Papelbon thankful this holiday season

Papelbon reflects on big year at holidays

This holiday season will be unlike any other for Jonathan Papelbon. The Red Sox right-hander, who turned 25 on Nov. 23, is spending his first winter since making a huge impression and his Major League debut this past season in Boston.

He is also spending his first Christmas as a married man, tying the knot with his lovely bride Ashley on Nov. 12. The Sox sensation took some time out of his busy schedule to explain how life has changed while sharing his feelings on the holidays with What are your best memories of Christmas growing up?

Papelbon: Definitely spending time with my family. We did a lot of things outdoors and it was always a chance for people in the family to exchange stories. What is your favorite thing about Christmas now?

Papelbon: I actually like to go hunting because that's when the season is open in Florida. I still like spending time with family now because it's the time of year to appreciate everyone who is close to you. And this year, it means a little more because of so much that has gone on in my life. It's really special to be able to sit back at Christmas time and share that with family. What is the best present you received when you were a kid?

Papelbon: One of the best presents I ever got was a bike, a blue [road] bike. I would take it out and be pretty rough with it, but it was a blast. I'd go all different places with it. Now that you're married, how will your Christmas change?

Papelbon: Well, we'll definitely be splitting time between my family and hers. It'll be nice, too, because there are a lot of people I don't get a chance to see and this will be the time to do it before I get ready for Spring Training. How is this Christmas more special?

Papelbon: I got married Nov. 12, had a very nice honeymoon, went to Disney World and had plenty of time to relax. Now, when you do things around the holidays, you have someone to share them with. And having made my Major League debut, this time of year really makes me reflect on all the great things that have happened to me and all the blessings I've had. How is your holiday shopping going?

Papelbon: Actually, I'm in pretty good shape. Ashley has been really good helping me with shopping and we've pretty much taken care of everyone on both sides of the family. Do you have any special events planned for the holidays?

Papelbon: Just relaxing and watching a lot of football. Being down here in Jacksonville, I went to the Jaguars-Colts game and had a great time in the [All-Tel Stadium] Sky Box. I'll watch a lot of the [college] bowl games and just relax. Do you make New Year's resolutions?

Papelbon: I'm not really into those. I just do my thing and try to get ready for the season.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.