We’ve all heard that old expression, “Home is where the heart is.” For Valerie Bertinelli, the award-winning actress/author/chef — whose new book Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share will be available April 2024 — spending Christmas with loved ones is where the heart is.
“It’s been years since Wolfie has moved out on his own,” Valerie says, speaking of her son Wolfgang “Wolfie” Van Halen, frontman for the band Mammoth WVH, during a intimate interview with Woman’s World for our recent holiday issue. “We don’t have the same traditions that we used to have. We just try to get together.”
Since Wolfie is on the road touring a lot — like his father, the late Eddie Van Halen — Valerie says they often celebrate holidays in whatever city he’s performing in. “So basically the tradition is to go wherever the family is and then the food will develop around that,” Valerie says of holiday meal planning. “Christmas is about being around the people we love.”
Growing the family
This year will be Wolfie’s first Christmas as a married man. He wed longtime girlfriend Andraia Allsop on October 15 at their Los Angeles home surrounded by 90 friends and family. “He found the perfect woman. She’s just delightful. I love Andraia,” Valerie enthuses.
“And I just love and adore Wolfie. I love what a kind, thoughtful, funny human he is. It’s weird that I have a 32-year-old son,” Valerie smiles. “Life goes by in a flash.”
Valerie Bertinelli shares her favorite Christmas memories
Valerie has fond memories of Christmases of her son when he was a child. “I would put Wolfie to bed and then I would spend all night wrapping the gifts until about two or three in the morning,” she recalls with a smile. “Of course, he would wake me up at five. Ed [Van Halen] would help me most of the time, or sometimes he was up in the studio writing songs.”
She also has fond memories of her childhood and how hard her parents worked to make Christmas special for their kids. “My dad always put the tree up while all of us kids slept,” says Valerie, who was the middle of five children. “We’d wake up to a tree and gifts and I just think my parents were crazy to do that. That’s so much work.”
One special Christmas tradition she has always loved is hanging Christmas stockings. “We always had stockings by the fireplace. I had needlepointed Wolfie a stocking. I started right before he turned five and it took me eight months to make this stocking. I’m looking at it right now because I think it’s about time I give it to him since he’s 32,” she laughs. “I want to do one for his wife also. I want to get back into needlepointing and make her a beautiful stocking so they can have them together.”
No matter where their stockings are hung, Valerie says it’s just being with people you love that makes Christmas special. “It’s just being with family. We’ve had many Christmases when we weren’t at home. Wolfie and me and Ed used to go to Park City [Utah] all the time because one of my brothers lived up there. We would always just make Christmas wherever we are. I have pictures of me and Wolfie picking out a tree in the lot that we would always go to in Park City.”
Food and football were also part of their laid back Christmas celebrations. “For us, it’s all about waking up and eating together,” Valerie says. “I used to make sticky buns [find her recipe here] every morning for Christmas, have coffee and sit around and open gifts and then watch some football. I haven’t done that in a while because whether we’ve not been home or for whatever reason but maybe this is the year I start making sticky buns again for Christmas morning.”
How Valerie makes the Christmas spirit last
No matter what is on Valerie’s table, it’s a sure bet love and gratitude are always on the menu. “I wake up every morning just saying, ‘Thank you, just thank you.’ It’s that simple,” she smiles. “Every single solitary morning when I open my eyes and I come downstairs and let my dog Luna out to take her morning pee, I will find the sun whether it’s behind the cloud or not and I will just look up at it, straighten up and just say ‘Thank you’ out loud. So that starts my day — gratitude.”
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