Though I paint every day, I’m not particularly crafty in other ways. That’s why I was rather proud of myself when, not liking any of the prepared wreaths at the store, I managed to fashion my own a couple years ago. It was quite fun to choose bits of pinecones, bobbles, and miniature wrapped gifts and combine them in just the right fashion on a wreath strung with multi-colored tiny LED lights. The base was a plain and rather sad artificial wreath that is now appropriately pimped out and glistening on the back of the front door. Best of all, it’s managed to survive for a couple years now and this is its third year making an appearance. In fact, the actual one has bits of gold tinsel and a lot less restraint, but I didn’t have time to sketch all of that for today’s prompt. So, we have a crop of a more demure version that was likely in my head before I lost all willpower.
We put the final decorations on our tree yesterday and it shows a similar pattern of excess. From the impossible number of ornaments jabbed into every nook, cranny, and crevice to the blazing trail of lights surrounding it. And yet, it’s somehow perfectly right and appropriately festive. Unlike watercolor, where it’s very easy to overwork things, the holidays are built with a more is better approach. That’s why I adore this time of year. We spend so much time holding ourselves back, that when there’s a chance to just let ourselves go, it’s fun to embrace it. To me, that’s always been the thrill of the holidays. Even my late father, who wasn’t overly involved in purchasing gifts normally, would go a bit crazy on the rare occasions he would accompany my mother to the store. One year, I received an insane number of Atari 2600 games and every year after that, I would politely encourage him to assist my mother on her annual shopping trip.
Today, I shopped online for some of Philippe’s presents and went a little crazy as well. So much so, that I actually cancelled a couple of the more ridiculous ones, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be replaced with something else as the big day approaches. The gifts aren’t particularly expensive, but really just fun things that I think he’d like to unwrap. In my head, I’m imagining the evening ahead and planning out the order of the gifts for the night. A slow build and quite often a theme with a bit of story as I’m prone to do. It’s never really about the gifts in the end. It’s about creating a memorable night of fun surprises that warm our hearts and make us smile. As the years go by, sometimes the actual gifts are forgotten, but the joy they brought in the moment is never lost. And some things return each and every year, creating a fabric of tradition that’s uniquely us. Whether it’s that silly ornament of Santa camping in a tent, or that time I pushed the limits of my crafting ability and decided I would make a holiday wreath.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!