It’s Christmas Eve and I’m getting super excited for the lovely evening ahead. We open all of our gifts tonight, save the stockings, which are filled by Santa in the morning, of course. A fun tradition when I was a kid, though, involved leaving cookies and milk out for Santa Claus on this night. It was a small and rather presumptive gesture to thank him for the presents you fully expected to be delivered by the following morning. Versions of this tradition exist all over the world and many include adult beverages, which really makes more sense if you think about it. In Ireland, for example, Santa is more likely to find a pint of Guinness, which seems a much better reward for a grown man slaving through the night delivering toys. I’ve mentioned before that my father had suggested instead that Santa might enjoy some popcorn and a Coors Light, which made me immediately suspicious. No, I thought, he’d much prefer cookies and milk just like me.
I no longer leave cookies and milk out for Santa as my traditions have changed a bit as I’ve grown older. It’s not that I’m no longer appreciative of all that he does, it’s just that I’ve left those gestures to little ones a fraction of my age. It just seems more charming coming from them, and a bit weird from a middle-aged man. But every moment of this season still has the electric charm that it did for me back then. Right now, I’m staring at a stack of presents sitting under the tree and I’m dying to know what’s inside them! Truthfully, I just love the thrill of surprise more than anything. So often throughout the year, life is a journey through various routines that hold little to cause much in the way of astonishment. But tonight is different. I’ve no idea what’s coming next! And that’s the most amazing feeling in the world!
Looking back, my wondrous enthusiasm for this joyous time of year most certainly began because of Santa. The idea that one man and some reindeer could deliver gifts all across the world in a single night is a magical thing indeed. Imagining what his life must be like and just how amazing it would be to fly through the air created an impression that has never left me. So, although this middle-aged man has changed his traditions a bit, he’s no less appreciative of those happy years so long ago. And no less excited for this most magical time of year. I hope all of you who celebrate are having a wonderful evening of your own, surrounded by those you love. My inner child is thrilled to come out and play tonight. And even though there won’t be cookies and milk, one thing is sure to happen. He’ll still take that little private moment, looking dreamily up into the night sky, while quietly and sincerely, thanking Santa Claus.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris 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!