Indians reliever Cody Allen soared up the Minor League ladder last year and enjoyed a solid debut on the big league stage. This holiday season, the pitcher is looking forward to spending time with his family, as long as there aren't any real Christmas trees in the room. After a recent offseason workout, Allen took some time to chat about the holidays with MLB.com.
MLB.com: What are your plans for the holidays this year?
Allen: Just staying home to be with the family. I've got my mom's family and my dad's family, and my brother and sister and my parents. We'll all just be sitting around the tree in Orlando, Fla., enjoying the company. I live right down the street from my parents -- about five minutes away.
MLB.com: Does your family have some traditions?
Allen: When I was a kid growing up, we'd always go to church for a candlelight service on Christmas Eve -- the whole family would go. In the morning, we'd wake up and have Christmas with just us -- mom, dad, sister, brother. Right after that, we'd head to my dad's parents and have a get-together over there. Then, later on that evening, we'd go to my mom's parents and have Christmas with them. So we'd have like three Christmases in one day.
MLB.com: Being in Florida, when's the last time you saw snow on Christmas? Ever?
Allen: Never. On Christmas? I've never seen snow. I mean, I've seen snow in my life, but never on Christmas. I've always been here in Orlando.
MLB.com: So you don't even bother dreaming of a white Christmas.
Allen: Yeah, we take Christmas lights and put them around the palm trees.
MLB.com: Do you do much decorating at your place?
Allen: No. I mean, I put some lights up and a tree, but that's about it. I don't have any inflatable snowmen or reindeer in my front yard.
MLB.com: Did your family decorate much when you were a kid?
Allen: They do it sometimes. In the past few years, ever since me and my brother got out of the house, they don't do it up as much. We used to do it OK. We used to have some pretty big decorations in the yard.
MLB.com: Does anything stand out from when you were a kid?
Allen: My mom used to love driving around and going to look at all the houses lit up. We'd go into certain neighborhoods, because it seemed like people were battling for Yard of the Month when it came to Christmas decorations. Some of these places were completely decked out.
MLB.com: What about the Christmas tree? Does your family go fake, or do you get the real thing?
Allen: We go fake. We've got to go fake, because there are some people in our family who have really bad seasonal allergies. The pine kind of triggered peoples' allergies, so we've had the same fake tree for quite a while.
MLB.com: Did you guys learn this the hard way?
Allen: Yes, we did. Me and my brother have really bad seasonal allergies. When we were little, they set up a Christmas tree and we were constantly sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes. My parents were like, 'Oh, they might be allergic.' But setting up that fake tree is a pain. You have to put every branch on. Just imagine a seven-and-a-half foot tree, putting every single branch in there. Ugh. I got to the point where I said, 'I can deal with the sneezing and the itchy, watery eyes. I just don't want to do that.'
MLB.com: Is there one present you received as a kid that really stands out for you to this day?
Allen: When I was maybe 5 or 6, I remember a Christmas morning, which when you're a kid that starts about 6:45, right as the sun is peeking out, I remember there being a note on the tree that said, 'Go look in the garage.' We had a trampoline out there, one of those big ones. Me having a twin brother, we played on that trampoline for a long time. We'd have wrestling matches and maybe twice a week someone would come in crying. There's been some broken bones and some sprains on that trampoline, but that was like the big gift. I can still see that note on the tree from Santa clear as day.
MLB.com: How long did you believe in Santa, or do you remember when you started to think Santa might not be real?
Allen: When I was probably about 8, I think it was one of my brother's classmates that told him it was our parents who bought the presents. He started telling me, and I didn't believe him and finally I asked my mom if she could tell my brother that Santa is real. That's when she sat me down and told me. I was distraught over that.
MLB.com: Santa Claus is real. I don't know what you're talking about.
Allen: [laughing] Am I on speaker? Is your son right there?
MLB.com: How many of Santa's reindeer can you name?
Allen: Oh, man. Rudolph. Dancer. Prancer. Blitzen. Comet. Isn't there a Comet? Yeah. How many are there?
MLB.com: I'd have to ask my son. We better move on. Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
Allen: That's a tough one, because I honestly don't like Christmas music. I mean, I like Christmas, but I don't like Christmas music. Probably the only one I can bear is the Alvin and the Chimpmunks Christmas tape. Remember that one?
MLB.com: You don't like Christmas music, but you like the Chipmunks' songs?
Allen: [laughing] I was young, man. I was little. That was funny to me! All the other ones, I didn't like. Actually, Jeff Foxworthy's song, "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas," that one is pretty good.
MLB.com: Wow. All right. What about a favorite Christmas movie?
Allen: "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." The Griswolds. It's probably going to be that one.
MLB.com: How good would you say you are at wrapping presents?
Allen: I'm terrible. That's why you've got to buy the bags. You just get a big enough bag, and you put some little paper in there with it, and you don't have to wrap it.
MLB.com: So your family sees the bag and knows, "That must be from Cody."
Allen: Exactly. Or, I just get my mom to wrap them. My mom's gift is usually in a bag, but everybody else's gifts are wrapped, because I get my mom to wrap them. Or, I can sometimes get my sister to do it. I just don't do the wrapping. That's not me. It's too much of a pain. I use way too much wrapping paper and that stuff costs money.
MLB.com: How would your family rate your gift-giving skills?
Allen: I'd say my brother and my sister rate my gift-giving skills very well, but mom and dad would probably just say I'm OK. I've bought some pretty good gifts for my brother and sister.
MLB.com: Do you have anything in particular on your list this year?
Allen: Maybe a new TV -- a nice flat-screen. I need a TV for the living room, so yeah, a nice little Sony. That'd be nice.
MLB.com: Well, you better ask Santa. Making the bullpen out of Spring Training wouldn't be too bad, either.
Allen: Definitely. That's a given.