Helping to continue a tradition that dates to the early days of MLB.com, Sabathia took a few minutes last week to chat about his offseason and to share some holiday memories.
MLB.com: What's the holiday season like in the Sabathia home?
Sabathia: Oh, it's fun. Looking for Elf on the Shelf, it's just always a good time. I think my kids get excited, having four kids in the house. Amber and I love it. My mom's in town. It's one of my favorite holidays. It's a lot of fun.
MLB.com: What are some of your favorite memories of Christmas, growing up in California?
Sabathia: Family. Big Christmas, 35 to 45 people at my grandmother's house, eating, riding the bike that I'd get. My parents didn't have a lot, but I was always the only child, so I was spoiled. I love Christmas.
MLB.com: As a California kid, hearing those songs, did you ever wonder what it'd be like to actually see some snow?
Sabathia: Yeah, and being able to come here, this is the most Christmas-ey place in the world. There's nowhere you would want to be besides New York at Christmastime. I think the first two years we lived here, I went home for Christmas, and then I was like, "Why are we leaving? We're leaving Christmas." So we started staying here.
MLB.com: You mentioned the Elf on the Shelf. Any other traditions?
Sabathia: Amber made this tree where you count down all the days. The kids, from December 1st, they pick it off and it goes down to the 25th. Our house is super-decorated. There's stuff everywhere -- trees, lights, wreaths.
MLB.com: If you think back to when you were a kid, what was the best gift you ever found under the tree?
Sabathia: I got a Bo Jackson Raiders jersey one year, and I wore it probably for the next week and a half. I think that was the thing that I remember the most, sports gifts. I remember getting a Franklin tee with the rubber ball that comes back; that was one of my favorites, too, so I could just hit by myself.
MLB.com: What about the best gift you've given?
Sabathia: I gave Amber our engagement ring on Christmas; actually, Christmas Eve. I got it on Christmas Eve and it was burning a hole in my pocket. I had this big thing set up, my dad was going to videotape it and it was going to be documented, but I just got nervous and clammed up. I gave it to her right at the last minute. I think that was probably the best gift.
MLB.com: Favorite Christmas movie?
Sabathia: "Home Alone." I think I went to the theaters to see it. I was young. That's probably my favorite, but I have to tell you that I watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" when it comes on TV. I watch that every year. My kids hate it, and I'm like, "I can't believe you don't like this!" I have to watch that.
MLB.com: If you were going to give a gift to a teammate, who would it be and what would he get?
Sabathia: I guess it'd be for [Brett Gardner and [Brian McCann], I'd get them wigs for their heads (Sabathia laughs). Or [Dellin Betances], a pair of shoes, because he's a sneakerhead.
MLB.com: What's at the top of your list this year?
Sabathia: Just being with the family, enjoying them. It's not about gifts to me anymore. It's about giving. It's just fun to be with them. We go on a trip, we have a lot of people around, so it just reminds me of being a kid.