When I was a little kid, I remember visiting Santa Claus each year. Though I imagined he lived in a cute little storybook cottage like this one, it turned out he instead lived inside a shopping mall. Or, at least that’s what I assumed until my mother assured me that Santa was “just visiting.” I remember always being disappointed that Santa showed up like a celebrity signing autographs, there for a few photo ops before returned to the North Pole. Waiting in a line is a horrible and tedious experience as an adult, but as a child it’s excruciatingly painful. And the entire time my little child brain wanted to scream, “why did you come HERE!?” I would have much preferred a visit to that magical house I imagined in my dreams. Mrs. Claus would make us some cookies, because as far I knew Santa didn’t know how to cook, and we’d all sit down and enjoy them with some steaming mugs of hot chocolate. That experience never happened so each year we went to the mall instead. The first year was fine, but in the subsequent years, it was alarming how much Santa had changed. We all go through various changes as we age, of course, but Santa would morph into different people entirely. In an effort to riddle out the mystery, I simply assumed this must surely be to hide his true identity.
Those trips were short-lived, not because I stop believing, but because I never really liked sitting on people. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable experience. I grew taller rather quickly and so that didn’t help matters in the least. I was certain that had I simply been invited over to the Claus home as a guest, I wouldn’t have been asked to sit on anyone. They would have provided a lovely wooden chair or something equally charming to accommodate me. So, as ever, the world I imagined was far grander than the reality I was able to experience. This also applies to today’s doodlewash in that it’s one of those buildings you might find in a Christmas village display. I’ve always wanted one of those displays where you collect little houses and shops to add to the scene. Each year, we see them in shops and I long to have one. But, I wisely decline. We don’t have room for each a couple houses, much less the entire town I would ultimately collect were I ever to start. So, I just enjoy the displays in stores each year instead.
What I love about those little scenes is that they are always depictions of a notably simpler time. A time when people lit candles and read books instead of worrying if there was an available plug to charge their phone while attending a party. I grew up during a time when technology was growing up with me. And I love having a knowledge of what life was like back when phones had cords and weren’t always in a pocket ready to distract someone. Marvelous inventions, indeed, making life so much easier to do all of the things we never even knew we needed to do in the first place. Yet, little cottages like these are still so appealing to people of all ages. It’s comforting to see them and, who knows, perhaps one day I might still get that village set of my own. I think it’s a gift to be reminded of simpler times. And, I’m thrilled that even today I can remember them and enjoy them in my imagination. Better yet, I can even travel to that dinner party that never happened and experience a magical and proper visit to Santa.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. 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!
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!