For our prompt of “Mouse” today, I decided to sketch a little mouse crawling through a Christmas tree. I’m not sure this would be quite so cute were it to happen in reality, but this is the season to imagine only the joy in things. Philippe and I went to lunch and then to an area of town that has lots of little antique stores all in one place. It was like going back in time and there was a very eclectic mix of various objects. In one store, they had decorated an old fireplace mantel with little wooden ABC blocks spelling out “Merry Christmas.” Despite all of the wonderful things on display, I kind of just wanted those blocks. I’ve no idea if they were even for sale, but decided not to ask and leave the display intact for others to enjoy as well. There’s already something nostalgic about the season, but seeing things I had as a child makes my heart skip a few beats. We continued to wind our way through the tiny little shops, looking at all of the various treasures on display. There wasn’t anything we were hoping to find, but instead, wondrous and unique things that we never expected to see. And though we didn’t leave with any of the treasures, we left with a renewed spring in our step and a feeling of happiness.

At lunch, Philippe and I were chatting about how neither of us really wanted anything particularly spectacular this year for Christmas. We’d each already gotten those things on previous holidays so this year there’s no “big gift” for the finale on Christmas Eve. But, that’s just fine as our evening of gifts is more about the unveiling and surprise than what’s inside. It’s just really fun to exchange gifts! And yeah, we spend the entire eve of Christmas giving each other gifts. It seems perfectly over-the-top as there are about ten gifts each in total, one every half hour throughout the night. The trick is, we don’t spend that much money, so it’s more about being clever and coming up with something that makes the other person smile. Something small and something simply ridiculous that’s fun and memorable. Philippe only had a couple things on his wish list this year, so I’ve had to be extra clever in coming up with ideas of what to get him.

When I was a little kid, wrapped gifts would already be appearing under the tree by this point. This was because Santa only got credit for what was in the stocking and the one gift that magically appeared overnight. We didn’t have much money, so my parents weren’t about to let someone else get all of the credit for the amazing things they managed to make happen. And, it was so much fun to stare at those gifts and try to guess what might be waiting for me inside. For Philippe, growing up in Paris, Santa was the only one bringing gifts, and they all arrived late in the evening on Christmas Eve. I asked him about the fact that he didn’t have a chimney in his family’s apartment and he just smiled at me slyly and said, “Santa always finds a way.” And that’s what I love most about the holiday season. It’s not about the presents under the tree, but the magic of still believing in the best bits of life and finding ways to make others happy. In the end, the biggest and grandest gifts that we can ever hope to receive come in the most unexpected ways, through those tiny moments of joy.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Mouse Christmas Tree Ornaments Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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28 thoughts on “Tiny Moments Of Joy

  1. When I was 5, I asked my father if Santa Claus was real. He very much believed in honesty and told me no – that everyone was Santa Claus when they gave a gift. Over the years, many people have thought it was horrible that my belief was dispelled so early but I’ve always been glad. I liked being able to say ‘thank you’ to the right people for the gifts I received and for being Santa myself every time I gave a gift.

  2. When I lived up in northern Wisconsin there was a small tourist town nearby where I used to go to shop before Xmas. It was such a lovely way to get into the holiday spirit. If course living way up north it was guaranteed to be very cold, and probably snow covered which added to the fun. I was made of much sterner stuff then. Now I just want spring to hurry up and get here.

    1. Aww that sounds like a lovely place to visit indeed, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah… I’m all about winter for just a few days as it only officially starts a few days before Christmas. By the time the New Year hits though… I’m over it! hehe

  3. I love the simple little pleasures during the holidays. I love to hear about other people’s traditions. When my son was younger, we went to DT Portland to see Santa. It was magical for both of us. Now, I wouldn’t even consider taking him down there. So we have made another tradition of going to antique stores too! As far as not having a chimney for Santa. I never considered that a problem when I was young. When my son was born, I found a “magical” key at Nordstrom that we laid out for Santa. Funny thing is, we laid it on the table by the front door and not outside. Hahaha. Santa leaves it on the pile of presents he leaves for my son…..even to this day! ;P As for your little mouse friend, he looks like the little guy in that very old Jimmy Durante movie about a mouse named Rufus. Chatty Cathy today, sorry…..not!

    1. Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 hehe! That’s too funny on the Santa key! But proof the magic of the season is in the bigger concepts and never the small little details. Love your tradition! And no need to apologize… I love when my stories inspire yours! It’s so much fun to swap stories!

  4. Your art and stories are always so fabulous, Charlie! Thanks again for sharing both and for this wonderful community!

    I can tell you right now.. I don’t want to find a mouse “for realsies” in my Christmas tree. I squeal in fear even though I know that it’s irrational to react like that. I did however find a baby opossum in my kitchen one morning, around 4:00 a.m. We have NO IDEA how it got in. I ran to the bedroom to get Jim and of course it was gone when we made it back to the kitchen.

    1. Thanks so much, Darlene! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you enjoy my art and stories! And haha! I’m the same… we had mice in our house and laid out traps, but if one was ever successful in trapping one, I made Philippe deal with it.

  5. It has been a really long day, and I decided to just go to bed, but then I thought…
    maybe just one DOodlewash and I ‘m so glad I did because

    Charlie said, “It’s not about the presents under the tree, but the magic of still believing in the best bits of life and finding ways to make others happy. In the end, the biggest and grandest gifts that we can ever hope to receive come in the most unexpected ways, through those tiny moments of joy.”

    And now my head is filled with memories of happy moments, long past but never over. Thank you!!

    to you and to that Christmas mouse. I love it!

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