Pretty Holiday Things

Poinsettia And English Robin Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Poinsettia,” I paired one with a little English robin and a pine branch. When I was a kid, my mom would always get a poinsettia plant that she’d pick up at the grocery store and place near the fireplace. This was in our downstairs recreation room that was also the home of our Christmas tree. Though red was certainly a festive color, the pot was always made ever more festive by being wrapped in silver or gold foil. Our tree was artificial, so having a poinsettia pot in the room added a little touch of life. That said, it was often lucky to survive the season, as though the tree might have been green, our thumbs were not. So, indoor plants were actually quite rare and since this particular plant only arrived once a year it made it that much more special. Though yeah, apparently still not special enough to water it appropriately, but so enjoyable while it lasted. And as the lights flickered on the tree, spraying the reflections of shiny ornaments into the room, it marked the beginning of the prettiest time of year in our house.

Though there were some holiday decorations upstairs in my childhood home, nearly all of the decorations ended up in that downstairs room. It was like entering a magic portal of some kind and being teleported to the North Pole. The odd wooden shingles that adorned the walls, seeming strangely out of place the rest of the year, were suddenly the perfect backdrop for a rustic Christmas scene. The fireplace had real wood crackling inside it and there was a piano nearby. Two actually, as my dad was a bit of a collector. In the center of it all, this room had a thin post that was apparently holding up the house. When the holidays arrived, the artificial tree was built around this post disguising it entirely. Lights and tinsel flickered from ever corner of the room and it was simply impossible to do anything but smile upon entering it. One of the least attractive rooms in the house became the magical center of a holiday universe for just about six weeks. It was always so much fun to see it all appear.

Today, Philippe and I live in a two-story row home, and the first floor has the kitchen and an open floor plan. You can see from one end of the house to the other. Though we spend all of our evening on the side with the kitchen, at the other end of the house is a room with a fireplace. This one is gas and comes with a remote. The lights are also on a remote. One press of a button and the entire room lights up, and then we press the button again before heading to sleep. It’s awesome! And though this room can get a bit cluttered during the year, at this time of year, it’s cleaned up a bit and becomes a shimmering masterpiece of holiday goodness. Shiny reindeer come out to play again and our four little candles that spell Noël are flickering on the mantel with more glittering lights. The lights on the tree dance through years of collected ornaments and I stop and spot one I’d almost forgotten we had. The two glass cloches on the table have tiny specs of light that make it look like even summer fireflies couldn’t help but stick around for the party. And each time I sit in my new special room, I feel so much joy. All of the magic I once felt as a kid comes flooding back to me as I’m once again surrounded by my pretty holiday things.

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Poinsettia And English Robin Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended8 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
23 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 12 months ago

    Nice touch with the robin Charlie! I’m afraid I have not decorated the Christmas yet. Maybe this weekend.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕You need to decorate!!! hehe… Philippe always holds me back or we’d have our Christmas decorations up before Halloween. 😊

  2. Mary Roff 12 months ago

    Wonderful painting and post! Your room sounds like a perfect place to relax and enjoy the Season!

  3. Sandra Strait 12 months ago

    Your house sounds awesome! When Santa comes, I’ll bet he chooses your house to sit and take a rest break so he can enjoy the decorations!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Aww… I hope Santa does just that! Though, the chimneys are fake so getting down them could be troublesome. But he has magic, so I’m sure it’s all good!

  4. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 12 months ago

    Beautiful!!! I love how you are adding animals to a lot of these paintings they give it that extra special holiday spark!!!! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… I’ve sketched SO much stuff that I wanted to practice animals more when I could. They’re my favorite!

  5. Gary Middleton 12 months ago

    Lovely painting. That’s a bird I recognise. They’re quite often on Christmas cards here. It’s also the only bird that sings in the winter.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah, I adore these birds! Though you’ll mostly seem a red cardinal here.

  6. Sharon Nolfi 12 months ago

    I can relate to the magic of Christmas decorations. We put up our tree tonight – the lights and decorations make the house look extra special.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Yay! That’s awesome, Sharon! 😃💕 It just turns everything into something magical. So lovely!

  7. Lisa 12 months ago

    It sounds lovely! We don’t decorate hete. It got to be too hard for me to keep up. The thing I miss is a live tree. These days though, I really couldn’t justify killing a tree, so I couldn’t have one of those even if I was to decorate. I do miss the smell of pine in the house. I may get a candle just to festive things up a bit.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 You should definitely get that candle at least. And honestly, these days you can just plug in a string of LED lights and toss them on the floor without the fire hazard from our youth! hehe… instant magic!

  8. weisserwatercolours 12 months ago

    ….so sweet, so Christmasy

  9. memadtwo 12 months ago

    It’s a wonderful feeling that gets us through the darkest days of winter. Almost all the windows on my street now have some kind of lights.
    I love the expression on your robin’s face. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 Yeah, I love the light that comes with winter! But it’s only at the beginning… I think lights should be required to remain until spring arrives! hehe

      • memadtwo 12 months ago

        I definitely kept turning mine on through February last year.

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 12 months ago

    Very pretty painting. Maybe this is all you need to decorate for the holidays – beautiful home made art and the sweet memories of your childhood.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 So true… this is all I’d actually need, but then I get wanting all sorts of things. New ornaments, new shiny objects, each year. But it’s never the things that matter… just the feeling of being with those I love.

  11. smzang 12 months ago

    This article puts a sparkle in my eyes and sugar plums in my mind.
    So full of joy and peace, it makes me glad. The painting enhances
    the scene you painted with your pen (or keyboard). Keep DOoing,
    Charlie. You DO it right!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 12 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕hehe… yeah, my art is always a combo of pen and keyboard writing. (mostly because I can’t read my own handwriting…. hehe). So thrilled you enjoy it!

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