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Patriots share stories about their favorite Christmas gifts

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Having spent Christmas Eve battling with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Patriots will for the most part get to enjoy Christmas Day with their families.

In the spirit of the holiday and gift-giving season, it was interesting to go around the locker room recently and chat with players about the best gifts they’ve ever received – be it from Santa or someone else – and also, what they considered the best present they ever gave someone.

The answers ran the gamut from cars, to animals, to toys, to trips. And given the meaning behind some of the gifts received, some of the players got a little emotional discussing their significance.

But let’s cut to the chase and let the players share their answers.

QB Mac Jones

Best gift he’s ever received: “When I was little, we got a puppy when I was five. It was a toy Maltese named Chenelle. She actually lived 17 years. It was a gift from Santa. She was under the tree in a crate.”

Best gift he’s given: “Last year, around Christmas, I gave my parents a couple jerseys that were framed. It was me as a Pop Warner player, then in high school, then college, then NFL. So that was pretty cool.

But I always try to donate on Christmas, like to charities and stuff. At Alabama, I like donating to Coach (Nick) Saban’s charity (The Nick’s Kids Foundation). One of the things I like to do is give money and time. When you have time, it’s being able to volunteer on Christmas, and stuff like that.”

QB Bailey Zappe

Best gift he’s ever received: “Everybody knows I’m from Texas. I’m a big hunter and fisherman. That’s what I’ve grown up doing, along with football. My dad would always go hunting every year, he’d go to New Mexico, and I always wanted to go forever. I begged him to go, and he’d always tell me, ‘No, no, no.’

“So my senior year in high school, I was taking him to the airport, dropping him off, so he could go to New Mexico. Unbeknownst to me, he had packed all my stuff and surprised me with the trip. He said, ‘Go park the truck, you’re going with us.’ That was my best and most memorable gift I’ve ever gotten.”

Best gift he’s given: “Me and my girlfriend Hannah have some stuff planned for the family for this Christmas. I don’t want to spoil it. I’m really not a good gift-giver, but this will be my best for sure.”

C David Andrews

Best gift he’s ever received: “My wife’s given me two presents that I really love. One of them  … I was really close to my mom’s dad. He was a roofer. He created a certain pen metal, a cross point, those metal pens that twist. And he always had one in his shirt so he could write down stuff in his notes. So she got some of his pens, and had his signature engraved on them. So that was really special. Besides that, my parents got me a yellow lab when I was in sixth grade. Her name was Georgia. She died a couple years ago, but she was the best.”

Best gift he’s given: “We told our parents, my wife had these scratch-offs made, like lottery tickets, so when we were pregnant, she had scratch-offs made for our parents. We kind of did it like a gag gift, $5 dollar lottos. And you scratched them, and it said, ‘Congratulations, you’re a grandparent.’ Giving that to both of them, that was pretty cool. And they loved it especially after we gave them a grandson.”

TE Jonnu Smith

Best gift he’s ever received: “The best gift I ever received was a portrait. And actually, I just received it last Christmas. I was 26 years old, and it’s the best gift I’ve received in my entire life. My Christmases growing up were pretty amazing, my mom made sure of that. But this was the most meaningful. It was a portrait of me, my brother and my father, we were all dressed up in Patriots gear. The reason that was so special to me was because my father passed away when I was five, and my brother has been incarcerated for the past 11 years. And the way the picture was painted, we were all together. I cried. It was gifted to me by my sisters. It was amazing, man.”

Best gift he’s ever given: “I’m going to be honest, when it comes to gifts, I’m not as meaningful. I’m more fashionable, not clothes, but nice, quality items that everybody will like and enjoy. And I give a lot. But here’s one. Last year was the first time I got to do something with my foundation. We were able to take some kids, some less fortunate kids, to Dick’s Sporting Goods. They were able to pick out different things they wanted from the store. It’s like they couldn’t believe, ‘I can get this, and I can get that.’ That was awesome. Because I understand what it’s like coming from certain areas where things might not be at your beck and call. So their reaction was honest, it was genuine. It was sweet, man.”

WR DeVante Parker

Best gift he’s ever received: “Probably a TV. I never had one.”

Best gift he’s given: “Money. My parents never really cared about gifts. It was about (affording) the house. So I gave them money. They’ve been helping me since I was young, so it was good to help them and give them money.”

