So there’s this thing every year called SantaCon. Apparently it happens all over North America but the biggest one is the New York Santacon. The SantaCon site says there’s one in Vancouver, but I’ve never seen it. I’m guessing 50 Santas don’t get noticed quite like two thousand. Here’s a snap I found on Flickr from a SantaCon in New York a couple years ago.
The one thing you can’t tell from that photo is that they’re all drunk.
Basically, you show up in a Santa suit (or equivalent festive attire; elf, wrapped present, tree, Hanukkah Harry, sexy ms. Claus, etc) and then the mob of Santas and Santa-like folks wander from bar to bar, led by some mysterious Santa leader who somehow leads without pointing him or herself out to the crowd. Somehow, the mob knows when and where to move on; some Santas wander off and say “We’re going here!” and the rest of the mob follows. Word passes from Santa to Santa and when the herd arrives at its new destination, they simply take over every bar in the area until the mob decides to move on again.
I decided it looked like a whole lot of fun so I decided to give it a whirl!
My take on Santa has a felt lined fez and he’s sporting a collectible mug. Which is reusable, see. I just had bartenders fill it up. I’m all about the environment.
I got a bit of a late start; I missed the kickoff at 6th Ave & 33rd Street and heard via Twitter that someone had spotted the mob at Grand Central Station. I loaded my costume in a bag (I didn’t really fancy taking the bus by myself it in) and bolted up 6th above ground (for a change) keeping my eyes open for red felt and white trimmings. I didn’t see any, so I jumped on the 7 Train to Grand Central and sure enough, as I came up the escalator my first sighting was Santa Elvis, who told me that the new destination was the South Street Seaport. I chummed up with a few other Santas and we hopped off the subway together. Two of the girls in my new little group needed to hit the bathroom at Burger King once we surfaced near the seaport, so while they were doing that I clambered into my suit. Soon we were back on the streets and I was Santa’d up!
Walking toward the Seaport it was obvious something was up. People must have thought they had stepped into the twilight zone. If any kids under 6 spotted this scene, I would have LOVED to hear their parents explain exactly how and why there we so many damned Santas.
Here’s what 2,000 Santas taking over a major tourist destination looks like.
There’s a couple of bars near the seaport – they were absolutely MOBBED. One of the guys in my group knew of a smaller bar a block away, so we wandered down to that.
I hung out with a guy named Adam and his friend Mike (or was it Matt? I can’t remember) and Adam’s sister, a friend of hers, and basically anyone else who was with a 5 foot radius of the rickety table that was holding the sea of 32 ounce foam cups holding all our beer. Well, THEIR beer, anyhow. TikiSanta doesn’t roll with the beer.
My camera sucks inside (it’s SO time for a new one) but I did manage to find these photos on Flickr of two of the girls who were at our table, which was pretty wild considering how many people were there!
These girls had these… belts. Both of them fancied Adam quite a bit.
Obviously we’ve had a few drinks and we’re all become big fans of Neil Diamond. Recognize the girls from the top photos? The one in the silver hair must have been six foot three. If she’s Santa, you don’t want to have been naughty this year, because she’d have no trouble breaking you in half.
I did a few good hours at the bar, and then hopped in a cab to get to another party. Before doing that, Santa decided to stop off at Gray’s Papaya and have a few hot dogs.
Oh, you may recognize the belt from the above photo? That’s right, Santa can drink a shot of Jack Daniels faster than the previous owner could, and I’ve got the belt to prove it, thank you very much.
You can’t out-drink TikiSanta, ladies.
From there I went to a very “grown up” party at my friend Tosca’s mother’s house (where everyone thought I was a total loon). I met a co-worker there and we did the rounds at that party for a while and I decided that Santa needed to switch to Ginger-Ale for a bit before he fell down and broke his nose. Well, that lasted about an hour, then my friend from work and I and one of the guests from the “grown up” party wandered off to a bar where I was the only Santa in the joint (and boy, did people think that was odd).
Santa ended up walking home… down 3rd Ave at 27th street or something to 14th street, then along 14th to 6th Ave. That’s a pretty busy stretch of road, and let me tell you, it’s a bit odd walking it in a Santa suit. You just keep smiling and tell people they’re getting ponies for Christmas when they look at you funny.
…which was taken right before I stopped into the bar near my house for a couple more bourbon sours (I never did manage to get that slice of pizza from Ray’s – the bar was right across the street and it looked more interesting).
We’ll see you at SantaCon next year – it’s way, WAY too much fun to miss.