A maize and blue Christmas

Michigan players and coaches look back at some all-time great holiday gifts

Updated: December 23, 2011, 2:02 PM ET
WolverineNation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- 'Tis the season.

We all know, too, that it's better to give than receive. But let's be honest: We all remember the coolest thing we've ever received.

In that vein, we went hunting to find the best holiday gifts from those around the Michigan community.

[+] EnlargeRed Berenson
Dave Reginek/Getty ImagesWhen Michigan basketball coach John Beilein got a hockey stick for Christmas he said he pretended he was Red Berenson, the man who now leads the Michigan hockey team.
John Beilein, Michigan basketball coach: "I got a hockey stick and long hockey socks. We played on a pond and we'd watch the black-and-white 'Hockey Night in America,' Red Berenson (now Michigan's hockey coach) was playing. You'd watch Montreal playing Toronto, and you just wanted to dress like them. I'd put the magazines in my feet like shin guards. Hockey socks and skates & those were the best. What happened, too, is that my mom or dad left them on purpose outside the chimney. So when I went to church in the morning there was this package and they said, 'Oh, Santa must have dropped it' from the chimney. Outside the house. It wasn't underneath it. Either that or my dad forgot about it. But it was great. It was the surprise, maybe that's why it stood out, because it was the surprise of thinking you didn't get what you wanted and going outside and Santa had dropped it from the chimney. That was the only time it ever happened."

Evan Smotrycz, Michigan sophomore forward: "Probably my first bike. I can remember that. My first mountain bike. It was black with yellow letters. I remember that vividly. It was my first bike, my first big bike, without training wheels. It's probably in the shed somewhere. Haven't ridden a bike in a while, but yeah, I probably still have it."

Dhani Jones, former Michigan linebacker: "An open-ended ticket to anywhere in the world. I went down to the Islands. It was my best Christmas present and always is first on my list for Santa. I've gotten it a couple times because that's all I ask for. I think the mysteries of the world are solved if you travel. The more you travel, the more questions you'll have answered and the more people you'll meet and the more you'll understand why it goes around as it does."

Carlton Brundidge, Michigan freshman guard: "When I was real little I used to like this wrestler called 'The Rock.' I had accidentally broke my action figure so my mom, she surprised me with The Rock action figure and a wrestling ring. It was pretty sweet. That was the best Christmas gift, by far. I had to be like 8. I was kind of mad when I broke it, like, 'I just broke my action figure.' It was the sweetest one. I was like, 'Man, I hope she gets me one.' It was the best. I still have it."

Denard Robinson, Michigan quarterback: "A PlayStation, my mom bought me a PlayStation. That was probably the best thing I got. I was probably like 10, 11 years old."

Greg Mathews, former Michigan wide receiver: "I don't know, can't even think of the last Christmas gift I ever got that I actually liked. I don't know, man. Probably just spending time with my family, getting a good meal. I'm too old to think back when I was a kid, probably a toy or something that I thought I'd remember forever. But I'm 24 years old and I don't remember."

Eso Akunne, Michigan junior guard: "Nintendo Gamecube, probably. Yeah, my dad said I had $120 to use and if I got a PS2, I couldn't get a game with it so I had to get a Gamecube so I could get a game. That was the best, the Gamecube and the game. I got NCAA Football 2005. Larry Fitzgerald was on the front."

Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan sophomore guard: "Last Christmas. I really wanted those Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. They are very popular, and I was lucky enough to get them. I still use them. That's the only Christmas gift I still use that my parents got me my whole entire life. You get a gift and you play with it for a month or two and then you put it down, right? But I've been very happy about this gift. It'll be a year now. I've been using it. They broke and I'm about to go get some more."

Trey Burke, Michigan freshman guard: "I know exactly what it was. I was 8 or 9 and it was the first XBox that came out. My mom got it. I opened it up and it was an XBox and I was so happy I couldn't wait to play it. That was, by far, the best Christmas gift I ever had. It was right when it came out, the first XBox and everything. I never got off of it, either. As soon as I got on, I was on it 24/7. They knew, as a kid, I loved playing video games and I still do now. I don't really have a lot of time so I don't play as much as I used to. But that was it, by far. XBox and PlayStation were right up my alley when I was a kid."