Gift wrap, Christmas trees, the North Pole, reindeers, a sleigh and even a cozy and warm fireplace. Ok sweethearts, fair enough, but let me tell you that you are missing all the fun. In fact, Santa can be also a joyful drinker, a crazy dancer and a hard partier. If that is your idea too…well, welcome onboard! I guess you’ve heard, seen or taken part in a SantaCon, haven’t you, bad boy?
SantaCon is a “non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.” Basically, it is an annual meeting, a few weeks (or days) before Christmas, where people dress up like Santa Claus and enjoy a full day of drinking and cheering. It’s a mass gathering that occurs all around the city: streets, squares and public spaces, as well as bars, pubs and dance clubs, everything is invaded by jolly Santas, gingerbread men, snowmen and elves.
Everything started in 1994 in San Francisco and now SantaCon is held in about 230 cities in 32 countries. One of the biggest (if not the biggest) SantaCon is in New York, so if you live there you definitely have to get ready for it. First thing to remember: you need to dress up, really. Just wearing a Santa doesn’t get you in the door. Every costume that is Christmas or Santa related is good and actually the more original you are the better. Of course, the traditional red and white Santa costume is just perfect. In fact, that’s the one I choose. I didn’t even need the fake Santa’s beard, I had my own. It isn’t white (not yet, luckily) but I thought that nobody would care that much.
The day (December, 10): Thousands (literally) of persons showed up around ten in the morning at the yacht basin of the World Financial Center. Pretty soon the crowd moved to the Financial District in the direction of the South Street Seaport where Santas got their reward for the long march: gallons, and gallons (and gallons) of beer.
From the balcony, the view of the area was impressive and as people continued to gather, a flood of red and white Santas took over part of new York. It was simply amazing, a fun celebration where everybody was just happy and playful. I was wondering how amazing it would have been to see this huge red spot from the sky…
In the early afternoon, after chilling out for a few hours, people took a long ride on the subway to get to Grand Central Station. SantaCon continued in the bars of Midtown and around the East Village, and before the end of the day we had time to stop in a club, four bars and…well, a strip club. After few hours, most of the Santas were dead drunk.
However, it is not fair to consider SantaCon simply a bar crawl: Santas donated over 6,000 lbs of food to the Manhattan and Brooklyn food banks during the event and several thousands of dollars were raised for Toys for Tots.
So, who’s your Santa now?