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A mass gathering of costumed Santas and Santa Helpers that get together before Christmas in cities around the world.

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Santa Strikes Back!

  • Dec 23, 2009
So there I was in a taxi on a New York City street this weekend when about a dozen disorderly Santas crossed in front of me. Curious, I exited the cab to see what all the holiday festivity was about. My friend and I followed the rowdy Santas down a couple blocks when the Santa group suddenly stopped and all sang naughty Christmas carols outside of a local bar. We were temporarily lost in this bizarre Christmas miracle when a rival group of Santas rolled up across the street. I didn’t know if we were in for a Santa gang rumble or a Macy’s Christmas worker walk-out. Lucky for all of the impressionable children on the street that day, the opposing Santa mobs greeted each other warmly with hugs, generous pulls of liquor from their flasks, and quick, familiar chatter.
We walked toward the outskirts of the now very large Santa group to see what the deal was. The first Santa we approached knew our purpose immediately, shouting “Santa…Con!” at the top of his lungs.
SantaCon is the annual convention of boisterous Santa groups that typically get as inebriated as possible and head off into the city to carol obnoxiously, beg for complimentary drinks at bars, and cause a goodly amount of holiday mischief. There are a number of cities that play unwitting hosts to these extra-jolly Santas on a particular December weekend (usually determined by anonymous email chains). In cities like New York, there is an actual website dedicated to SantaCon with the naughty carols conveniently available in pdf form (nycsantacon.com or santarchy.com).
We caught up with the Santas around 3pm and it seemed like every Christmas-loving New Yorker with a Santa suit was pouring down the side streets to join this moving, massive Santa mob. There were plenty of other holiday costumes besides the typical male Santa: like, Female Santas, Reindeer, Chanukkah Chickens, Male Elves, Female Elves, Knight Rider Santa, Stewardess Santas, and Break-dancing Santas.
And as we followed the raucous reindeer and santa-rettes down Fifth Avenue, we finally found the North Pole! Or at least Washington Park, right near the NYU campus, with all the Santas & Co. falling in and out of the huge, drained fountain that is in the park’s center. It was holiday mosh-pit with all kinds of Santas laughing, singing, and drinking despite the frigid temperatures.
Amidst all of the holiday cheer, we actually ran into some Santas that we knew! Below are videos from my experience at the North Pole, as well as Flickr footage from other SantaCon's around the world.
It was lots of fun and I’m plotting a SantaCon in my city for next year. Stay tuned!

Santa Strikes Back! Santa Strikes Back!

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December 30, 2009
!!! I had no idea this even existed! Sooo funny. It looks like it was a mad house out there!
December 27, 2009
Too funny. That sounds like a fun sight to behold. I would even buy one or two of them one of those drinks they're bumming!
December 23, 2009
Haha, so awesome that you reviewed this!  I didn't know what Santacon was until a bunch of rowdy Santas took to the streets of San Francisco to go barhopping.  Actually, I still didn't really know what it was till I read your review .  Did you see a bunch of disheveled Santas staggering home the next late afternoon as I did? :P
December 23, 2009
They had this in SF a week or two ago but I missed it. Stewardess Santas? whoa! I am curious...Thanks for sharing Bethany! Your photos are showing up at work so I need to check this out at home.
About the reviewer
Bethany ()
Ranked #19
Hello Lunchers!      I am a contributing writer foran onlinelife and style website that highlights hot-spots in Minneapolis and Chicago. As such, I frequent many new boutiques, restaurants, … more
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SantaCon is a mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill.

Sometimes known as Naughty Santas, Cheapsuit Santas, Santarchy, Santapalooza, and Santa Rampage, SantaCon incorporates elements of a flash mob in the context of cheerful bawdy and harmless behavior, the singing of naughty Christmas carols, and the giving of small gifts to strangers.


In 1994, the Suicide Club in San Francisco staged the first "Santarchy", which was later adopted by the Cacophony Society as SantaCon. Influenced by the surrealist movement, Discordianism, and other subversive art currents, the Cacophonists celebrated the Yule season in a distinctly anti-commercial manner, by mixing guerrilla street theatre and pranksterism. SantaCon has since evolved, spawning many different versions and interpretations of the event throughout the world.


Santa Rampage 2004 (Austin)In 2005, a more violent version of the event occurred when on December 18, participants in Auckland, New Zealand, proceeded to start a small riot, with such criminal acts as looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards. At least two bystanders were lightly injured and three arrests were made. Alex Dyer, spokesman for the group, stated that Santarchy in Auckland was part of a worldwide phenomenon designed ...

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Culture, Christmas, New York City, Santa, Santacon, Street Theater, Santas, Holiday Events


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"Santa Strikes Back!"
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