Santacon NYC – From the East Village to Midtown, drunk Santas descend on the city on a Saturday in December. Everyone who participates gets in full Santa gear and drinks from 11am – 8pm. The rest of the city braces themselves hoping it ends as quickly as it started. And I was there for it all.
What is Santacon NYC?
According to the Santacon website, it’s a “charitable, non-commercial, non-political, nonsensical Santa Claus convention that happens once a year to spread absurdist joy.”
About 50 bars participate in the official bar crawls and each and every one of them are packed. This year I was among the Santas (well, she-Santa).
Going to Santacon
Actually I’ve done Santacon for three years now, so I’m a bit of a pro. Here’s how it typically goes.
Although its starts early in the morning, I haven’t show up until around 3pm. I’m not a morning person so there was no way I was getting up for that. You don’t have to go to the official Santacon bars either; you can go wherever you’d like. Just know that every bar that participates in Santacon is packed.
Plus, some bars showed how much of a curmudgeon they were by posting signs on the window banning Santacon people from entering. We personally were affected by this shade since it took us an hour in the wet snow this year to find a bar to go to. Honestly, I get it. Even so, it was annoying.
But overall, Santacon has been either a fun experience or a hellish one. I know a lot of people get annoyed by all the drunk people and try to stay as far away from it as possible, but like everything else in life I’ve found that it’s what you make of it.
Yes, the crowds are annoying. There has been no getting around that. Yes, we had to commit to drinking otherwise we would’ve hated everyone around us. But it also has been a random experience and I think worth joining in on at least once for those who haven’t.
If you go with a fun group of friends, it will be fun. I had an insanely awesome time the first year. The second year I didn’t like it. And then this year it was fun. So my experience with Santacon has been a mixed bag.
One of the things that would’ve helped the second year be more fun was if I had dressed up. I was lazy that year and didn’t, which defeated the whole purpose of Santacon. So I say if you’re going to go, go all the way.
Be silly, be goofy, don’t take it seriously.
Also, you don’t have to just dress up as Santa variants. You can be any holiday themed character you like.
Although I haven’t seen this yet, personally I think it would be funny if someone dresses up in a Hanukkah outfit. They’d be the only blue in a sea of red.
How Did Santacon Start?
Santacon has a bad reputation. Belligerent twentysomethings isn’t a fun sight for the average New Yorker. This is why people might be surprised to know that behind all the madness, it’s actually a Not for Profit, having transitioned to this in 2012. The event now raises money for local charities in NYC. But where and how did this crazy event start?
“Santacon began in 1994 as San Francisco’s Santarchy, a culture-jamming event created by the Cacaphony Society to point out the absurdity of America’s consumerist holiday traditions.” Funny how it started to mock consumerism but then kind of turned into that with excessive drinking and buying costumes you can only wear once a year.
Check here for more information on the official SantaCon route.