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Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2019 Christmas Survey

Kevin Gowdy, image- Jay Floyd
Season's greetings to all!  Around here, we surely adore the holidays and, of course, baseball players are no exception. Every year at Christmas time, I survey a group of Phillies prospects about what they get excited for during the holiday season.

Players taking part in this year's TENTH annual Christmas favorites survey are pitchers Albertus Barber, Tyler Carr, Keylan Killgore, Kevin Gowdy, Connor Hinchliffe and Jonathan Hennigan.  Additionally, outfielder Matt Vierling took time to share his thoughts as well.

Inquiries and responses regarding each player's holly jolly favorites lie ahead...

-What is your favorite Christmas song?

Barber- It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas. Big fan of the song.
Hinchliffe- ​All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey.
Gowdy- My favorite Christmas song is Mele Kalikimaka by Jimmy Buffett. My parents have always been huge Jimmy Buffett fans, so it was always on during the holidays when I was growing up. Also I love it because it’s a tropical Hawaiian Christmas song, and being from Santa Barbara we’ve never had a white Christmas or anything like that. It’s always been sunny and nice out during Christmas time.
Killgore- My favorite Christmas song is kind of unusual, because to be honest I'm not a huge fa of Christmas music. My favorite Christmas song is "The Christmas Shoes" by Newsong.
Vierling- My favorite Christmas song is All I Want For Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.
Hennigan- The Christmas Shoes. What’s better than a song about helping the needy and talking about Jesus?
Carr- I might be the wrong guy to ask this question. I don't really listen to Christmas music.

-What is your favorite holiday movie or TV special?

Barber- Favorite movie to me seems like a given. Elf to me is an absolute masterpiece. Will Ferrell has a special place in my heart.
Hinchliffe- National Lampoons Christmas Vacation because it’s hard to beat Clark Griswold and crazy Uncle Eddie.
Gowdy- My favorite Christmas movies are Home Alone and Elf. Will Ferrell is the man!
Killgore- Definitely "Home Alone: Lost in New York". I can watch the Home Alone movies all year around, they never get old.
Vierling- My favorite Christmas movie is Elf with Will Ferrell. He's hilarious, especially in that.
Hennigan- Favorite Christmas movie or TV special would be Home Alone 1 and 2.
Carr- I think Elf takes the cake for sure. Will Ferrell, I think he fits that role perfectly.

-What's your favorite thing to eat at Christmas time and who makes it?

Barber- Favorite food item would have to be the special Christmas sugar cookies we leave out for “Santa” that are really just an excuse for your dad to get some extra calories in that day. Mother and me used to make them.
Hinchliffe- I don’t think I can point out a single Christmas food but I love everything my mother makes during the holidays… and no I wasn’t forced to say that!
Gowdy- My favorite thing to eat during the holidays is the cinnamon rolls that my mom makes every year. She makes a good amount of them for Christmas morning, but they never seem to last through the day.
Killgore- It is kind of a tradition in my house that we have Breakfast Casserole on Christmas morning and usually my parents make it. It's just a bunch of cheese and sausage and eggs. It's incredible and I need to learn how to make it.
Vierling- My family always gets a Christmas ham, so that's up there as my favorite I would say since we do that every year.
Hennigan- Papa Dale's ham. That baby would melt in your mouth.
Carr- There's some good stuff. My mom makes a lot of sweets. I'm gonna have to go with her cookies. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip, all of the above. And my dad making the meal...ham and turkey. Whatever we have, it's all really good. That's what I look forward to,

-What is your most memorable gift from childhood?

Barber- Most memorable childhood gift I got was definitely my Nintendo 64. I’ll never forget how amazed I was when I laid eyes on that thing, man. I’m a big nerd about video games, and that was where it all started.
Hinchliff- A memorable Christmas gift from my childhood that sticks out was my brother and I getting custom baseball gloves when we were in little league.
Gowdy- One of my favorite Christmas gifts I’ve gotten has to be when my parents surprised my sister and I with bikes in the garage. I was a lot younger and must’ve been eight or nine, but I absolutely loved it and rode it all the time.
Killgore- I will always remember when my brother, sister and I got a trampoline for Christmas. I can't remember how old I was, but I remember finding a note on the fireplace saying that a gift was left outside. We spent the rest of that Christmas begging to put it together, rather than worry about what else we got.
Vierling- We don't have a specific family tradition that we always do, but my family gets together with both sides of our family. It's great to see both sides and catch up with them at the family parties.
Hennigan- I would say bicycles because we thought we were some type of dare devil stunt men as kids.
Carr- This might sound a little country, but my brother and I got matching rifles back in the day when we were younger. We were trying to find out what our parents got us and we looked all around the house in their closet and other places. Come to find out they hit them in our own closet. In our closet they hid both of them in there! This had to have been when I was probably 15 or 16. We do a lot of hunting and fishing down here. So that's probably the best gift.

