Celebrating Christmas with two crazy families…

This Holiday Season I’m channeling my inner Attic Elf and while I’m playing White Christmas on a continuous loop on my CD player, I want to  tell you the inspiration behind my favorite family, The San Valentino’s of Manhattan,

My parents split when I was an infant and both remarried. My parents are of Irish extraction, my stepmother the same. My stepfather, though, was first generation Italian/American. This made for some memorable Christmas get-togethers during my childhood.

Christmas Eve was usually spent with the Italian relatives, starting at around 4 p.m. with the first course of the Feast of the 7 fishes. Every hour on the hour for 7 full hours a different fish course was served by my Sicilian-speaking-only step-grandmother.And with every course, a new bottle of wine would be served, so that by the time my mother, stepfather and I left, most of the relatives were gluttonously full and three sheets to the wind drunk. It made for many an interesting evening, especially when they all started spewing in Italian just so my mother and I couldn’t understand what was being said. (P.S. most of it was about us!!!)

Christmas day was always spent with Irish relatives, starting with Midnight Mass Christmas eve,( and yes, we traveled to them as soon as the last fish course was finished on the Italo side.) and culminating in a day of drinking and eating. And when I say drinking I mean it in the purely alcoholic sense. Unlike with the stepfamily, my mother’s family consumed more booze than food. And they started drinking earlier, too. Like noon early. There would only be two courses for dinner, which was usually served at 5 without any food before that, because my Irish grandmother didn’t want any of us to spoil our dinners and eat too much before the meal was served. I never understood how she didn’t equate the falling asleep drunks at the dinner table with the lack of food to sop up the afternoon booze. By seven p.m. most of them would be passed out in various lounge chairs and couches, the Yule Log blasting Christmas music in the background to drown out the yelling coming from the kitchen where my mother, her mother, and my aunt would be fighting about….anything and everything.

From the time I realized my family was different from all the other families in my school I started asking Santa for a different family every year for Christmas. The number one item on my Santa wish list was : a family that didn’t fight, drink, or yell. I think I actually wrote that for eight years straight. When I never got the family I wished for, I stopped writing it down.

But I never stopped wishing for it.

It wasn’t until I was married and made my own family that my wish turned into my reality.

When I wrote my very first Christmas romance, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, I invented the family I wished for as a child. The San Valentinos are loyal and loving and they do fight – but only in the best sense of the word because they fight for each other, not against one another. I got my wished-for family twice: One, I married; the other I created.


Gia San Valentino is the beloved baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family. Family dramas, passion, and food rule the San Valentino clan, and Gia takes it all in stride, her family the touchstone of her life. But with Christmas fast approaching she longs for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to are all wise guy wanna-bes, with old world views on women – the pregnant and barefoot kind – just the type of man she’s trying to avoid.

When Gia lends a helping hand at her neighborhood parish’s Christmas Festival she meets a guy who has all her requirements for perfect-man status. Tall, sweet, good looking, and from a big Italian family of his own, it seems she might finally have found a man she can give her heart to. When a miscommunication has her believing he’s the new parish priest, her happily-ever-after hopes evaporate because he’s the proverbial forbidden fruit.

Or is he?

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Barnes and Noble // KOBO // Google Play

Question for Readers: Do you come from a Big family or a small one? I’ll be picking one reader who comments to receive an e-copy of A Kiss Under The Christmas Lights. Comment in the comments section and let me know!!

When I’m not writing about crazy families you can find me here : Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

And please visit these wonderful author blog sites for more Christmas in the Highway Cafe fun!

December 4
Holland Rae – https://hollandrae.com/
Susanne Matthews – https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/
Sorchia DuBois – www.sorchiadubois.com
Mariah Lynne –
December 5
Tena Stetler – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/
Maureen Bonatch – http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/
Peggy Jaeger – https://peggyjaeger.com/
Barbara Burke – https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/
December 6
Kelly Kalmanson – http://kkweil.blogspot.com
M.S. Spencer – http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com
Hywela Lyn – www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com
Reggi Allder – https://reggiallder.blogspot.com/
December 7
Denyse Bridger – http://www.fantasypages.ca
Clair de Lune – https://clairdelunebooks.co.uk/
Karen Blake-Hall – https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/
Casi McLean – http://casimclean.com/a-christmas-to-remember/
December 8
Darlene Fredette – http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com
Daryl Devore – http://daryldevore.blogspot.ca
Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com
Linda Carroll-Bradd – http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com



Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor

15 responses to “Celebrating Christmas with two crazy families…

  1. I’m glad you got your christmas wish Peggy! My family is mostly Irish, while the hubs is mostly Italian, so I can envision your holidays somewhat. Your book sounds wonderful and a perfect way to recreate the perfect holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peggy Jaeger

    Thanks, Maureen!! Families are always interesting, for sure!


  3. That’s a lovely story, Peggy.


  4. Donna Simonetta

    My heart breaks for little girl Peggy, but I’m so happy that grown-up you finally got your Christmas wish! Happy Holidays to you and yours, Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Aww, Donna – don’t be sad for me! I’m truly one of those people that believes everything that has happened in life has brought me to just this moment!


  5. Darlene

    Christmas wishes really do come true, just sometimes you have to wait a little longer to get them. A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights sounds good!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love families with texture! Makes for great stories. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is why writing is a wonderful release! I’m so glad you turned the memories into book fuel. Congrats on winning at life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting family. But you kinda got your wish as a grown up. Our backgrounds are so similar It’s scary. Except I married a Nother only child. Happy holidays and best of luck with your sale!


  9. I love learning about your family and growing up! (Those Italian feasts are real, I tell you!) I definitely see the big family in your stories and I’m so glad you got the chance to make the Christmas you dreamed of! All I can say is, anyone would be lucky to have you in their family! (Or their romance tribe!)

    Ha, I have the Jewish family, the Italian family and now the BF’s WASP family. Sometimes I’m happy when the New Year rolls around… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Holland – New year’s is a net neutral holiday, so I’m happy too!!!! And what’s that saying – our difference make us stronger… yeah, probably true.


  10. I’m so glad you got your wish in the end, even if not what you originally h


  11. Sorry, I didn’t mean that to go then! I was trying to say ‘even if not what you originally had in mind, as a child!’ I only had one sister, our mother died when I was ten years old and my sister and I were brought up by my aunt and uncle as well as my dad, so I sort of had three parents! Christmas was always a fun time and while we didn’t have a huge amount of money, we always had a lovely Christmas dinner and lots of gifts. My Christmas wish was to have a pony, but I was sixteen before my dream came true.

    Happy Christmas to you and yours!


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