White Sox share holiday favorites, memories

Petricka, Putnam, Johnson and Hostetler answer questions about their experiences

White Sox share holiday favorites, memories

CHICAGO -- It's the most wonderful time of the year, and a group from the White Sox decided to share their good cheer.

Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, Micah Johnson and assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler provided some holiday spirit.

What is your favorite holiday memory?

HOSTETLER: When I was a little kid, my dad and mom gave me maybe four or five sets of Indians tickets. I was probably seven or eight years old and I was a huge baseball fan. We'd go to every single game we could get to. It was a little weird chasing Robin Ventura in 1990 for his autograph and now sitting in a suite with him talking about the team.

PETRICKA: It would probably be back at home. We grew up on a farm (in Faribault, Minn.). We had snow a couple of years ago, and having a bigger yard, we had a lot of snow. We plowed it all up with our tractor and built a slide and an igloo. We were out there for six hours that day and night. It was a lot of fun. It was my dad, wife, sister and mom.

JOHNSON: When I was five years old, maybe four, we always had Christmas with our cousins and grandparents. Santa came in and I was a scaredy cat as a kid, I can't lie. I started screaming. I never sat on Santa's lap in my life. I was so rattled.

What has been your favorite holiday gift?

PETRICKA: It's more about family time and seeing everyone. The best gift is the gift of having the family together. With my baseball travel and schedule, those sorts of get-togethers are not as frequent.

PUTNAM: I can remember the morning that I opened up the Nintendo 64. I would be hard-pressed to give you an exact year, but it's unparalleled to this point and time. That was No. 1 on my list if not the only thing.

JOHNSON: Probably a PS2 in high school. [Those were] the first video games I ever had. That was the best by far.

How have the holidays changed since you got married? Had children?

HOSTETLER: It's funny how the excitement of the holidays changes for you personally. Now you are more excited to give them gifts, and it's disappointing when you don't get the reaction from them you are hoping. You end up liking the gift more than they do. But it's an exciting time, waking up early and running downstairs and seeing their faces.

PETRICKA: I don't know if it's changed too much. Our family has gotten on so well that we enjoy each other's company. We make it work for everyone. Our daughter is three months old, so I don't think she will enjoy Christmas until next year. Even at one year old, I'm not sure if she will understand what's going on.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

PUTNAM: We usually do our stuff and open presents on Christmas Eve. We take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner, check out the lights, open gifts and drink eggnog. Nothing crazy, but it works for us and is a lot of fun.

JOHNSON: We always go to church on Christmas Eve and watch "A Christmas Story." You have to watch it.

Name your three favorite holiday movies.

HOSTETLER: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and my wife has been all over for me to watch "A Christmas Story." I haven't watched it, but as soon as I watch it, it will go to the top three. My wife and kids were in the A Christmas Story 5K, they ran it. When we go to my family for Christmas, we'll probably swing by the "A Christmas Story" house.

PETRICKA: Give me "Home Alone" 1 and 2, then it would be The Santa Clauses. Me and my wife watch those a lot. You have to throw in The Grinch. That's more than three, but we watch a lot of movies around Christmas.

PUTNAM: A definitive No. 1 has to be Christmas Vacation. I don't think "Die Hard" gets enough credit as a Christmas movie. John McClane is the Christmas character that never was. "Elf" is No. 3.

JOHNSON: Christmas Vacation. The Grinch (with Jim Carrey), and you have to go with "A Christmas Story."

How long did you believe in Santa Claus, and when did that end?

PUTNAM: My parents had me on hook probably two or three years too long. We'd go on this walk and when we'd leave for the walk, there would be no presents under the tree, and we would come back and there would be presents.

I couldn't figure it out for the longest time how Santa came down fast enough over the 20 minutes we were gone and dropped presents. Then I started to figure out that mom would have to do an errand, meet up with us and walk home with us. It took me until I was about nine until I realized she put the gifts under the tree. It was a rude awakening, but I've gotten over it.

JOHNSON: Wait, what happened? He's not real? (Laughs). I was later than most. I was optimistic that he was real. Seventh grade, I don't remember. I held out hope for so long.

Does a White Christmas really matter?

PUTNAM: Yeah, I would say so. It's one of the reasons I could never live in a climate without snow. If there's no snow on the ground on the 25th, I'll be an unhappy camper.

JOHNSON: I think it's special. But it doesn't happen. It snows in January, February, March and April. It snows in spring nowadays.

Are you big on holiday decorations?

JOHNSON: We just do a tree. We picked it out each year. Both my sisters are married, so we have a big group decorating the tree.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.