The Facinelli Five's Merry Morning!

12/24/2009 at 05:00 PM ET

On Christmas morning Peter Facinelli and his wife, Jennie Garth, look forward to the moment when their three daughters burst through their bedroom door around 7 a.m., crawl across the covers and announce it’s present time.

“They try to let us sleep in, but they’re so excited they can’t wait,” says Jennie. “They look so innocent, excited and full of expectation.” Adds Peter of the girls’ pure joy: “Their faces are lit up like no other time of year.”

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Call it the Facinelli Christmas Glow — which sparks from a love for the holidays that they couple have handed down to their daughters Luca Bella, 12, Lola Ray, 7, and Fiona Eve, 3. “Holidays were always important to my family,” says Peter, 36, who wants to pass down the same lesson that he learned from his Italian immigrant parents about the Christmas season. “It’s about being together and celebrating.”

Lately quality time for the Facinelli Five has been fleeting: The New Moon actor spent this past fall shuttling between the Vancouver set of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse — the third chapter of the wildly popular vampire series, due out next summer — and New York City, where he films his hit TV drama Nurse Jackie opposite Edie Falco.

In the meantime, Jennie, 37, has been holding down the fort at their L.A. home, juggling their daughters’ car-pool schedules and her gig on the CW’s 90210. But this year the holidays have reunited the entire clan in their own L.A. zip code, where Peter’s main focus is recruiting his daughters to help outfit their colonial-style home with decorations ranging from Santa pillows to singing Christmas trees.

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“I want to make sure I’m there with my kids,” says Peter. “They grow up quickly, and I want them to really experience each holiday. So we make sure every one of them is filled with joy and love.”

And plenty of fun. As soon as his daughters open their eyes on Christmas morning, each discovers a new snow globe awaiting them. “Santa leaves them in their room by their heads,” says Jennie.

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The little Facinellis then flock together before descending upon their sleeping parents and dragging them out of bed. “We come downstairs in our jammies,” says Jennie, “and we light a fire even if it’s hot outside.”

But not before the bed-headed bunch surveys the area around the fireplace where a certain Mr. Claus usually leaves an untidy trail — much to the delight of the actor’s daughters.

“He leaves dirty soot footprints and cookie crumbs everywhere!” Peter says of their annual visitor, who devours homemade sugar cookies that the girls put out the night before. “The reindeer are very messy too,” adds Jennie. “They always leaves carrots all over the place!”

All is forgiven once Luca, Lola and Fiona add to the mess as they attack their own towering piles of gifts. “There is the ruckus of paper-ripping and boxes being thrown about,” says Peter. “Peter’s hands get numb by the end of the day after opening so many plastic packages,” adds Jennie.

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The scene brings the actor back to the Christmas mornings he spent with his three older sisters and boisterous extended family growing up in Queens. “I have memories of ripping open presents,” recalls Peter.

A thousand miles away, Jennie’s holidays were much more serene on her family’s sprawling farm in rural Illinois. “I can remember riding horses in the snow,” says the actress. “It was idyllic, and the essence of Christmas was everywhere.”

The same could be said for the Facinelli family room once all their Christmas loot is unwrapped. “We tear through everything until it looks like a bomb went off!” laughs Jennie. But even though they’re surrounded by scraps of ribbon and wrapping and half-opened boxed bursting with assembly-required toys, “there’s such a peaceful feeling about the day,” says Jennie. As Peter puts it, “It’s heaven.”

Source: PEOPLE, Holiday issue

— Elizabeth Leonard

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 41 comments

Sarah on

Beautiful family!

shirab on

those girls are gorgeous and peter is not bad looking himself! jennie is one lucky lady! merry christmas to this great family!

Clair on

such a gorgeous loving family.

Leigh on

What a beautiful family they have!!!!

Charlene on

I love this family! Peter is obscenely attractive, Jennie is charming, their kids are sweeties and they have great values. Also, is it just me or does anyone else think that Luca bears a striking resemblance to Leelee Sobieski? I wished i looked that pretty in braces when i had them!

Amy in Oregon on

Such a beautiful family, Love the footprints and cookie crumbs everywhere!

mom to 3 boys on

sounds like a good old fashioned ‘fun’ Christmas. LOVE the family bed picture. SO cute. I want to do a family pix like that one day too.

Alice on

They are all absolutely gorgeous. i want to hug little Fiona on that first pic and how sweet is the one of the three sisters hugging!!?

Milla on

omg all the pics are so awesome but look at the last one! fiona looks so cute! πŸ™‚

Gina Nicole on

Cute…but the picture looks very airbrushed.

Elizabeth on

I love this family so much! They are so adorable!

Morgan on

i think the snowglobe thing rocks!! i always got music boxes! but i must admit…i’m 21 and i wake up at 5am on xmas morning every year lol…

Mimi on

awww. this is sooo sweet/beautiful picture! i love them ❀

camillee on

how old is peter?? He looks so young on the first photo! And very good looking, by the way πŸ˜€ lovely family, beautiful girls πŸ˜€

Jaxson on

This is like the cutest family ever

Shannon on

Gorgeous family!
Merry Christmas everyone

Blue on

Aaaw…I love Fiona. πŸ™‚

Erica on

Beautiful family! love them, they’re right next to the Smiths’ in my book πŸ˜€

mrsh on

They seem like a really great family.

Stef on

They are sooooooooo adorable, Happy Holidays to the Facinelli5!

RaisingChild on

I love them!!!!!

All Women Stalker on

Beautiful photos! So do they have like photo shoots every week?


emma on

very cute family. the cookie crumbs and carrot bits sounds messy–i’d hate to clean that up! i wonder if the younger one really believes that santa and reindeer leave that mess?! and i’ve never heard a man talk so joyfully about a holiday, have u ? πŸ™‚

Linda on

Lovely family… such beautiful girls! ❀ Facinelli!

Chelsie on

These photos are sooo adorable! Little Fiona in that last one… too cute!

janie on

So did they actually have a photographer in their bedroom taking pictures? A bit strange.

Sheri Kendle on

Absolutely stunning family and pictures. I hope one day I have a family like that!

Christina on

camillee, Peter is 36.

jessica on

i love this family is great

Brooklyn on

What adorable photos! Such a beautiful family!

cassie on

LOVE this family

Brianne on

I could just gobble Fiona up! She’s adorable!!! Good looking family!

LadyL on

Absolutely gorgeous family….sweet story. Can’t wait to see Carlise in action again hehe!

CelebBabyLover on

janie- Well, did you think it was strange when Angelina and Brad did the twins’ first photoshoot on their bed (and hence, in their bedroom)? If not, then I don’t see why you find this so strange. πŸ™‚

Shannon on

Awwwww, what a sweet and loving family! Peter is so gorgeous, and I love the way he talks about his family-you know where his priorities are! That shot of the three girls together is absolutely precious!

What is with these Twilight guys being such awesome family men? LOL!

Carly on

What a beautiful family. So sweet.

MommaB on

Really the most down to earth Hollywood Family – Love Them – I have three girls too, and truly think it’s blessing to have the chance to raise beautiful women too!

Terri on

Love their Christmas traditions! They must have bedrooms full of snow globes!

Jeni on

What a beautiful family!

Tracy on

I’m sure there was a bed set up at their photo shoot. It probably wasn’t really at their house.

CelebBabyLover on

Tracy- You’re probably right. I remember seeing a video on PEOPLE of a photoshoot that Christina did for the magazine with Max a few months back. That photoshoot, like this one, took place on a bed. However, it was very clear in the video that the bed was in a studio, and not actually in Christina’s house.

Therefore, I agree that it’s very likely it was the same for this photoshoot.