I ruined Santa's life and career by gifting him diseased raccoons in the Sims 4

This story was originally published in July of 2018.

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Last I checked in with the Sims 4 version of myself, I was attempting to create a red panda by breeding cats and raccoons with their own grandparents, which left me with six cuddly abominations of nature. I guess they turned out cute enough, but I essentially now live with a half-dozen filthy, chittering multicolored raccoons that I don't know what to do with (also, one dog). As I load up that saved game, the beach I was standing on with my noisy, mutated pets is now covered with snow. I'm trying out the Sims 4: Seasons expansion, which adds spring, summer, fall, and winter, along with new weather, activities, and holidays.

I frolic in the snow a bit, building a snowman as my dirty pets screech and chitter nearby, until I become so cold I look like a white walker from Game of Thrones. I'm heading back to my tiny hovel to warm up when I spot someone walking by.

A man named Clement Frost is strolling through the neighborhood. He's got a big white (well, gray) beard and gold-rimmed spectacles, he's a bit on the portly side, and he's decked out in winter-themed robes and a hat. 'Winterfest', the Sims' version of Christmas, is only a few days away. Surely, this Clement Frost character is just a barely disguised Santa (or Father Winter, as the Sims 4 calls him).

As I watch Clement gad about, I start wondering: what happens if I get to know him? Is he really Father "Santa" Winter? What if I date him and move in with him? Will he take me and my stinking raccoons with him when he spreads Winterfest cheer in the neighborhood?

I rush over and start talking to Clement. He doesn't seem to appreciate it, perhaps because he's currently chatting up an attractive redhead and I'm completely blowing up his spot. Sorry, Santa, there are important scientific fake-Christmas questions that need to be answered.

Clement and I quickly get to know each other, mostly due to me insisting we only talk about vampires. Santa is so receptive to talking about vampires that I start suspecting he might be one. It makes sense: he's immortal, he works at at night, he has enhanced speed and strength, he commands animals and has a loyal coven of enthralled minions—maybe the only reason he drinks milk is because no one has been thoughtful enough to leave out a glass of blood with his cookies on Christmas Eve.

Eventually, Clement starts to like me, and I'm able to lure him to my tiny hovel, which is rapidly filling with raccoon pee. After some light flirting on the couch, I've wooed him enough to ask him to move in with me, or more preferably, for me to move in with him. His house probably doesn't contain as much animal urine as mine does, unless he lets his reindeer on the furniture. Unfortunately, there's a problem.

Even though it appeared to be an option, the game won't let me move in with Santa. It lists him as 'Currently Not In World' (another clue he is an immortal blood-drinking Elflord) and no matter how I arrange the list of characters and assorted raccoons in the merge boxes I can't live with him. This is disappointing, but I do eventually discover I can add my cabal of stinky vermin to his household, which will be a damn relief to me personally. I also discover I can assign Santa to live in my hovel, while I take over a much larger house.

Will it ruin Christmas if I make Santa live in my tiny house with my garbage animals? I'm willing to take that risk, even if it's not the original question I set out to answer. There's another twist, though, as after I swap houses and pets I'm surprised to find that I can actually take over playing as Clement. So now I have another question: if I am Santa, what will happen on Christ-Winterfest-Mas?

As Santa, I attempt to settle into this new and depressing lifestyle, where garbage and raccoon pee pile up and where I can't sleep for more than a few minutes before some chittering creature jumps on the bed and disturbs me. Santa seems a bit blue about these new developments, so I call the only friend I have, which is unfortunately me, Chris, the very Sim who forced Santa to live in a shack and dumped a host of unwashed, unloved pets in his ample lap.

The only time Santa and Chris seem to get along is when they're trying to score with each other, so I continue down that path. I admit it's a little odd, playing as Santa and trying to bang myself, but even after getting undressed and into bed we only wind up bickering. We try going on a date that evening to smooth things over, but all of the smelly raccoons show up at the restaurant with us. Santa and Chris have an argument in the parking lot—I think I can guess the topic—and Chris storms off.

With Winterfest one day away, I take Santa back home and decorate the hovel with colorful banners, a tree, and a few small stacks of presents. Several of the raccoons have glowing red feet, which feels nice and festive until I realize it's actually the result some sort of horrible foot infection they've contracted. Chris visits for the holiday, thoughtfully bringing with him a bag of trash that he dumps on the front porch. In return I give him a Winterfest gift of a ham and cheese sandwich, which he recoils from before laughing in my face.

It's truly a wonderful, magical, and incredibly romantic Winterfest. Please enjoy the holiday spirit in the video below.

After the gift exchange, a few naps, and the traditional aimless carrying of plates of food from one room to another, I finally discover what happens when you take over one Santa's life: The Sims 4 simply dispatches another. 

Some guy named Hobart Lentz shows up that evening, dressed in the same outfit as Clement, adorned with the title of Father Winter. Lentz begins dumping stacks of presents next to the row of litter boxes in the living room.

As Santa, I feel usurped by this Lentz character, not to mention depressed at the state of my filthy house, the collection of diseased pets I never asked for, and what may be the worst best friend in history. It's go-time. I challenge new fake-Santa to a brawl. You can watch the holidopplegangers go at it in the video below.

To his credit, even though Lentz doesn't like me, he still hangs around after the lengthy fight, issues some jolly ho-ho-hos, lets me open presents, and even plays with the raccoons a bit before disappearing in a puff of holiday smoke.

That's the carefree, magical life I could have had, if only I'd never met that bastard Chris. I leave the raccoons to gibber in their own filth, go outside, and make a few snow angels. Merry Winterfest.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.