a beautiful story! what an amazing mom! <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 Yeah, she’s rather incredible… hehe… but also, it’s a mom thing. Moms are just the coolest!

  3. Sharon Nolfi 9 months ago

    Wonderful memory and wonderful mom! I can just imagine the excitement of Little Charlie and the joy your mom must have felt. Today’s painting is another all-time favorite for me. Way too cute for this world.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Aww thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed this doodle! And yes, that was the most amazing Christmas ever! I will never forget it!

  4. LoriCtoo 9 months ago

    Oh my gosh! Your bear is darling! Your story is even more wonderful! I think I will go ask my son if there was a Christmas that stands out in his mind. (I’ll probably get the answer, “Last year.” Ha ha, not funny. Santa has always wrapped his presents in Santa paper and left them in a pile in front of the tree, along with the “magic key” that he uses to get into our home. We do not have a fireplace. He is almost 20 and Santa still does it! 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Ohhhh… yay! A Santa Key! That’s the best invention ever in our modern world! And I’m perfectly thrilled, of course, that at 20, Santa is still a lively part of the tradition!

  5. Jill Kuhn 9 months ago

    Such a touching story, Charlie 😍 My neice gave me a teddy bear for Christmas one year when she was about 10… I have always kept it. 💗 It isn’t always the expensive gifts that mean the most but gifts given from the heart. 🌟

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Glad you enjoyed this, Jill 😃💕 Yeah, it’s never the extravagant gifts that make the most impact. Unless the extravagance comes from the heart.

  6. Lisa 9 months ago

    What a wonderful thing for your mom to do! My best gift ever from Santa was an easy bake oven. I loved those horrible little cakes made with lightbulb power. Lol

    • Ellie 9 months ago

      I had one of those ovens!! It was magical – and the little cakes were something only a child could love.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Yes, it was a wonderful moment! 😃💕 And I’m SO jealous of your Easy Bake Oven! I wanted one, but never got it, so I had to play with the one from the girls who lived up the street from us! hehe

  7. creatingincolors 9 months ago

    What a sweet Christmas story – and I love your outlook, that there’s always something lovely to be found in life no matter what is happening, a good thing to remember each day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this one! Yes, there’s ALWAYS good to be found in this crazy world. Sometimes, it just take a second look.

  8. Ellie 9 months ago

    Such a wonderful memory to cherish!! I love the image of Little Charlie collecting bears from the tree. Your mother must be a remarkable woman.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Ellie! 😃💕 Yes, my mother is indeed a remarkable woman. Amazing in so many ways. I can only hope I inherited an ounce of that!

  9. mlaiuppa 9 months ago

    What a great memory. I actually own a purple teddy. It’s a Steiff. I hadn’t thought of using my teddies as models but I could certain do so. I even have one dressed as Santa somewhere.

    Glad to hear I am recovered from the SPAM filter.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Yes, you’ve been recovered! SO sorry about that! I normally “save” folks quickly but was out of town for a bit. 😊Glad you enjoyed this one! 😃💕And I adore Steiff bears!! I wanted the Paddington one, but never got it and now it costs a fortune!

  10. Susan Cuss 9 months ago

    I can just imagine the wonder in your eyes as you spotted that 1st purple teddy bear, then another bear, and another, and another!!!! Moms sure do put the magic in Christmas. Merry Christmas Charlie! Thanks for sharing this precious memory.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Susan! 😃💕Glad you enjoyed this! And SO true! Moms are just magical… there’s no doubt about it!

  11. smzang 9 months ago

    Charlie says, “There are those moments in life that sparkle a bit more than others.”

    Yes indeed! You create a lot of them!

    I have a purple teddy bear. It is sitting on top of my bookshelf looking at me and holding a bunch of pink and red roses.
    I have to whisper this part so his feelings don’t get hurt : ) but in 2004 I entered him and Green Pepper(an emerald green teddy bear) in Pittsburgh’s Teddy Bear Fair. Green Pepper won an honorable mention but Purp just got a ribbon that stated
    she had participated, We never told her. She thinks her ribbon says she is a winner (she is).

    Your painting takes me back to the days of ‘best friend bears’.. It is so huggable!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Aww… huge hugs to Purp!! hehe… I have to admit that I feel like Purp most days. Getting a ribbon for simply showing up! hehe

      • smzang 9 months ago

        Purp sends a furry hug right back atcha.

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 9 months ago

    What an adorable charmer this Santa dressed bear is – and a lovely painting. As I’ve said before, your mom was an amazing, loving person. One way or another, she fulfilled your dreams.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon!! 😃💕Indeed she did! She is a very amazing person!

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