Sometimes, as a young NFL player living on your own for the first time, you have to change up the game plan for the holidays.
Thankfully for Raiders rookie tight end Michael Mayer, his family drew up the perfect play for his first Christmas as an NFL player.
It helped that the Raiders’ bye week landed at a nearly perfect time.
Come this time next week, Mayer and his extended family will gather in Covington, Ohio, and celebrate Christmas.
“I’ll be home,” Mayer said. “Talking, hanging out. Have a fire.”
Mayer is one of a number of examples of how Raiders players are celebrating the holidays, including Thanksgiving this weekend and planning and preparing for Christmas.
The Raiders actually will be working on Christmas Day against the Chiefs in Kansas City. So creativity, including getting a head start on decorating homes, is a must.
Receiver Hunter Renfrow and his wife, Camilla, have a 3-year-old daughter, so Christmas is starting to take on a whole different vibe. That starts with being diligent with the decorations.
“The last couple of years, we’ve been early November,” Renfrow said. “So they’re definitely up.”
This year in particular, with their daughter playing a role in the process.
“She’s having a blast. She loves the lights and the ornaments,” Renfrow said. “And she finally has some responsibility, so you’re giving her little tasks. So it’s been fun.”
Mayer’s family traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate Thanksgiving with him. And even though they will have Christmas together in Ohio during the bye week, his mother, Amy, a noted holiday aficionado, will make sure Mayer’s home reflects the holiday season.
Mayer, as it turns out, beat her to the punch.
“I actually got a Christmas tree and some other stuff to decorate the house,” he said.
His mom will be thrilled, Mayer said.
“As a kid, putting up the tree with my mom and stuff, I did it all the time,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite things. She’s coming out, so she’s going to help me put up the decorations.”
Receiver Davante Adams was born on Dec. 24, but still wasn’t the biggest fan of Christmas Day as a kid. But now that he’s married and the father of two daughters, he is all-in.
“I definitely love that role that I get to play in their life, and watching them just develop every day is something that’s beautiful to me,” Adams said. “So, having this family time, having family around to be able to witness what I’m seeing every day is big for me.”
Jermaine Eluemunor and his wife, Christina, are expecting a daughter soon, so this will be their last Christmas together before becoming parents. Eluemunor is already looking ahead to being a Christmas dad.
“I’m already thinking about the things I’m gonna do with my daughter when she’s here,” Eluemunor said. “Being able to celebrate with her, and I know my wife is really excited about it, too, in terms of starting little traditions, the whole pajama thing and watching movies. Things you grew up doing, and now it’s cool because you can do it with your kid.”