When I was a young boy, there was nothing more awkward than finding myself accidentally standing under the mistletoe. Here’s a quick little sketch of some in answer to today’s prompt. The tradition, dating back to Norse mythology, and far later adopted into 18th century Christmas traditions, involves stealing a kiss from someone caught standing underneath it. While fine for people who understand love, when you’re just a young kid, it can become an embarrassing situation. In some versions of the tradition, each time a kiss was stolen, people were supposed to steal one of the berries as well. Once all the berries were gone, the plant no longer held the magical power to grant kisses. These days, many people don’t really distinguish between the white-berried mistletoe and red-berried holly and it’s more likely of the artificial variety, so plucking off berries isn’t really an option. But on the bright side, unlike when you’re a child, a chance for a smooch as an adult is more often considered a lovely thing indeed.
We don’t really hang mistletoe this time of year in our house, though being somewhat more adult now, I do rather like the concept. One hopes, though, that when you actually live with your true love, the kisses would come naturally as part of the equation. But there is something about this season that simply glistens with love and affection and I think that’s why I love it most. Each moment is just a bit more sparkly and important than the moments that came before. Sure, they’re more likely to be lit by twinkling lights, but even still, Santa isn’t the only with a twinkle in his eyes this time of year. That said, the act of waiting until next weekend until we can open presents is making me perfectly crazy. Each day, something new arrives on the doorstep and Philippe and I rush to see if it’s something he ordered or if it’s something I ordered. In this way, we do get a brief glimpse of our gifts in rather bad packaging, but it’s still a wonderful surprise when they get dressed in their appropriate wrapping.
Most of the packages are stupidly small, because they cost nearly nothing at all. We just like to have lots of things to open on Christmas Eve to make the evening feel like a true event. It’s a wonderfully staged production of fabulous food and surprises that I live for each and every year. And best of all, the waiting makes each day a bit slower. Life seems to pause a bit and things slow down. Though my inner child is nearly screaming with excitement, my adult self is enjoying the slow moments that proceed the big night. And each twinkle of light sends a message, like a magical Morse code, typing out a tapestry of inaudible words. If I pause long enough to view them properly they always seem to spell out HOPE. A thrill in the air that makes every problem feel like it’s melting away and, in the end, doesn’t really matter that much at all. And though it might just be a trick of the light, I have to believe that it’s something truly special. Like getting a kiss under the mistletoe.
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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue, and Payne’s Gray. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!