by Brenden Nickels, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company
As we approach the holiday season, we often take time to perform what makes this time special for us, whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia’s Day, the Winter Solstice, or any other holiday. The people at Kraus-Anderson are no exception. We are a very diverse workplace, and we all have our own traditions, whether personal, or family, or just because.
A Labor of Love in the Kitchen
Sometimes that tradition can be a certain food, such as potica for Project Coordinator Dawn McKenzie:
“Potica has been a family tradition since my mother’s relatives immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia. It has been a Antonutti tradition every holiday for my grandmother, mother and aunts to participate in the laborsome ritual to prepare this specialty bread.
The spelling and pronunciation (paw-tee-tzah) “Potica” is a pastry consisting of a sweet yeast dough that is rolled out very thin, spread with an egg wash, ground pecans or walnuts, cinnamon, sugar and honey. It is rolled up into a log shape, straight or in a horseshoe. The sweet bread originated from Slovenia. It is buttered and served with a slice of meat, most often with ham or turkey, and is served at every holiday meal.”
Glitter and Giving Thanks
“This is super corny but we have been doing this since 2002 when my stepson was 4. He turns 20 in April. We buy our stockings and truckloads of glitter glue!
One night, we convert my husband’s shop to Santa’s workshop and we decorate our stockings. We draw out what we are truly blessed and thankful for each year. We have even included the dog in this tradition!
I have boxes of stockings for all of us and on my children’s wedding day, I plan to give the stockings back to them in some sort of blanket form.”
What also makes this time special for us is that we also have traditions with the community too. KA participates in the Toys for Tots program, where people can buy toys and donate them to the cause, who then gives the toys to needy children around the area, as well to children who may have a parent serving overseas. The goal of the Toys for Tots program is: “to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”
Volunteers from the KA Has Heart program go over to the warehouse to sort out the toys that are donated.
In addition, KA also donates food to Second Harvest Heartland, a local food bank that helps end hunger by distributing donated food to food shelves, homeless shelters, summer school programs, or any other partner that feeds the needy. Second Harvest Heartland describes itself as: “one of the nation’s largest, most efficient and most innovative hunger relief organization. We have created a sustainable support system that provides access to food. Helping hungry neighbors find their next meal—so they can thrive at work, in the classroom and in their communities—is what drives Second Harvest Heartland, its partners and supporters.”
All in all, whether if it’s decorating stockings, making potica, or helping out the needy, our employees celebrate this season in their own way, which makes it more special to them, and more special in general.
Brenden Nickels is a blogger and Office Assistant in the Minneapolis office.