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12/24/08 10:00 AM EST

Kinslers focus on holiday giving

Rangers second baseman serves as Toys For Tots ambassador

This has been a big month for Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler and his wife, Tess. For the third straight year, they have served as the Rangers' ambassadors to Toys For Tots.

They also welcomed into the world their first child, daughter Rian Brooklynn, who was born on Dec. 5. Kinsler has also been named the 2008 winner of the Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award.

He took time to talk with MLB.com about the holidays.

MLB.com: What motivates you in your work with Toys For Tots?

Holiday Q&A width=
ARI: Conor Jackson
ATL: Blaine Boyer
BAL: Jeremy Guthrie
BOS: M. Delcarmen
CHC: Kevin Gregg
CWS: John Danks
CIN: Jay Bruce
CLE: Ryan Garko
COL: Clint Barmes
DET: Nate Robertson
FLA: Josh Johnson
HOU: Chris Sampson
KC: Trey Hillman
LAA: Ron Roenicke
LAD: Andre Ethier
MIL: Seth McClung
MIN: Joe Nathan
NYM: Mike Pelfrey
NYY: Brian Bruney
OAK: J. Duchscherer
PHI: Jimmy Rollins
PIT: Frank Coonelly
SD: Chase Headley
SF: Sergio Romo
SEA: Don Wakamatsu
STL: John Roney
TB: Grant Balfour
TEX: Ian Kinsler
TOR: Rod Barajas
WAS: Steven Shell

Kinsler: It's pretty easy to be motivated to be involved with Toys For Tots. They are the biggest toy-giving organization in the world, and what they do with the U.S. Marines is pretty impressive. When I was a part of that my first year, I definitely wanted to continue being a part of that. Seeing the kids opening the presents, having dinner with the families, having them have something to open is pretty special. This is the time of year in which you want to give back to the community and Toys For Tots does a great job of doing just that.

MLB.com: Any special moments from being a part of it?

Kinsler: Just doing what we're doing every year, being face to face with the families. Seeing the kids get their gifts, watching them open it and see the reaction on their faces, that's what I look forward to every year.

MLB.com: What are the hottest gifts for children this year?

Kinsler: With the little girls, they like the Hannah Montana stuff. Go with the boys, you can't go wrong with the remote-controlled cars. There is also a skateboard that goes both forward and sideways at the same time without having to turn the board. It's pretty cool too. Electronic toys are cool, kids love the electronic stuff. But you can't go wrong with the old-school remote-controlled cars.

MLB.com: What's the best gift you ever received growing up?

Kinsler: Probably a basketball hoop that I got one year. I really wanted a basketball hoop. I was probably 12. That was probably my most anticipated gift. Every year I got baseball cards in my stockings. They still do that for me just to keep the tradition going.

MLB.com: So how is fatherhood?

Kinsler: It's going well. We had a couple of rough nights in the beginning, but we figured things out, and now it's going smoothly.

MLB.com: So what is Rian getting for Christmas?

Kinsler: She's already spoiled. She doesn't need anything. But she's getting a bunch of stuff. We have a lot of family coming in to do Christmas here, so I'm sure she'll get plenty of gifts.

MLB.com: Do you have any holiday traditions that you follow?

Kinsler: This year, we're breaking tradition. I'm from Tucson, and usually we go up to Phoenix, where my mom's family is from and celebrate Christmas there. She has a great big family, 11 brothers and sisters, so we have a big family gathering and do it on Christmas Eve. Obviously, we celebrate Hanukkah on my dad's side with his friends that he grew up with.

MLB.com: You grew up celebrating both. What was that like?

Kinsler: We celebrated both. Hanukkah we wouldn't celebrate on the exact date of Hanukkah. Sometimes we would do it early; sometimes we would do it late. This year, we might have to do it in Spring Training.

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