S Devin McCourty

Best gift he’s ever received: ”When I was young, maybe seven or eight, me and Jay (Jason) got X-Men Headquarters. It had a headquarters thing we would set up, and we got the action figures to go with it. Professor X, Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops. That was just the coolest thing especially because there was just two of us. So we could split everything up, and this person could be this person, and that person. We had a lot of fun with that.”

Best gift he’s given: “My now wife (Michelle), when we were dating, I got her a new car. She had an old car. She was a med student so she would always be driving up here. If we had a Sunday night game, she’d have to be driving back, 1:30, 2 o’clock in fear of her car breaking down. So one Christmas, I surprised her with a new car with a bow on it.”

What kind of car?

“I got her a C-Class Mercedes-Benz.”

Then he said with a smile: “I got a pre-owned car. I didn’t know if we were going to get married yet.”

DL Deatrich Wise

Best gift he’s ever received: “PlayStation 1. It was from my father. He told me to clean my room up after I already did. I thought I was in trouble. He said ‘Go to your room!’ So I went to my room, and sitting there were two games and a PlayStation 1.”

Best gift he’s given: “I think I give good gifts. And I think I’m giving a really good one this year, so you can ask me that question after Christmas. But it’s a good one. It’s for the entire defensive line.”

DE Matthew Judon

Best gift he’s ever received: “A little basketball machine … I think I was about 8 or 11, something between those ages. We played on that thing for like three years. When we woke up (on Christmas Day) it was already put up. And we played on that thing forever. It was a good gift, a really good gift.”

Best gift he’s given: “I gave a Range Rover away. That was a pretty good gift, don’t you think?”

Judon, however, wouldn’t reveal the identity of the person he gifted the four-wheel drive utility vehicle.

S Adrian Phillips

Best gift he’s ever received: “The best gift I’ve ever received, that’s a tough one. Probably an XBox when they first came out. An XBox 360. That was probably the most memorable gift, and when I was super young, I liked Pokemon cards.”

Best gift he’s ever given: “Being able to fly my parents, and fly my family out to be with me on Christmas. We don’t really get to see each other for holidays anymore, just because I was either in (California) or I played out here. So being blessed to have the means to fly them out and spend time with everybody. That would be the best gift to give.”

ST Matthew Slater

Best gift he’s ever received: “My parents got us the original PlayStation. It was the first time we had a video game, and console. My brother and I had been asking for it, and my parents said, ‘No.’ They didn’t want us playing video games. So it was a total surprise. None of us expected it. So we were thrilled that day.”

Best gift he’s ever given: “I’ve given my wife some good things, I guess. But I think there’s some things we’ve given our kids, like the remote control car I gave my son (his oldest, Jeremiah), the dollhouse we built for my daughter (Hannah) last year, in her room. I mean, just to see the joy on their faces. The joy of children at Christmastime is unique.”

ST Brenden Schooler

Best gift he’s ever received: “I think the best gift I’ve ever received was probably this bike I really wanted when I was growing up. This BMX dirt jumper bike. I remember when I got it on Christmas, I was super, super happy. And, I think a year later after I got it, it got stolen. My mom still brings it up. ‘Remember when we got you that awesome bike?’ But, I loved that thing. That was how I got around before I got my license. So I was always on that thing, riding it around. We got dirt bikes, too, one year. That was a lot of fun.”

Best gift he’s ever given: “I think it’s this year, just like now, I can actually spend some money on my family and get them something they really wanted. They’re going to be at my grandpa’s house in Georgia on Christmas. I shipped it down there. I got my mom this electric picture book. It’s like a picture frame, but you can slide photos in by uploading them. So I think she’s really going to like that. And my dad, he’s been on this whiskey-rye kick the past couple of years, so I got him this little piece that goes on top of a whiskey glass, and you fill it with wood chips. It’s a metal mesh-net and if you put the wood chips in the mesh-net and you get a blow torch and light it on fire, the smoke goes into the cup, and it gives it that smokey flavor. He’s going to like that. I got my brother and sister two pairs of shoes they want that are pretty nice. I got my brother a pair of Jordans and my sister these designer shoes … so I think I did really well this year.”

K Nick Folk

Best gift he’s ever received: “My wife gave me a pretty cool watch one year, a Rolex. I really liked that. Growing up, I really loved LEGOS. As a family, we loved doing that. We built model airplanes with my grandparents. But I just really like the season, being around family and having fun.”

Best gift he’s ever given: “I’m a gift-giver. For my 10-year anniversary this year, I got my wife a ‘57 T-Bird. I guess that’s pretty cool.

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