How WNBA Stars Are Celebrating the Holidays

It's that time of year again. "The most wonderful time," some say.

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more on the horizon, this is the time when families and friends get together to enjoy each other's company, exchange gifts, relax and (last but certainly not least) eat.

And although many of our WNBA players are overseas, they'll still be celebrating the holidays in style. In this new feature, we touch base with WNBA stars to see how they're getting into the holiday spirit, to see how they're planning to ring in the festivities and to find out their favorite parts of this "hap-happiest season of all."

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Each year is a new holiday tradition for Taj and her family.
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Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Detroit Shock

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Taj: Hopefully spending it with my family: Maia, Schera, Reggie, Tangela, Rashundra and moms.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Taj: Being home with my family.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Taj: Peace on earth and true good will towards all people... and after that just some peace of my own.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Taj: Ummm, having absolutely no tradition. It makes the holidays more memorable to me when every year there is something new to do and to be thankful and merry about...

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Taj: Anything from the old fashioned holiday eating menu with the exception of meat. I do cook it for everyone, but I've just got a bunch of professional tasters. Lol.


What does Christmas mean to Tamika? You might have to hang with her family on Christmas Eve to find out.
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Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Tamika: We're headed down to good ole Duncanville, TX for the holidays this year! I'm super excited about being around my family and friends.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Tamika: I have always been an Alonzo Mourning fan. One year I got a Charlotte Hornets jacket, pillow, socks and whole poster set. I was the happiest kid in the world! Hahahaha!!!

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Tamika: This year I am really looking forward to spending time with my family. I don't really want anything big... a panini maker is the only thing on my list. Interesting, I know.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Tamika: My whole family being in one place. The food is "OFF DA HOOK." We open one gift the night before Christmas as we sit around and talk about whatever. Now that we have kids around again, we share a bit about what Christmas means. It's fun.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Tamika: I LOVE the fried turkey, rolls, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, greens, mac and cheese... MMMMM mmmmm MMMMMMMMMMM!!!


Come holiday time, it's all about the food for Seimone and her family.
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Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Seimone: I'm going home to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to spend Christmas with my family and friends.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Seimone: Back when I received my first bike from my parents.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Seimone: I just want to be with my family and enjoy the holidays. I'm too old for gifts, but I guess they can just give me some money. Lol.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Seimone: EATING. Food is a big deal for our family.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Seimone: I love red beans and rice, dressing, turkey, cornish hen, cranberry sauce, green beans, baked turkey wings with gravy and rice, mac and cheese... Man, I could go on but I'm going to stop there.


When she was little, Adrian had as sweet a holiday as a youngster can have thanks to a whole box of See's Candies.
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Adrian Williams-Strong, Sacramento Monarchs

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Adrian: I will be in China for the holidays, but my husband is coming here on Christmas Eve. So my Christmas present is my husband!

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Adrian: Well, I have two. When I was about 8 or 9, I asked for a box of See's Candies. This is the only year I ever asked for anything. Usually, I just got what my sister asked for. I've never really wanted much. But this Christmas I wanted a whole box of See's Candies for myself. And I got it! I was so excited... and no, I didn't share.

The second was a black Holiday Barbie I got last year. I had gone to Wal-Mart in search of one, but all of the black dolls were gone. I didn't think anything of it until I opened up one of my presents and there it was! I didn't even know my husband had been listening to me.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Adrian: Hmmmm... Like I said, I've never really been into receiving on Christmas. I love buying gifts for other people. That's why it's really fun to have children around. That joy you see on their faces is worth the million dollars or so you spent for the American Girl Doll clothes and shoes set. :)

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Adrian: I love decorating the house. Even though I knew I wasn't going to be there this year, I still decorated the house before I left. Just seeing the lights on the houses makes me happy. Also, the Christmas music. I LOVE the Christmas music. With all this, though, I make sure I remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Adrian: I LOVE dressing. That is the same thing as stuffing, FYI.


During the holidays, Chasity leaves the cooking to the rest of her family.
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Chasity Melvin, Chicago Sky

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Chasity: I will be in China spending the holidays traveling with my teammates and I'm so excited. I will see my family and some of my friends on Skype on Christmas Day.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Chasity: The small gifts that... you know... come from the heart are the most special ones for me.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Chasity: I want the Chinese lady to do a good job braiding my hair... lol.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Chasity: Everyone meeting at my grandmother's to eat and exchange gifts and just enjoy family.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Chasity: Whatever my mom, grandmothers, sisters and aunt cook. I'm the dishwasher during the holidays. :)


Is Erlana too old for presents this year? Probably not if her family has something to say about it.
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Erlana Larkins, New York Liberty

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Erlana: I'm going home to spend time with my family & friends (parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, etc.).

