Naughty or Nice: You Decide!

Santa is counting on you to get this right.


The holidays are here again. My mom’s shipping a box of tasty treats from Buffalo for Chanukah this year, since I couldn’t visit. Items like Ted’s Hot Sauce, La Nova BBQ Sauce, and Weber’s Horseradish Mustard. Yes, Buffalo cuisine is more than just wings. We also have condiments!

A group of elves stare at you from across your desk. Normally, they’d be jolly and making rolling wooden duck toys – every child’s favorite – but right now they are anxious and impatiently grumbling. You stare out the window at the mountains of snow. You knew there’d be a lot of snow at the North Pole when you moved here for the gig, but wow, this is a lot of snow. One of the elves mutters, “Ohmygodhurryuuuuup” under her breath.

It’s 11:52 pm and Santa is scheduled to leave at midnight. On your desk are the case files of three “fencers.” They haven’t been officially classified as “Naughty” or “Nice,” and it’s your job to decide their Christmas fates. Santa cannot leave until you do. As you recap your situation for yourself, another two minutes pass. It’s 11:54 pm. Time to make some decisions. You examine the case files one last time, not wanting to take this decision lightly. As Chief Goodliness Examiner, your reputation is on the line…

Santa Worldwide Case Files


Age: 7

Desired Toy: LEGO Ninjago Bare Feet Destroyers Building Kit

Incident: Mason gave his teacher, Mrs. Buchowski, the nickname “Mrs. Butt-Cow-Ski” and it stuck hard. He wrote and drew a comic series about a cow that skis on its butt, a subtle satire of his teacher that received rave reviews from peers Emily and Liam. Mrs. Buchowski comes off as strict and gives her students a lot of homework, though it is worth noting that she is woefully underpaid and going through a bitter divorce this year. Mason’s parents have told him to apologize to Mrs. Buchowski, which he did halfheartedly. The comic is still on-going.

Click on Your Verdict: Naughty | Nice



Age: 5

Desired Toy: Science… For Girls!? Laboratory Playset

Incident: Jasmine eats cookies without her mother’s expressed consent. She builds towers with pots and pans, then climbs them to reach the Paw Patrol cookie jar on the kitchen counter, which creates a clanging mess when the pan tower inevitably collapses. Jasmine has a few counterpoints here. She notes that the cookies in question – oatmeal raisin – contain raisins and oatmeal, both of which Jasmine is allowed to eat any time she desires. Jasmine also claims the pan towers are teaching her vital engineering skills, and the cookies are merely “brain fuel” for her experiments. Her mother wishes Jasmine still couldn’t talk.

Click on Your Verdict: Naughty | Nice


Name: MAYA

Age: 2

Desired Toy: Stickers (Good Ones)

Incident: Maya hits. She is not supposed to hit. When her father told her not to hit last time, she said she was sorry, but she smirked. Then she hit again 20 minutes later, but when she was yelled at, she screamed and cried and said it wasn’t fair. Maya saw a cartoon rabbit hit a cartoon beaver on iPad and thought it was funny. She wants to hit, too!

Click on Your Verdict: Naughty | Nice


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Thank you! I started this newsletter to give out moats, and so far, I’m doing a halfway decent job.

Michael hacked into my heart and left me a kindness worm, which is spreading throughout my systems.

Remember that mobile game Sandship I told you about in May? The one I’m writing? Well, it won a Google Play Best of 2020 international award! Time to celebrate Sandship-style, by driving aimlessly through a hostile desert. Yay!

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Geoffrey Golden is a narrative designer for video games. He’s written for Capcom, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and indie studios around the world.