KANSAS CITY -- Hunter Dozier, emerging as the Royals' third baseman of the future, always looks forward to Christmas.But he is really looking forward to Christmas next year.That's when Dozier and his wife, Amanda, will introduce their son, Bodhi, now just 15 months, to a Dozier family tradition: An all-out
KANSAS CITY -- Hunter Dozier, emerging as the Royals' third baseman of the future, always looks forward to Christmas.
But he is really looking forward to Christmas next year.
That's when Dozier and his wife, Amanda, will introduce their son, Bodhi, now just 15 months, to a Dozier family tradition: An all-out Christmas celebration.
"We'll do Christmas at my parents this year and then next year when Bodhi is a year older, we'll kind of replicate what my parents do at our place so he can really get a taste of it," Dozier said by phone.
The Christmas season has always been special for Dozier. Growing up in Denton, Texas, his parents, both named Kelly, always went all-in on the Christmas spirit.
"My parents were awesome about Christmas when I was growing up," Dozier said. "They just went all out. We'd open some gifts on Christmas Eve. Then open the rest on Christmas morning.
"But what was really fun was my parents would get up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and put a trail of Hershey's Kisses from our bedrooms all the way to the Christmas tree. And they'd have half-eaten cookies laying out where Santa had come down the chimney during the night. And they put footprints of where Santa had come down from the chimney. It was really great."
"I probably was in sixth or seventh grade before I found out Santa wasn't real," Dozier said. "My older brother [Devin] already knew but didn't say anything. And when I found out -- I have a younger sister [Kenzie] -- my parents made me promise not to ruin it for her. So I didn't."
Dozier can look back fondly on those childhood memories.
His all-time favorite Christmas presents?
"Probably the biggest ones were when Devin and I got dirt bikes," Dozier said. "That was great. My dad was really into motocross. But usually it was anything hockey-related. I was big into hockey growing up. Hockey sticks, skates, stuff like that was always on my Christmas list."
Growing up in Denton, which is north of Dallas, Dozier didn't get to experience too many snowy Christmases, though that hardly hampered the mood.
"We probably had about two or three white Christmases," Dozier said. "In Texas, you can get either 85 degrees on Christmas or 25 degrees and snow, or 35 degrees and sleet. But my favorites were the white Christmases. That just made it seem like what you see in the movies."
Even now, those Christmas movies make Dozier sentimental. His favorite is The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. But Hunter and Amanda record all Christmas movies when they can.
And now they are eager to share their love of Christmas with Bodhi.
"I started dating my wife in high school and she didn't really experience the type of Christmases we had growing up," Dozier said. "So when she had one with us, she was blown away. She said, 'We definitely have to do this when we have kids.'"
And they will.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.