Gavin’s First Christmas

Gavin in his Santa hat | rainerlife.com

We had a great first Christmas with Gavin. He’s too young to know what is going on, but he was happy to play along for us.

We went to Mass on Christmas Eve. Gavin did okay, but he got a little fussy. His Honey (grandmother) took him out a couple of times to walk with him and calm him down. Since it was Christmas Eve, the Chapel was packed and we didn’t want his fussiness to disturb other parishioners.

We had Christmas morning in our new home. We didn’t get an early start since Gavin is too young to be excited about presents. Gavin’s Honey and Pappaw (grandmother and grandfather) came over to celebrate with us. We all had fun opening presents and enjoyed our Christmas morning tradition of sausage balls and mimosas.

Gavin opening Christmas presents| rainerlife.com

Gavin helped open his presents and played with them. His main gift was an activity jumper. He got it the week before Christmas though. We figure he didn’t know the difference, so why wait. We also got him a few other toys and some books. He got lots of clothes and more toys from his grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Gavin in his activity jumper | rainerlife.com

It was a nice, relaxing Christmas of firsts – Gavin’s first Christmas and our first Christmas in our new home.

Christmas morning| rainerlife.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lake Palestine | rainerlife.com

I’m thankful for so much. Last year I listed ten things I was thankful for at Thanksgiving. I’m still thankful for those things, and this year I’m listing ten things that come to mind that I’m thankful for.

1. A healthy, happy baby. Gavin has brought so much joy to our lives.
2. Family and friends
3. Our great dog, Belle
4. New experiences
5. Our new home
6. Rainy days
7. Southern cooking
8. Safety and security
9. Good health
10. Coffee

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. This year, we decided to really decorate our home. Last year was our first Christmas as a married couple and we had two trees up (we each owned an artificial tree before getting married). After Christmas last year, we decided to look for the tallest tree we could find to put in our entrance hall. We found a pre-lit 12-foot tree on sale. This year we put it up and decorated it in all red and white.

The taller of the other two trees (6.5 ft) was put up beside the fireplace. This tree is decorated with ornaments acquired over the years. Each year of my life, my Mama has bought me a Christmas ornament, so those account for a lot of what is on the tree. 🙂 Over the fireplace, our stockings are hung – one for each of us: Michael, Belle, and me.

The third tree is 6-foot tall, and we decorated it in blue and silver. This tree is by the window in our game room upstairs. I liked the idea of having a tree by a window so we could open up the curtains and it would look nice from outside. The only room this would work in is the game room, so that’s where it is.


I have a collection of LSU Santas that I put on display each Christmas. This year, I put them on top of the bookcases in the study. I think it looks great, but Michael’s not a fan. 🙂

We did not put lights on the outside of the house, so to look festive, I put two pre-lit Christmas topiaries by the front door and a Merry Christmas sign in the flower bed. Also, each of the windows on the front of the house have two flickering candle lights in them.

I enjoyed decorating this year, and it’s been great having such a Christmasy feeling in our home.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Trees: A History

Evergreen trees have held special meaning for many cultures. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Druids all had cultures that placed significance on evergreens. At winter solstice, Egyptians would place green palms in their homes to symbolize the triumph of life over death in honor of their sun god, Ra. Romans decorated their homes with evergreens to celebrate their winter festival to honor Saturnus, god of agriculture. Druids, Celtic priests in Gaul, Britain, and Ireland, also decorated with evergreens during winter solstice to symbolize eternal life.

The tradition of the Christmas tree as we know it today has origins in Germany. During the Middle ages, Germans held Paradise plays about the story of Adam and Eve. Trees decorated with apples, known as Paradise trees, were the only prop. Also in Germany, wooden pyramids were set up and decorated with candles to represent Christ, light of the world. During the 16th century, devout Christians started to bring decorated trees into their homes. The idea of lighted candles on the tree is attributed to Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk, priest, and Protestant reformer. One evening while walking he noticed the way the stars shined through the branches of trees, so he went home and decorated a tree using candles to recreate the scene for his family. While this story is entertaining, it seems to be pure legend, and most likely the combination of Paradise trees and the Christmas pyramids led to what we call Christmas trees.

The Christmas tree tradition was introduced to North America by Moravian German immigrants in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, during the winter of 1747. Decorations on these trees consisted of candles, tinsel, beads, and silver wire ornaments. Christmas trees were considered pagan symbols by most Americans and were not widely accepted until the 1840s. This was somewhat attributed to an illustration in 1846 of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children standing around a Christmas tree. Queen Victoria was very popular, thus it became fashionable in Britain and across the pond with the American East Coast society folks, to have a Christmas tree.

By the mid-1800s, Christmas trees were becoming quite popular. The first retail Christmas tree lot was in 1852 on the streets of New York City. The first Christmas tree in the White House was while Franklin Pierce was in office. By the late 1800s, glass ornaments had made their way to the United States, once again introduced from Germany. Metal hooks for hanging ornaments were introduced in 1892. Electric Christmas lights were invented in 1895, and were popular because they reduced the risk of fire that was caused by candles people were using in their trees.

During the early 20th-century, artificial trees were introduced to help reduce the number of trees that were cut each year. Currently, popular types of Christmas trees are Balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, Noble fir, Eastern white pine, Scotch pine, Virginia pine, Eastern red cedar, Colorado Blue spruce, and white spruce. Decorations of lights, tinsel, ornaments, beads, and more adorned our Christmas trees today.

Merry Christmas!