Tonight, I’m going to tell you about my favorite game when I was a kid.
It was called “Drunken Santa”.
You see, I went to one of those after-school drop-off places for kids who were too old for daycare but too young to be latchkey kids, run by the mother of one of my classmates, who basically just kicked the whole pack of us downstairs into her refurbished basement to play unsupervised for a few hours. It was pretty great.
We had a few set “games” that we liked to play, that consisted of us running through a basic script of events with a set of stock characters, but the most popular one, and the one I remember the most, was Drunken Santa.
One kid would play Santa, one kid would play Mrs. Claus, one kid would play the head elf, and one kid would play… the kid.
The premise of Drunken Santa was that Santa Claus was a hopeless alcoholic, and it was the night before Christmas. Mrs. Claus would warn Santa not to get drunk and ruin Christmas for all the boys and girls. Santa would promise her that he wouldn’t drink, but she wouldn’t believe him, so she’d send the head elf along to keep an eye on him.
Sure enough, as soon as the sleigh took off, Santa would pull out a flask and get drunk, leading to a scene of Santa drunkenly steering the sleigh to and fro. He’d pull up at the first house and go down the chimney to deliver a present, where he’d inevitably wake up the kid with his loud, drunken stumbling about, and the head elf would have to do damage control and try and talk the kid back to sleep. After that fiasco, the head elf would decide that everything would run much smoother if he did the rounds himself, so he’d take over toy delivering duties from Santa from then on.
Once Santa arrived back home, Mrs. Claus would be so furious at him for getting drunk and almost ruining Christmas for all the boys and girls that she’d beat him with a rolling pin.
This was a real game that we really played, over and over, with different people in the roles each time, though some people gravitated to some roles more than others. Once the woman who ran this after-school place found out about the game, she tried to forbid us from playing it, but we kept playing it anyway.
I’m not sure what the point of this story was, except to say that kids are weird and have different ideas about what’s “appropriate” than adults do, and don’t let anyone tell you different.