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‘Giving back really is just one of the greatest gifts’: Mets host annual holiday party for Queens students

Mets
Photo by Ethan Marshall

The New York Mets held their annual Kids Holiday Party on Thursday, Dec. 15, at Citi Field’s Piazza Club, where a total of 125 students from five local Queens Title 1 schools — P.S. 307Q, P.S. 110Q, P.S. 19Q, P.S. 13Q and P.S. 120Q — put on holiday performances and enjoyed lunch, games, trivia questions and gift giveaways.

Students from each school sang classic Christmas carols, including “Jingle Bells,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Feliz Navidad.” Before all the performances concluded, the kids were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Met.

Not long after all the performances concluded, Mets manager Buck Showalter, outfielder/head elf Brandon Nimmo and designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach joined Santa Claus (Todd Zeile) in coming out to greet the students. They were also joined by Mets owner Alex Cohen, Showalter’s wife Angela and Nimmo’s wife Chelsea.

Mets
Photo by Ethan Marshall

Each school’s students lined up and accepted presents from Santa and the Mets, while also getting their picture taken. But the Mets weren’t the only ones in a giving spirit.

Students from P.S. 120Q presented Buck Showalter with a picture they made in honor of him winning National League Manager of the Year for the 2022 season.

P.S. 120Q students show off their present for Mets manager Buck Showalter. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

For Nimmo, being Santa’s head elf was the next part of a very eventful day. Just a couple hours before joining the holiday party, Nimmo and the Mets held a press conference celebrating the signing of his eight-year, $162 million contract.

“It’s so great to be a part of this,” Nimmo said. “I’ve gotten to do this being an elf and being Santa. Being able to give back and seeing the kids’ smiles and how much they enjoy this day and just being able to give back a little bit is really such a pleasure. The work not only on the field, but off the field is so important by the Mets. Ultimately, we’ll be able to put smiles on the kids’ faces with me wearing a jersey out there and me wearing this elf costume in here. Giving back really is just one of the greatest gifts.”

Mets
Photo by Ethan Marshall

According to Showalter, Nimmo’s willingness to immediately go from that press conference to joining the celebration speaks a lot about him as a person.

Mets
Photo by Ethan Marshall

“He’s as good of a human being as he is a player,” Showalter said. “He’s not any different today. They didn’t have to talk him into putting that elf outfit on. This isn’t something different. It’s something [Brandon and Chelsea] have been doing since they got here.”

Zeile, who played for the Mets from 2000-01 and 2004, jumped at the opportunity to don the Santa Claus outfit at the Mets’ first Kids Holiday Party since the COVID-19 pandemic. This represented his latest contribution as an ambassador for the organization.

“Over the last five years or so, doing pregame and postgame [coverage] and getting myself more aligned with this organization, it’s been great to do things as an ambassador as well,” Zeile said. “It was an easy decision. To watch these kids smile and meet some of their heroes, you can’t get much better as a Christmas gift. I get as much out of this as the kids I’m here to visit. I think all of the guys here would agree that this is one of the best ways to spend some time before Christmas.”

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