MLB.com: What does the spirit of the holiday season mean to you?
Betances: For me, it's just any opportunity you get to give back to the community. I think that's special. I remember, as a little kid, I always looked forward to Christmas and opening some of those gifts. Now, I have to give a lot of the gifts out. It's always good to put smiles on these kids' faces.
MLB.com: What was Christmas like in your home growing up?
Betances: We always got together; our family always [got] together for Christmas Eve and we would wait until midnight to open the gifts up. The last couple of years, it has changed a little bit -- where we will just do it on Christmas Day. Usually, we do it on Christmas Eve at midnight.
MLB.com: You grew up in New York City. How would you describe what a Christmas in the city is like?
Betances: I've gone to see the big tree at Rockefeller Center before, obviously, they always put it up early. We've gone to see that. For me, it's just a joyful time [full of] happiness. You get together with family -- and for me, it's all about the kids being able to receive some of the gifts and just see the reaction they get when they open [them].
MLB.com: What kinds of things do you remember putting on your list as a kid?
Betances: I was always a big video-game guy. Anytime I got any video game -- or anything for that matter -- I was always excited for that. I'm a big sports guy, so I'd love to get "MLB: The Show;" before that, it was "MVP Baseball." I remember asking for "Mortal Kombat" and "Street Fighter" when I was younger. Those games would excite me. ... I always liked opening a box of shoes. I remember my father used to get me Air Jordans or Vince Carters. Things like that were always exciting to open up.
MLB.com: How about a meaningful gift that you gave? Is there one that sticks out in your mind?
Betances: Well, last year I got engaged on Christmas (to Janisa; they were married on Nov. 29). That's a pretty good gift. That's one that I would remember. It was just about getting the family together for her and doing it in front of everybody. I thought it was a good idea to do it in front of her family, and she loved it.
MLB.com: What's on your TV around the holidays? Is there a favorite movie or special that you always watch?
Betances: "Home Alone II," the one that is in Central Park. It'll be on TV, and I'll always watch it. I just like all the parts where [Kevin McCallister is] playing tricks with the guys and stuff. The part at the end with all the pigeons and he's running around with the two bad guys; that's my favorite part.
MLB.com: How has your view of the holidays changed from when you were a kid?
Betances: For me, it's just about coming here to some of these communities and giving out gifts myself. When I was younger, I always was on the receiving end and loved opening gifts. But now, I'm the one that's giving back. I love this. I love putting smiles on some of these kids' faces.
MLB.com: Now that 2014 is almost complete, have you taken a step back to appreciate this year on a personal level?
Betances: Definitely, I think it opened up opportunities. I think that having the year I've had, I've gotten to do more stuff -- and at the end of the day, that's the best part of it. I'm living every kid's dream. Growing up a Yankees fan and playing for them, they're the best team and the best franchise for me. I'm definitely excited to be wearing pinstripes.
MLB.com: Pitchers and catchers will be here before you know it. What do you hope that Santa leaves under the tree for the Yankees next year?
Betances: For us, it's about being healthy. I think if we get all the guys that were hurt last year, I think we'll be all right. I believe in our team. It's getting back to the playoffs, but it's always winning the World Series. I want to know what it feels like to win a World Series.