Here at Burns we have been pondering the holiday season, reminiscing about our own holiday traditions. But what is a tradition? The definition states it is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. American history tends to lean on holiday traditions from all over the world, in turn, becoming a melting pot where all nations and traditions blend together. We have carols from England and Australia and trees from Germany. Santa Claus, or St. Nick in a red suit originated in Scandinavia and his arrival through the chimney to fill stockings is reminiscent of the Netherlands. His sleigh drawn by reindeer began in Switzerland, and our parades may be a carry-over from Latin processions. We also send Christmas cards, a tradition adopted from England, to express sentiments of the season. Of course the traditional feasting is typical of all nations. We, in turn, have fattened up the jolly old man in the red suit and blended all the traditions until he comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve, leaves gifts and stockings filled with treats then departs in a sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer. Our Burns family has thought long and hard about the holiday traditions that bring us cheer and we’d like to share a few.
Our product expert, Wendy Winn celebrates the holiday by starting the day off with breakfast pizza (recipe below). Once bellies are full, everyone gathers around the Christmas tree to open gifts. While opening gifts, each family member asks every other member of the family a question and in turn each answers. These questions are personal, questions about events that have happened throughout the year. This is a cherished tradition of reflection. Once the gifts are opened, Wendy’s family spends the afternoon roping together.
Andi, or as she is known in the Burns family, Rodeo Andi kicks off the holiday season with the whole family, including grandkids. On Thanksgiving everyone gets a Christmas bulb to paint for her tree. She makes sure everyone signs and dates their ornament each year. Now Andi has hand painted masterpieces adorning her tree and when everyone visits, they love finding their own Christmas bulbs.
Ingrid, our Swedish “parkite”, starts celebrating the season early, on 1st of Advent, when her special four-armed parallel candlestick comes out, and is placed on the mantelpiece. One candle is lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas and when they are all burning on the 4th of Advent, she knows Christmas is around the corner. Then on December 13th, the festivities of Santa Lucia are celebrated. Originally an Italian saint of light, Lucia was incorporated into Swedish traditions as a bearer of light in the darkest time of the year and in Ingrid’s own words she says, “Trust me, it is dark!” For Santa Lucia, a girl is chosen to be the Lucia, and generally has several girls as her cohorts following her in procession. They are all clad in long white gowns, with red sashes around their waists. The Lucia wears a wreath on her head with lit candles and her attendants carry single burning candles in their hands. Before dawn they gather and walk in procession in almost every church, home, office and hospital, singing traditional hymns and Christmas songs to the enjoyment of everyone. This is something that Ingrid misses from her homeland. When Christmas finally arrives, it does so early, as in Sweden she celebrates Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. She gathers with family in the afternoon, sipping on “glogg”, a hot, spiced red wine with almonds and raisins that is only served during the Christmas season, then opens presents, often placed underneath the Christmas tree and sometimes delivered personally by Santa Claus, and finally sits down for the big Christmas dinner, the “julbord” – a sumptuous buffet-styled “smorgasbord”.
Our Burns marketing guru, Alexis looks forward to skiing with her parents and brother on Christmas Eve Day. Skiing has always been a family activity and for them it is the perfect way to spend time together during the holidays!
Braydan and Misty, president of the company and his wife, give each of their five daughters a Christmas book with handwritten messages from each of them inside. On Christmas Eve the girls open their books then the whole family snuggles up on the couch to read them aloud. One day when their daughters leave home and begin their own journeys, they will each have a special collection of Christmas books with cherished love notes from mom and dad to take with them.
Every year Keasha, our blond, college bound weekend warrior, gathers with her immediate and extended family, a little over 50 of them, and fill individual paper lunch bags with sand and candles. They prep these a week in advance then on Christmas Eve spend a few hours in her hometown cemetery placing the paper bags on each headstone to honor and cherish each person resting there, leaving a light for every person in the cemetery. Keasha’s hometown is extremely small with a population of less than 400 people; most of those that lie in the cemetery are loved ones of her family or families that still reside there. Once it’s dark the site is truly amazing, bringing peace from the many glowing lights. Families then drive through the cemetery with the car lights off to soak in the magnitude of the moment. Keasha says, “It’s a good way to spend time with the ones you love, remembering the ones you’ve lost, and remembering what is most important during the holiday season.”
One thing is for certain, no matter how you celebrate the season or what traditions you and your families enjoy, the feeling of peace, love, hope, and joy bring light to families all around the world. Be the light this holiday and keep those precious family traditions alive.
Wendy’s Breakfast Pizza
3 Cans Pillsbury Croissants
1 Bag Hash Browns (medium sized bag)
7 Eggs Scrambled
2 lbs. Ground Sausage
Preheat Oven to 350°
On a cookie sheet, using the croissant dough, make the crust for the pizza by laying down the dough and pressing/rolling it together. Scatter frozen hash browns, cheese, cooked eggs, and cooked sausage on top of dough. Cut some ham and throw on top. Cook until crust is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Top with good ‘ol cowboy ketchup.