Print and Go Back ESPN.com: espnW [Print without images]

Monday, December 17, 2012
I can’t wait to get home for the holidays

By Tina Charles

Charles
Tina Charles and Alana Beard get into the holiday spirit in Poland, where they play during the WNBA offseason.

The city of Krakow, Poland, where I am playing basketball during the WNBA offseason, is already decorated for Christmas. There is snow everywhere and markets are full of Christmas décor! I will be back in New York to celebrate Christmas with my family. Christmas has always been special for me. My mother, Angella Murry, has always made a big deal out of the holidays. Every year since I can remember, she makes my cousins and I wear onesies with reindeer prints on them along with Santa hats for Christmas Eve to bring in Christmas morning. It’s always a lot of fun.

What I’m looking forward to the most is the breakfast served on Christmas
Day, not opening gifts. My mother is from Kingston, Jamaica, so my breakfast will consist of different Jamaican dishes. My favorite is ackee and salt fish with fried dumplings and fried plantains -- don’t knock it until you try it! Then we get around to opening gifts and watching whichever NBA games are on TV.

Like a lot of people, I have great memories of Christmas. The first big gift I can really remember was a Fisher Price basketball hoop. I got it from my parents when I was 4 or 5 years old. My parents are huge New York Knicks fans, and I would imitate Patrick Ewing in the post backing down his defender each time they played and we were watching.

Because I also have a large extended family in Florida, including my grandmother, my aunts and their kids, I have gone there in the past to celebrate Christmas. The last time I did that was two years ago, and it was great to spend some time with them. Playing basketball for a living requires a lot of traveling and time away from home. After the WNBA season, most of us just shift right over to playing overseas with only a few days off between our seasons. You don’t get to see your family very much, so you want to enjoy the time you have with them.

I am really looking forward to the 10 days I will have at home later this month.

Merry Christmas!