CHARLOTTE – Every December, a few extra packages show up in locker rooms around the NFL. They're more than the typical cleat deliveries or care packages from players' alma maters overflowing with swag.
These boxes were handpicked with care – specific presents gifted to players as a token of gratitude for their on-field performance. Sometimes they're given to a position group as a whole, like the Yeti coolers quarterback Kyle Allen gifted to the offensive line last week.
So, what goes in to picking the perfect present for the big guys up front?
"It seemed like a good, decent present that everyone would appreciate," Allen said. "Very O-line present. I know most of them would get a lot of use out of it. I just wanted to get something they would actually use, not something random."
For Allen, though, something else played a big part in his selection, too: price.
"The budget was important," Allen joked. "I didn't want to get anything too expensive, because your boy's still on rookie minimum."
For rookie left tackle Dennis Daley, the gift giving in the locker room is a new experience. Back at the University of South Carolina, Daley and his teammates weren't making the big bucks that allowed elaborate gift exchanges. That's why Daley will take whatever's handed to him by his teammates this year.
"I'm a very appreciative guy," Daley said. "I take whatever I'm given. I've always been like that since I was a little kid. So, I see this cooler, I'm taking it with me to Florida when I go on a trip. That's exactly what I'm doing."
So, with Allen handing out presents, does the O-line have to return the favor? Veteran right guard Trai Turner doesn't plan on wrapping anything up for the quarterback, instead, his present is quite simple.
"Protection," Turner said.
Allen isn't the only one playing Santa Claus in the locker room, though. Running back Christian McCaffrey's incredible season wouldn't have been possible without the Panthers' offensive line – and he knows it.
Last year, McCaffrey got the offensive line Big Green Egg grills to help keep them fed, but this year, he opted for something a little more out there. That's why he decided to treat the group, plus the tight ends and fullbacks, to their own personal Boosted Rev – an electric scooter capable of traveling up to 24 miles per hour.
"I figured they were good on anything food-wise, and then Kyle got them the Yeti, so they're good to stock up the food," McCaffrey said. "I figured I'd do something a little bit different. I hadn't seen anybody do it yet, so I got them the scooters."
Electric scooters may not seem as practical for a 300-pounder as a grill, but McCaffrey said the fun was part of what pushed him in that direction.
"That's half the reason I got them, too. It's a funny thought," McCaffrey said. "I just think the gifts are important. They do so much, they're the unsung heroes of every team in the league. It starts with them, so the gifts are very deserving for them."
Wide receiver DJ Moore thought he and the wideouts were deserving, too, but their lockers were empty on Tuesday morning.
"Don't even get me started on that," Moore joked after seeing the linemen get Yeti coolers last week. "We ain't get no gifts. It's alright though, I'll probably hook the receivers up with something."
Moore said that most position groups hold their own smaller gift exchanges, whether it's a White Elephant or just simply giving a teammate a present.
As far as the secret gift giving goes, edge rusher Mario Addison may have come out with the best haul on the team. Addison was lucky enough to have defensive tackle Gerald McCoy draw his name for the defensive line's Secret Santa exchange.
McCoy, who's known for his extravagant wardrobe when the team travels, surprised Addison on Tuesday morning with a few gifts that will help elevate his style.
"I'm a big Gucci guy and he's really not," McCoy said. "So, I got him a backpack, duffel bag and shoes. Who's really going to do all that? And then, he's an Alexander McQueen guy, so I got him some Alexander McQueen shoes."
By Addison's reaction, he was a fan of his new designer upgrade. That's because it was clear how much effort McCoy had put into finding the perfect present for his teammate instead of settling on something simple.
"My wife actually taught me how to be more thoughtful with gifts. I learned giving her gifts how to be more creative and thoughtful," McCoy explained. "With my gift to 'Rio, I just tried to think outside the box and not just get something traditional. I tried to make it where, even though this is a guy who can buy whatever he wants, with this gift he's still like, 'Wow, man. Really? You do care.'"
McCoy, always known for being positive in the Panthers locker room, sees the holidays as another opportunity to put a smile one someone's face, whether it's a friend, family member, stranger or defensive end.
"I always knew to honestly try and do more than you can do, because it's Christmas time," McCoy said. "We've been blessed this way. Even if you don't have it, you're blessing somebody else."