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12/24/09 10:00 AM EST

Granderson's giving nature unchanged

Newest Yankee chats with MLB.com about the holidays

Curtis Granderson wasted no time in getting involved on his first day wearing Yankees pinstripes, leaving his introductory news conference and immediately lending a hand at the club's 16th annual Yankee Stadium food drive.

The center fielder was acquired from the Tigers this month in a three-team, seven-player deal, and he has promised that he hopes to be just as active in the New York community as he was in Detroit. But first, the center fielder is heading home to Chicago, looking to enjoy the rest of the offseason with his friends and family.

Granderson took a few minutes to chat with MLB.com about how he spends the holidays.

MLB.com: How is this holiday season going to be different for you now that you're a Yankee?

Granderson: A lot of friends and family are going to ask questions about it at the dinner table. You know, "How does it feel?" A lot of people feel that we need to celebrate. I'm transitioning teams, but I haven't done anything yet, so there's no celebration yet. A congratulations would be more fitting, but there's nothing to celebrate until we go out there and start to win.

MLB.com: What are your favorite memories of Christmas and this time of year?

Granderson: My first major present I remember is a Walter Payton football, full pads, jersey and everything. My friend across the street got the Joe Montana jersey, and we were out there dirtying it up within hours. I remember just opening the presents and not being able to sleep at night because you want to get to that next day to open up presents. The biggest one was waking up to breakfast, and the smell of my mom and my grandmother cooking.

MLB.com: What do you like about the holiday season as an adult?

Granderson: I like the weather. A lot of people say, "Oh, it's too cold." Being from Chicago, I like the changing of the leaves and the snow on the trees, the fact that there can be snow and you can play in the snow. People may dislike it, but they always want it. If you don't have it, people get upset when it doesn't snow for Christmas. Deep down, everyone wants a little bit of snow.

MLB.com: So you got the Walter Payton jersey, but was there a gift that you wanted that never came -- the one that got away?

Granderson: My parents treated me very well. I never asked for too much. It's funny, when I watch commercials and I see the one for Lexus. People are getting cars for Christmas, with a big bow on it? I never had that, but that would have been a nice one.

MLB.com: Does your family have any special holiday traditions?

Granderson: Nothing major. We go around to our family's houses -- aunts, uncles, grandparents, throughout the city of Chicago on Christmas Day and do that. A lot of my friends and family come to my house, which has turned into a tradition on Christmas Eve or Christmas night. We'll get together and hang out and reflect on the old days in high school and college, and catch up on what's going on now. We'll just relax.

MLB.com: Now that you're here, do you have one wish for Brian Cashman and the Yankees to have under the tree going into 2010?

Granderson: I would say to just be supportive and positive of any acquisition made from here on, including mine. All the rookies who end up being called up from here on out, just support them and trust your gut. Everybody is trusting you and looks up to you to be successful.

That side of the game, I don't understand yet and I'm not making those decisions. I try to stay away from it, and I'm usually surprised no matter what happens. Those moves that you think are going to happen never happen, and the ones you never think about are the ones that happen. I try to play and figure it out and I'm usually wrong, so I'll just wait and see what happens. Usually, my friends are the first to know.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.