Making windows merry and bright

Posted 12/1/22

One never knows what kind of magic can come out of the back of a well-worn Chevy step-side pickup. For businesses throughout East and South Texas, that magic comes in the Christmas window paintings …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Making windows merry and bright


One never knows what kind of magic can come out of the back of a well-worn Chevy step-side pickup. For businesses throughout East and South Texas, that magic comes in the Christmas window paintings which are created by Tim and Kim Burns. 

The truck is a mobile painter’s workshop, with a customized traveling storage compartment which contains an array of brightly-colored paints (1-Shot Poster Paints being the favored paint) and an assortment of tools and mixing elements. Out of the back of that specific truck comes an amazing piece of Americana – Christmas windows.

The Burnses were hard at work on the storefront of Kindness Kottage this past week. Kindness Kottage has become a regular stop for the Burnses on their annual Christmas season pilgrimage which takes them throughout the state.

Watching the married couple at work is quite a lesson in planning and productivity. There aren’t many wasted steps in the routine which takes them both from the window back and forth to the mixing bay (which is the pickup‘s tailgate).

“We do come with a plan,” Tim admitted, “but there is always a nice spot for an original touch.”As to which of the two possess the creative impulse behind their creations, Kim emphatically pointed her thumb at Tim.

“He is truly a gifted artist,” she admitted. One would not normally connect standard Christmas fare with artistry. That is, until watching Tim free-hand a Merry Christmas message in cursive script and highlight it in two colors.

The Burnses are no strangers to Wood County. Kim’s family is deeply rooted in the county, and the two own acreage and a home between Quitman and Winnsboro.

“We expect to come back soon,” Tim admitted, “but in the meantime we make our home in Tomball where we own a sign business and are involved in a number of art-related activities.”

Turning back to the window, the two explained that this specific window is being done in three parts. The eastern third would be a snow scene with a lamppost, a bench and a pickup carrying a Christmas tree. The middle section serves as the display window for Kindness Kottage and will not be painted except for some seasonal bracketing which connects the eastern and the western sections. To the west is the nativity with the three wise men and the town of Bethlehem in the background.

B.J. Gold, executive director of Kindness Kottage resale and assistance center, was thrilled at having the window done again this year.

“Nine out of every ten customers will comment on it…it’s just wonderful,” she commented. “We were so happy to be able to get the Burnses back again this year.”

The whole northern exterior side of the Kottage, formerly a furniture store, is glass and makes a perfect spot for welcoming the community with a Christmas message.  

With the decline of hand-painted signage as a trade, Tim has been in great demand, so getting him to Mineola again this year was indeed something to celebrate.

“We probably have 300 businesses lined-up each Christmas season,” Tim explained, “It doesn’t matter which direction we turn; we stay busy.”

Kim related how the Christmas season makes their work more than a job.

“It’s the season,” she explained, “people stop and talk, kids watch us, we even had carolers join us once while we painted. It was special.”

She stated that adults will often stop and say that the scene reminds them of something from their childhood. 

An accomplished artist, it was a job as the art director for a radio advertising magazine – Tune-in Publications – which took the Burnses from Mineola to the Houston area in the 1980s. They came to open their own signage shop and are busy with it yet today. 

“And at this time of the year, we get to paint and spread Christmas cheer and blessings…that is a blessing,” he summarized.