12/20/2013 10:45 A.M. ET
Reds dish on Christmas lists, holiday plans
MLB.com correspondent Meggie Zahneis caught up with players at Redsfest
By Meggie Zahneis / MLB.com
What do you get a Major League Baseball player for Christmas?
The Cincinnati Reds answered that question recently at Redsfest, and their answers ranged from the practical to the fantastical.
The more mundane answers? An ironing board (on Todd Frazier's wish list), a new ladder and fireplace cover for Devin Mesoraco, hair gel (David Holmberg) and the ever-reliable gift card (Mike Leake).
Listen up, Santa: Zack Cozart wants a massage chair.
"I'm getting old now and getting all of these aches and pains!" Cozart said laughing.
And when it comes to holiday plans, the Reds are doing it big.
"I'm going over to my brother Jeff's. We're going to have about 35 people over there and it's going to be a lot of fun," Frazier said.
Many players are returning home for the holidays.
"We live in Nashville, [Tenn.], so we travel down there and hang out there for a week or so," Cozart said. "For New Year's, we kind of play it by ear. Nashville isn't New York, but they do have a pretty big countdown, too, which is pretty cool."
"Since I am away from my family so much during the season, I don't leave my house too much when I am home," new Red Skip Schumaker said. "We need some type of stability, so we have Christmas at our house, have the family over to our house. We don't travel. Maybe we will go to the mountains -- they are about an hour away -- and see some snow and snow sled. We just want to be together as a family."
On the subject of holiday traditions, Ryan Ludwick explained, "I'd say the biggest one that we are doing is Elf on a Shelf. [My son] Stetson has his little Elf on the Shelf and [the elf] shows up in a different spot every day, and watches him for Santa."
"We got to decorate my house this year, which was awesome," J.J. Hoover said. "I [plan on] just spending it with family. That's what the season is all about."
"On New Year's Eve at my grandparents' house -- they're Italian -- we have a big fish fry," Mesoraco said. "We eat a lot of fish and seafood and crab legs. And with my other grandparents, we go to Midnight Mass and then run back to their house because they live close and try to open presents real fast, [which was] especially fun when we were younger."
It's evident the Reds don't take their holidays for granted.
"We don't make it a huge deal of opening a ton of presents," Schumaker said. "We like to go to different places and help out. I think that is important for my kids to see. It's not about getting a lot of presents, but going to different houses and helping families. We adopt a family through our church, and I think that is more important than opening a ton of gifts.
"Once you have kids, you just hope that they have a good year in school, [stay] healthy, whatever it is. My focus is on my kids now. So Santa ... I'd take a World Series ring with the Reds. I'll take one of those."
Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for MLB.com in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.