Christmas 'the best' for Street and his family

Christmas 'the best' for Street and his family

Huston Street is hard at work. The Angels' veteran relief pitcher is working out daily in his hometown of Austin, Texas, coming back from the knee surgery that ended his season in late July. He says he's healthy and eager to get right back into the swing of things when Spring Training starts in February.

But right now, it's December, better known in the Street household as the best month of the year. Street, his wife, Lacey, and their trio of boys -- 6-year-old Ripken, 4-year-old Rider and 18-month-old Rafe -- are fired up for Christmas and all the joy that comes with it.

Keeping alive a tradition that dates to the early days of MLB.com, Street recently spoke over the phone for a few minutes about how his winter has been going and to share some holiday memories.

MLB.com: How's the winter been at Chez Street?

Street: It's been relaxing. We went to the Trail of Lights, which is a big Austin event. My family's one of the founding families, we helped bring it back to Austin after it was gone for two years. We hosted a Christmas party for some of my son's friends and then walked the trail, which is a 1.2-mile Christmas light walk. We also mix charity with Christmas. We're teaching the boys about what it means to give to the less privileged. So we had a First Tee (golf) event, too. There were about 500 people. We handed out awards to kids who have done well in the First Tee of Greater Austin and are on honor roll, and some kids got scholarships from First Tee. It was great. I like to have my kids understand what it means to give away toys, to help the less fortunate, and they need to see it to understand. And then today my wife and I went Christmas shopping. It's the best. Christmastime to me has become so enjoyable as an adult.

MLB.com: What's a typical Christmas Day like in the Street household?

Street: We usually spend Christmas Eve with my wife's family down in Houston, and that's a big day as well. We come home that night and my wife just loves the scene of that night, with the trees all lit up. And we let the boys open up a good bit of their presents, which is my wife's tradition. On Christmas morning, we see what Santa brought. Each boy has his own chair. Lacey and I get up early-early ... usually 5:30, and we have our coffee. The kids are usually up at sunlight. We let them play at the house until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, then go to my mom's house. Every year my mom says she's going to cut back on Christmas, and every year you pretty much can't walk into the living room. She's really taken to being a grandmother, which is so fun for my boys. And then people from the neighborhood just kind of show up. It's basically an open invitation. Sometimes 30, 40, 50 people kind of show up and stay as long as they want. The boys run around the yard and play football. That's pretty much how it goes.

MLB.com: What was Christmas like around the house when you were a kid?

Street: We had one rule. We all were upstairs, all four boys: myself, and my brothers Jordon, Juston and Hanson. The rule was you couldn't go downstairs until everyone was awake. And we'd drive around and check out all the Christmas lights and do all the cliché things that are the magic of Christmas. I have fond memories of it because my parents put forth such effort. I try to do the same thing.

MLB.com: What's the best gift you've ever given?

Street: Actually my wife and I, our Christmas gift to each other this year was that we went over to London in early December and we did two big charity events. We got invited on a whim by one of the most amazing people I've met, Marcus Mumford of (the rock band) Mumford and Sons, and his wife, (actress) Carey Mulligan. They did a party to benefit (the children's charity) War Child on the Wednesday night we were there. It was really a humbling event to hear the stories and understand the events of this and the children that are affected by wars. And on that Tuesday night in London we did an event for the Great Ormond Street Hospital. We got to meet Ken Costa, the chairman of the event, and sit with him, all of this at the invitation of Carey and Marcus. My wife and I have decided that most of our giving to each other is making donations to these worthwhile causes.

MLB.com: What would be the ultimate gifts for some of your Angels teammates?

Street: I'd probably give Garrett Richards a better wardrobe. I'd give Mike Trout a better diet. I'd probably give everybody else on the team Albert Pujols' toughness. He's probably the toughest guy I've ever met.

MLB.com: OK, speed round. Favorite Christmas song?

Street: Carol of the Bells.

MLB.com: Favorite Christmas movie?

Street: Home Alone 1 and 2. I love watching those with my kids.

MLB.com: Last one. Favorite Christmas food?

Street: Honestly, it's not food, but I've gotta go with hot chocolate -- on my back porch, with S'mores. That's a big part of the quintessential Street family Christmas.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.