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Erlana: Oooh, I don't know. Hopefully I'll get it this year.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Erlana: If I had to choose, I would say clothes because I think I'm too old for presents.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Erlana: Eating with my family and catching up on all of the exciting things I've missed.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Erlana: Collard greens, mac & cheese, ham, yams, cornbread, black-eyed peas and Kool-Aid.


Danielle lists watching her brother go crazy with his Christmas presents as her favorite holiday tradition.
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Danielle Page, Connecticut Sun

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Danielle: I am going home to Colorado and then I'm traveling out to Virginia to see the rest of my family. And then if I have time, I really hope I can go visit some friends in Nebraska. Kinda busy... but should be fun!

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Danielle: The best Christmas present I've gotten is probably my RAZR cell phone a couple years back. I really wanted one since they came out a couple months before Christmas and when I got it I loved it. I think I had that same phone for a couple of years, which is longer than I've ever had a cell phone!

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Danielle: This year I want some nice headphones for the new iPod I bought earlier in the year.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Danielle: My favorite holiday tradition is watching my little brother go crazy opening presents on Christmas morning while I drink hot chocolate with my mom.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Danielle: My favorite holiday meal is turkey with stuffing and green beans, maybe with some pumpkin pie for dessert!


Exchanging hilarious pajamas with her family is one of Tangela's most cherished holiday traditions.
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Tangela Smith, Phoenix Mercury

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Tangela: Unfortunately since I am playing in China this year I will not be able to go home for Christmas. We don't get a Christmas break over here.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Tangela: The best Christmas gift I have ever received was a vintage leather jacket that I really wanted and my parents surprised me with.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Tangela: I would like to go home for Christmas this year, but I will settle for just knowing that my nephews had a great Christmas.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Tangela: My favorite holiday tradition is having a pajama grab-bag with my family. We pick names out of a hat and whoever's name you choose, you
have to buy that person a pair of pajamas. The funnier the better. We open the pajamas on Christmas Eve and wear them that night. Fun times.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Tangela: My favorite holiday meal is my mother's green beans with smoked turkey and white potatoes and my uncle's baked macaroni and cheese.


Tasha loves opening up her Christmas presents, but not at the crack of dawn.
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Tasha Humphrey, Washington Mystics

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Tasha: I will be in beautiful Schio, Italy. I'll probably be celebrating Christmas at my home, probably watching Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Tasha: The best Christmas present I ever got was a Sega Genesis when I was 12. Those who know me know that I looooove my video games...

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Tasha: I want my friends and family to have a blessed and safe holiday.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Tasha: Well my favorite tradition is getting to sleep in and, THEN, open presents. Once my sister got over the Santa Claus thing, I'm glad my mom stopped waking me up at 6:30 to open Christmas presents. LOL. Because I'm clearly not a morning person.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Tasha: DRESSING... HAM... DRESSING... COLLARD GREENS... and ummm... my Aunt Linda's red velvet cake.


Temeka just wants her family to be happy this Christmas.
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Temeka Johnson, Los Angeles Sparks

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Temeka: Well, I am not sure if I will be back on Christmas Day due to the fact that we may have a game on the 26th if we keep winning in the Israeli Cup. But after that I intend on spending time with my family and friends.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Temeka: The best Christmas present I have ever gotten was -- and always will be -- the smiles and happiness of others on this great day.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Temeka: For Christmas this year I just want my family to be able to enjoy it close to the way we used to. It will be hard for many of them, especially since this is the first Christmas without my grandmother. But that's all I want: for my family to be happy and still find enjoyment on this day.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Temeka: My favorite holiday tradition is all of the decorating that occurs. The inside and outside of the house, the tree, the stockings, etc. But most of all, I love the cooking. These are great times. And it's all topped off with a nice glass of egg nog.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Temeka: Being gone so long most of the time, I am not sure that I have a favorite holiday meal. I think I just enjoy any kind of real home-cooked meal. All the holiday food is great to me though.


Yinka is all set to "bless the rains" in Africa this Christmas.
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Olayinka Sanni, Detroit Shock

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Olayinka: I am going to Nigeria to spend time with my family and friends.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Olayinka: I would have to say... hmmm... a Skip It from my aunt when I was like 8 years old.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Olayinka: A Yorkshire puppy.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Olayinka: Eating Christmas dinner... YUMMMMMMMMM.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Olayinka: An African dish: rice and stew with plantains.


Swin has strong opinions on the meaning of Christmas.
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Swin Cash, Seattle Storm

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays?

Swin: I will be splitting my time between Pittsburgh and Miami... I'm first stopping in Pittsburgh to see my family, check out my sister Belly's high school basketball game (Go, Lady Tigers!), visit my nanna and try to put a few pounds on with my momma's home cooking. Then it's off to Miami to spend quality time in the sun with my better half, Mr. Fields. Don't ask me the dates. Sorry, but that's private. ;-) I don't like surprise visitors. Lol.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Swin: I have received a number of great gifts over the years, but to be honest, there wasn't one thing that was the best. My birthday gifts from my mom, when I was younger, were the gifts I tend to remember and cherish the most!

