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For Redmond family, Christmas is about tradition

MIAMI -- Spending 13 years in the big leagues gave Mike Redmond plenty of opportunity to travel the country and see places he only dreamed about growing up.

But to this day, some of the greatest memories the Marlins' 41-year-old manager has are from his childhood, when he would go see Santa Claus and his workshop.

Growing up in the state of Washington, Redmond's family made an annual boat cruise into Idaho to visit a resort that featured Santa. The trek was one of many traditions the former big league catcher enjoyed as a child.

Many of the rituals that were so dear to Redmond and his wife, Michele, are now passed down to his sons, Ryan and Michael. For the Redmonds, whether it is a boat ride to see Santa or feasting on a fondue-style meal, the spirit of the holiday season is based on being around family.

Redmond, Miami's new manager, recently shared with some of his holiday traditions. As a child, what were your fondest holiday memories?

Redmond: Christmas is my favorite holiday. I have memories of the family being together. I know that as a kid, there was that anticipation of Christmas Day and opening the gifts. It was always an exciting time. We were always together. My dad has passed now, but I will always remember how excited I was with the big buildup and going to see Santa Claus. You were able to see Santa Claus? Where did you go to see him?

Redmond: In Spokane, Wash., they have a cruise. You'd get on a boat on Lake Coeur d'Alene and it takes you around the lake to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole workshop. It was a tradition. Santa comes out and reads if you were on the naughty or nice list. We'd go about a week or two before Christmas. That sounds like fun. You still live out in Washington. Is that something you are doing now with your children?

Redmond: I've been able to carry that tradition with my kids. We do that and then we go out to dinner. This time of year is family time. We always try to reflect on how lucky we all are to have the gifts and the opportunities that we've been given. It's a fun time for me and my family. Tell me more about Lake Coeur d'Alene (a resort in Idaho) and visiting Santa and his workshop.

Redmond: It's about 40 minutes from where I live. Spokane is almost into Idaho. We always have a wintery Christmas, and always cold temperatures. We'd go see Santa. But on Christmas, we were always home, unwrapping the presents. What were some of your traditional meals for Christmas?

Redmond: When I was younger, we would always fondue. It started out with steak and chicken. You'd marinate the steak and chicken. It's a long meal. It evolved. As we got older, we started mixing in some things like cheese. But there was always steak and chicken. Do you still make fondue meals?

Redmond: With my kids, we still do it as a family. My kids love it. It's a tradition we brought to them. But now, we have shrimp. Last year, we had lobster. We still have the steak and chicken. That's still my favorite, but we mix in something different every single year.

Now we have dessert fondue -- chocolate, marshmallows, stuff like that. It's definitely one of those things we've always looked forward to every single year. How about gifts? Anything stand out as the best gift you can remember?

Redmond: I remember getting a TV one time when I was like 12 years old. My brother and I got TVs for our rooms. That was before cable. You had the three channels or whatever, but the TV was in my room. It was black and white, and it was probably a 12-inch TV. It wasn't even that big, but I was like, "Wow, Santa really hooked me up!" Did you ever get any baseball-related gifts?

Redmond: Santa was always good to us. We got a lot. We got BB Guns. We got bikes. It seemed like whatever we needed at the time, we got. My brother and I used to come up with this elaborate list. We'd go through the old Sears catalog, and I'd be like, "I want this, I want that." It was pretty cool. On Christmas Day, are you at home or do you go to see family?

Redmond: Now we spend our Christmas up at a condo we have up in Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho. So now we do have a white Christmas, because we go up there and ski. We go up there and stay through New Year's Day. Before spending time at your condo, did you go to any holiday plays or shows?

Redmond: We did see the "Nutcracker" a few years. And we saw "A Christmas Carol" when I lived in Seattle. We'd go and do that more. We'd go see a play. Our biggest thing now is the boat cruise and anticipating the big day. What about the annual holiday TV shows? Does your family like watching them?

Redmond: We always take out "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It's amazing, because the same shows we watched, the kids watch, and they love them. It's just funny. When I was younger, it seemed like those shows came on much closer to Christmas. Now it's on like a month earlier. Now we have all the movies and the kids watch them. They think they're great, and they keep watching them over and over again. Are there any traditions that you have started with your children?

Redmond: You teach the boys what Christmas is all about, and what the spirit of Christmas is. The kids, they go to All Saints Catholic School in Spokane. Every year, we take a couple of families that are less fortunate. They have kids who make out lists of things they want for Christmas, and the boys each pick a couple of kids, and we give them the opportunity to go out and fulfill those kids' wishes. They wrap the presents up and give them to the kids. It's a pretty neat thing. We look forward to it. We always make it a point that no matter how lucky we are, not everyone is as fortunate. When you have the opportunity to help and give back, then that's what we do.

Miami Marlins