During the recent holiday season, GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Matt Marraccini (Jesse) returned to his native Pittsburgh to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day with family and friends. The trip prompted Marraccini and his folks to break out the family photo albums. Here he shares some memories from Christmases past.
The Real Karate Kid
“I have no idea how old I am here, maybe 5 or 6,” Marraccini chuckles about his Christmas Day outfit. “I think it was from the time when Ralph Macchio [The Karate Kid] was a star and I was doing backflips off the couch [laughs]. I wanted Miyagi to be my dad or my granddad. I wanted to say when I first saw it that it was a Halloween costume, but those Christmas decorations in the background prove that it wasn’t. I thought my mom mixed in a Halloween picture, but she’s like, ‘No, look — it’s Christmas.’ I hope that phase didn’t last long, but I can’t be sure.”
Santa’s Little Angels
Marraccini and his sister, Brooke, open presents on Christmas morning. “I honestly don’t remember how old Brooke and I are in those pictures, but you like those holiday jammies?” he laughs. “I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m giving these to [Soap Opera Digest]. Anything for a good laugh.’ I’m actually wearing pajama pants right now,” he reports during our phone conversation from home. “Not as cool as those, but I’m wearing them. I guess I haven’t grown out of that phase yet.”
“That’s the University of Pittsburgh Panthers,” Marraccini proudly remarks of his holiday attire. “In fact, I think my sister still has that sweatshirt. That’s where my family is and always has been and I think always will be. My whole extended family is there [in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area].”
Regarding the family tree, Marraccini notes that growing up, “We always had a fake tree, until [he and Brooke] were older. Then my dad and I would go and cut a tree down. That lasted for about two years. Then my mom and dad got sick of having to clean up the needles that would always fall off, so they were like, ‘We’re going back to the artificial tree. It smells nice, but we’re sick of cleaning up after it [laughs].’ ” Regarding the decorations, “Brooke and I always brought home ornaments we made in school. Our tree was always filled from top to bottom with everything — ornaments, candy canes, berries, beads, lights, snowmen, reindeer. It was like Santa Claus threw up on the tree [laughs]. Christmas morning we’d come down and my parents would have cookies and milk, and the stereo playing Christmas music in the background. It was great.”
The Family Marraccini (from l.): mom Linda, Matt, dad Lou and Brooke.