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Swin: I want people to celebrate the TRUE meaning behind this holiday and lose the superficial hoopla our society has turned it into. If the only reason you celebrate during Christmas time is that you spend money on gifts, I think you need to seek a better understanding of Christmas and what it means. I will now get off my soapbox. :) 'Tis the season!!!!

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Swin: Food, food and more food at my momma's house. Even though I'm thin, trust me, I love to eat!

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Swin: That's like asking me to pick my favorite sibling. I can't do it! I love them all. :)


Tammy is giving back to her hometown this Christmas.
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Tammy Sutton-Brown, Indiana Fever

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays? And with whom are you planning on spending your free time?

Tammy: I'll be spending time with family. I’m so excited to have so many days off this year. And because I have so much time at home, it gives me an opportunity to give back to my hometown of Toronto.

This holiday season I will launch the first Tammy Sutton-Brown’s Ladies Day of Pampering. I have teamed up with Street Haven, which is a multi-faceted agency serving the needs of women who experience hardships. Street Haven and I share the belief that all women are worthwhile and deserve to be treated with dignity. Rejuvenation of body, mind and spirit is an important motivator, and I believe that the women of Street Haven deserve this opportunity.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Tammy: There is nothing like home cooking. And with that said, my favorite Christmas gift has to be a hand-written book of recipes created by my mother. She made one for both me and my sister and made sure to include all our favorite dishes.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Tammy: I spend so much time away from home, all I want for Christmas is to be able to enjoy the holiday with my family.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Tammy: My favorite holiday tradition has to be waking up on the 25th and having a huge Christmas breakfast with the family before sitting around the tree to open gifts.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Tammy: My favorite holiday meal has to be anything my mother cooks, which will most likely include baked ham, mac & cheese, candied yams, rice and peas and ribs.


Ticha and Magic, taken last Xmas.
Courtesy of Ticha Penicheiro
Ticha Penicheiro, Sacramento Monarchs

Ticha: Happy holidays to all of you over there (in the States)... I'm currently in Milan, Italy! I'm having fun and my team is winning, so that always helps!!! OK, here are the answers to your questions...

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays? And with whom are you planning on spending your free time?

Ticha: I'm currently playing in the Italian league and unfortunately we have a game on Dec. 28, so my Christmas break will be very short. Thankfully Portugal is not that far, and I will be able to go home for Christmas... I will be flying home on the 24th (because we have a game on the 23rd) and leaving the 26th at 7 a.m.!!! I'm bitter about such a short break, but at least I'll be able to spend Christmas with my family. I know the Americans playing here in Italy won't be as fortunate, so I won't complaint anymore!

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Ticha: I know this sounds cheesy, but the best gift is ALWAYS to spend time with family and friends! I'm never home for too long, so when I have a chance to go, I really enjoy it! But when I was little, basketball shoes were always my favorite!

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Ticha: The best Christmas gift this year will be the arrival of a new Penicheiro. My brother's girlfriend is expecting and will be delivering very soon, so that is something I'm really looking forward to!

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Ticha: My favorite holiday tradition is the family reunion. Eating together, exchanging gifts, and being home relaxing and being loved by my family!! Plus this year, Magic (my black lab) will be able to spend Xmas with us, since I flew him to Portugal for the first time!!! ;-) It will be the first time that we are ALL together!! I can't wait...

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday meal?

Ticha: My favorite meal is anything and everything my mom cooks! In Portugal, it is tradition to eat codfish on Christmas Eve. And then all the deserts... yummy!

Happy holidays to all of you!


Sophia Young gets into the holiday spirit.
San Antonio Express-News
Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars

Dot-com: What are you doing for the upcoming holidays? And with whom are you planning on spending your free time?

Sophia: I will be going back home to the Caribbean (St. Vincent) to spend Christmas on the beach with my family.

Dot-com: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever gotten?

Sophia: My favorite Christmas gift was... a set of my favorite perfumes along with their body cream and shower gels.

Dot-com: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Sophia: What i want for Christmas is... I want to be in that "Jared" commercial holding a pair of diamond earrings and sending a text to my friend saying, "He went to Jared!" LOL. I really want those earrings.

Dot-com: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Sophia: My favorite holiday tradition is waking up early on Christmas morning, drinking hot chocolate and eating a cinnamon roll. I also love opening gifts and deciding which ones I'm returning to the store. LOL, just kidding. I'm very appreciative of all my Xmas gifts.

What's your favorite holiday meal?

Sophia: I don't have a favorite meal. I eat whatever is in the kitchen.

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