There’s really nothing better than a cozy spot by a crackling fireplace during the winter. It’s been years since I’ve had a wood-burning fireplace so the crackle is more of a memory of childhood. Thankfully, there are a couple wood-burning fireplaces in the neighborhood so a walk outside this time of year still delivers the signature scent of the holidays. I’ve doodlewashed an imagined and rare full scene of a cozy room I’d like to have during the season, complete with a stone fireplace. My childhood fireplace was brick, but the stone ones always appeared in storybooks so I’ve always dreamed of having a version like that one day. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still holding out hope that it will. There are many childhood dreams I’ve still not given up on yet. My favorite bit about this time of year is that it comes with that glittering feeling of hope. It’s a beautiful time of gifts followed by a celebration of new beginnings as the New Year starts. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year and I hope, wherever you are, you’re enjoying a beautiful and happy season.
Philippe and I received the last of our gifts that we purchased for each other tonight. These came from different delivery companies so we were constantly rushing to door seeing which box was addressed to who and trying not to look too closely. Then we had to rush them upstairs to our prospective closets and hide them. I nearly ran out of room in my little closet and realized I really must make a mental note to get rid of several pairs of shoes I don’t wear anymore. When I was a kid, presents would appear under the tree several days before Christmas and I would get so excited to see the ones with my name on them. Then Santa would arrive and add a couple more gifts under the tree when I awoke on Christmas morning. In Philippe’s childhood tradition, Santa brought him all of the gifts, so he doesn’t like it when the gifts appear too early. For him, even the sight of the gift was part of the surprise. Each year, this means a marathon wrapping session where each of us are relegated to different floors of our row home and signal the other when it’s safe to return. Though I would personally prefer that gifts already appeared under the tree, waiting this long to wrap them means that a few are going to be a surprise to even me. Though I know what the big final gift is, I can’t honestly remember each silly little thing I currently have jammed in my closet for him.
The food preparation has begun, at least. We’ll bury the salmon tonight for the gravlax and Philippe will prep the liver for his foie gras. Both of which, sound perfectly odd when described, to be sure, but they are now cherished traditions. Phineas will sniff his displeasure at all of the silly things we do and rush off to sit in front of the fire. And I’ll enjoy every little precious second of these snow globe moments while my heart glows with love. I’ve not done everything I set out to do this year or in life in general, and I’m thrilled for the coming year and another chance to continually chase all of my impossibly crazy dreams. In this moment, though, Philippe and I are listening to Christmas music just before we have dinner. Phineas has already had dinner, but that doesn’t stop him from sitting at my feet hoping for an unexpectedly favorable change in plans. In truth, it’s a fantastically simple evening. One that would seem a bit boring by some standards. But, for me, it’s the most perfect night of all. It’s in these moments that I realize that feeling of being in front of a crackling fire is simply a state of mind. Enjoying a perfectly normal evening with warm feelings from the ones you love is really just like being curled up by a fireplace.
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!
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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!