The Creepiest Christmas Ever

The eight gathered every year at the little villa on the outskirts of the Aventine. They were robber barons, spies, art thieves, and deposed dictators. Together, they feasted on oysters, quail, sweetbreads, and tangerines while bitterly recounting tales of foiled schemes and dastardly deeds. The evening always ended with a drunken rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” a group photo ‘round “der Weihnachtsbaum,” and an attempted murder. (Arsenic was a particularly popular method). Mr. Kempner (bottom left) was this year’s chosen victim. Seconds after this photograph was taken the doll exploded (a “gift” from Frau Liselotte, center). Laughing years later over the memory of such homicidal hijinks (at least we think it was laughter; it was hard to tell due to his now necessary prosthetic jaw), Kempner fondly recalled, “Oh, I’d been slowing killing them all for years via the tainted tangerines.”*

*Actual notes written on the back of the photograph: “Weihnachten, 1902. Roma, in Casa Keinjour. Mr. Kempner – art dealer who supplied Uncle Guido. Also sent box of tangerines to Liselotte every Xmas.” You just can’t make this stuff up.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The Sanders Family gathers for their annual Christmas celebration of 1905. The patriarch of the clan, Wayland (pictured in the back row, third from the right) shares a private smile with his grandson Harland (the photographer). The Sanders family has a long tradition of chicken farming in the south. They have long been known for their exceptional family recipe for fried chicken. This "secret recipe" is passed through generations, but Wayland has just revealed to the group in the photo that he will bypass this "ungrateful" generation of the Sanders family and settle the secret on young Harland only. Soliciting the young Harland will result in exclusion from the Sander's estate in his will. Their dinner that evening? Fried Chicken.

    Thus is the dark past behind KFC.

  3. The tangerines were Sanders' idea of hush money. It seems that Liselotte was notorious for sharing family secrets...and exploding dolls.

  4. Dear Louise ... another predictable Christmas with the gang. Since I'm the only woman, I get stuck with all the cooking and washing up. The men are content with decorating the tree and opening presents. This year, Ivan (far left, standing) stuck tinsel up his nose and thought he was oh so clever (you can see it falling out of one of his nostrils in the photo). Alfred (far left, seated) insisted on bringing that tramp Dolly with him -- of course she had to sit on his lap for the photo (and she says that hair is real!) She's just so irritating with that painted-on smile and Alfred thinks she's so fragile and lovely. The only high point of the entire day was the little half-dog that Alfred also brought along (shown in his left arm). He was so cute, just a bit slow to keep up, but we carried him most of the time. I'm holding Claude's arm, a you can see, so he will stop pinching my bottom! Hope your holidays were better than mine.

    Love to the family,


  5. Every Christmas young Dr. Freud (back row, second on the right) threw a party for his fellow scientists, usually with disastrous results. Sadly, this year was no exception. Oh, Dr. Schnable tried his best to entertain the group with his regretable ventriloquist act, even adding a "talking" dog this year, but no one was amused, except Frederich on the far left. He laughed until milk came out of his nose, much to everyone's disgust. Frau Freud bravely tried to overcome the animosity between Jung and Skinner by physically pulling them together, but only succeeded in backing into the Christmas tree, which fell over on everyone and set Johann ("Uncle Guido") Schultz's hair ablaze. "Never again!" declared Dr. Freud, "I'm done being nice to you bunch of Father-hating, mother-loving sissies!Next Christmas Frau Freud and I will spend the evening alone with a nice cigar."