-Does your family have a Phillies ornament on the Christmas tree?

Hinchliffe- ​Not sure if we did last year but this year (we'll have one) for sure.

-What's your favorite ornament on your Christmas tree?

Barber- My favorite ornament isn’t really specific, but my grandmother, the sweetest lady ever, will always go find an ornament that reminds us of her, or her of us, and give it to us every year to hang on the tree. She’s done this for over 20 years. Amazing.
Gowdy- My favorite ornament on the Christmas tree has got to be this little toy solider with my name on it. For some reason I just loved it when I was younger, so I’ve always made sure to hang it up on the front of the tree haha.
Killgore- My Grandma used to hide a pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it opens the first gift. We haven't done that in a couple years but my brother and I bring it up almost every year.
Hennigan- Probably me and my wife’s first Christmas ornament together.
Carr- To be honest I don't think so. I used to help decorate when I was a kid, but now that's all my mom. I don't think I have anything.

-Do you recall finding out the real deal about Santa Claus and is there a story that goes along with that?

Barber- I found out Santa wasn’t real when I was awake one night at about 9 or 10. Might’ve been younger. Anyways, I was sneaking around trying to see if I could find Santa and catch him. That year my parents had the brilliant idea of not wrapping the presents up until around 1 AM, like they didn’t have weeks before that time, and while doing my recon I heard wrapping paper and my mom yell “HONEY CAN YOU BRING ME THE SCISSORS?” At that point I knew. I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t mad, I just realized that all holiday characters were fake and went on my happy way accepting gifts from them anyways. If your boy needed to act like Santa was real to get presents from him, then you could call me Leonardo DiCaprio.
Gowdy- Honestly, I can’t really remember how I found out about Santa, even though it sounded a little fishy to me as I started getting older. I wish I had a great story for you though!
Killgore- I can't remember to be honest. If I had to guess, one of my older siblings probably broke the news to me and I would imagine it wasn't a soft let down.
Vierling- I found out when my brother and I got a ping pong table for Christmas. My mom had actually forgotten to give it to us and it was sitting in our garage until the middle of January. One day my brother and I went out there to get something in the garage and found the ping pong table we had asked for. That's when we found out the truth.
Hennigan- My cousin told me the bad news! I hit him as soon as he told me, then I thought about it for a second and realized the truth.

-Does your family have any traditions that are a big deal around Christmas?

Barber- One of our standout traditions would always be that we used to all wear the same sweaters that our grandma would get us for a Christmas picture. So here’s 15 to 20 of us all lined up in these absolutely brutal turtleneck sweaters from Dollar General. Hilarious to go back and look at those pictures.
Hinchliffe- One thing that we have done since my brother and I were little is finding a hidden pickle in the Christmas tree to decide who gets to open the first present. I’ve only ever heard of a few people who know of this tradition. The novelty has sort of worn out since we’re older but we still do it for the laughs.
Gowdy- One of my favorite traditions growing up was Christmas Eve going to look at Christmas lights with my dad and sister. I later found out that was how my mom would get some last minute work done for “Santa” getting the stockings ready. Pretty funny.
Killgore- Really the only tradition we have, is we always spend Christmas Eve at my Grandparents' house with our whole family. We usually have a ton of food and everyone stands around in the kitchen talking or the kids go outside and play football.
Vierling- We don't have a specific family tradition that we always do, but my family gets together with both sides of our family. It's great to see both sides and catch up with them at the family parties.
Hennigan- We just go look at Christmas lights.
Carr- A lot of my family members are in law enforcement or the medical field, so sometimes we have to celebrate a day early or a day late. This year we're going to have to do it on Christmas Eve because my brother and his wife are working on Christmas day and it's just small things. We can't ever really have anything set in stone.


Previous editions of this survey include answers from Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, Adam Haseley, Scott Kingery and loads of others.  

Those editions of this delightful Christmas questionnaire can be viewed at the following links- 2018 holiday survey, 2017 survey, 2016 survey, 2015 survey, 2014 survey, 2013 edition, 2012 edition, 2011 edition and the 2010 edition

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