Like my family itself, our holiday meals tend to be large, loud, strange and funny.

One of the (too) many courses was a nice paella.

None of these gifts...

Or these gifts... were mine. No, Santa leaves his lumps of coal in the fireplace (not pictured).

Back at my house--i.e. not one of the mansions my family members live in-- atop my currently dormant, almost century old piano (which sounds duly haunted, especially when I'm playing something like Erik Satie's chillingly beautiful Gnossienne #4) right now rests my neighbor's son's goldish named Carrot. As you can see, my dog Flora loves to stare at Carrot! (BTW, my neighbor is an architect and excellent graphic artist--he makes the best Xmas cards ever! I intended to post this year's edition, but I'll wait till he picks up his kid's hopefully still-alive fish to ask for his permission).