HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - The lights, the trees, the egg nog... Christmas is about tradition. But in the Burns' home in Hammond, traditional may have a new meaning.
Sure, the halls are decked with Christmas cheer. But there's no tree. The Burns' 4-month-old puppy had different ideas. The stockings are hung on the chimney, and Christmas music pours from every room. They're just not the carols you're used to.
The "tradition" began two Thanksgivings ago as Joe Burns and his wife, Tammy, sat down to write Christmas cards. "As a joke," Joe explained, "we started throwing out lyrics, and came up, out of pure dumb luck, with a Christmas song."
During his days as radio program manager, the Southeastern Louisiana University Communications professor says he had trouble programming Christmas music because there just were not that many different songs. "I can't remember the last time, except for Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," Joe said, "that I heard a decent novelty Christmas song."
So off he and Tammy went to his upstairs studio to record their new hit. "Everybody needs a good laugh," said Tammy, "especially today, with everything that is going on in the world. You just need to sit down and laugh."
The couple and their two children have been laughing and writing for the past two years. This year, they have a whole album of Christmas jollies. "I love to shake things up," Tammy said. "I want people to start bopping their heads and singing Brown's Dairy." The song is an homage to the Louisiana dairy and its eggnog.
Joe plays most of the instruments on the album. The couple's 13-year-old son, Max, adds his trombone to several tracks. And daughter, Ila, and Tammy add vocals. And it's still recorded and produced in the family's upstairs studio.
The album features ten original songs... not a Silent Night among them.
The songs are not the only thing that breaks with tradition. "We would never sell the music," Joe said. "I want to people to listen to it far more than I want to profit from it."
The songs are free to stream and download on Spotify, and from the family's website burnschristmas.com.