2014 is the 20th anniversary of SantaCon! The first one was in San Francisco in 1994.
What is it? It's a convention of santas - groups of men & women dressed as Santa.
Why? Because it's fun.
Where is it? Everywhere. Look behind you. If you don't see Santa, check the Locations page.
A SantaCon is simply a gathering of people dressed as Santa and if it's open to the public we'll list it here on SantaCon.info.
Traditionally, SantaCon is free to attend, however, some events have costs that need to be covered and the organizers ask for a contribution. Others are held in support of a good cause and also have a mandatory contribution. SantaCon.info lists all SantaCons without prejudice.
On this website, we use the term "SantaCon" with a capital S and a capital C to refer to any public gathering of people dressed as Santa but the individual events go by many names as well as SantaCon such as Santarchy, Santa Rampage, Santa Crawl etc.
Guidelines * IMPORTANT *
The following guidelines are to help you and everyone enjoy SantaCon. They are not rules. SantaCon has no rules except that you must dress like Santa but if you take heed of the friendly advice below it will help keep you safe, warm and on Santa's Nice list.
- For the purpose of SantaCon, "Christmas" is the name of a popular secular holiday and has no religious connotations (much like the word "holiday"). This doesn't mean we don't respect religious views. It simply means that taking part in SantaCon doesn't imply you support any particular religion or doctrine. It's just silly fun.
- Dress up! A Santa hat alone is not enough. You don't have to dress exactly like Santa but the theme is red. That having been said, unusual interpretations of Santa-ness are often appreciated and Christmas trees, elves, reindeer themes etc. are all good.
- Have fun.
- Don't get drunk.
- Address your fellow santa as "Santa."
- Watch out for elves. Elves work hard for Santa all year and especially hard during the holiday season. Santa loves his elves except when they show up to his red-themed event dressed in green. Traditionally, elves are abused at SantaCon.
- Not all these guidelines should be taken seriously.
- Some of these guidelines should be taken very seriously. If you can't work out which ones they are then you are not intelligent enough to take part in SantaCon.
- Don't get drunk in public. Being drunk &/or disorderly in public will tarnish Santa's reputation. One bad santa can ruin things for an entire location because we're all dressed the same, duh. Also, it's an offense and will get you arrested. Remember that there is no "bail fund" for incarcerated santas and if you cross the line you'll be on your own. Don't be that Santa.
- If you do get drunk in public, you should get into a fight with other santas, get arrested as quickly as possible (before anyone gets hurt), be carted away in handcuffs and have the whole thing recorded on video for the evening news and Youtube.
- Santa does not make children cry. Does this really need to be said? Seriously, if you see kids, don't do anything to freak them out. Give them a nice smile and possibly a gift of some kind...
- Optionally, bring gifts: Nice things to give children; nice or naughty things for adults.
- Do not throw your gifts at anyone, especially if those gifts are raw Brussels sprouts.
- Santa dresses for all occasions. If it's cold outside, wear multiple costume layers. Dress to maximize merriment whether singing carols in the snow, or swinging from a stripper pole in a hot nightclub.
- Santa doesn't whine! Some SantaCons are supremely well organized and others fall apart within the first 5 minutes. Some involve a lot of walking. Sometimes Santa is turned away. It's all good fun if you choose to have a positive attitude.
- Santa does not mess with security. This includes the police. Security staff are there to ensure everyone's safety - it's an important & necessary job. Most venues welcome Santa but some security staff will see you as a potentially dangerous mob wearing disguises (which, let's face it, is probably true). If you are turned away, don't argue - just move on to somewhere Santa is more welcome and can have fun.
- Make sure you always tip the good people who are serving you. We want to be able to do this again new year so be polite and cultivate the goodwill of the local community.
- Please pay for your refreshments as you go. Santa gets tired of waiting on other santas to clear their tab before being able to move on. Ideally, this entire adventure should be cash only.
- No santa left behind! Don't think only of yourself - Santa cares about his fellow santas. Pick a few people you know and keep an eye out for them especially when it's time to move to another venue. If you don't see them, speak up so other santas know to wait a moment. Every santa should have at least 2-3 other santas they look out for and 2-3 that look out for them in turn.
- Stay with the group. It's not just a case of "the more, the merrier" - Santa is safer with large numbers of fellow santas and what one santa can't achieve (or get away with) is a possibility for a posse.
- Santa doesn't drink & drive. If you're going to drink you must make sure that you can get safely home without driving yourself. Check public transport, carpool with a designated sober driver, make arrangements to sleep over at someone's place etc. Organizers sometimes try to coordinate transportation for Santa - check the event details to find out if this is being done in your area.
- Santa doesn't talk to the press. Even "ho, ho, ho" is controversial these days. Seriously, no-one speaks for Santa - not you, not me, not even Santa. You can express your opinion but, since you're dressed like Santa, the media might treat it as Santa's opinion.
- Read these guidelines one more time.
- If you have reached this rule, it means you didn't get locked into a loop reading the guidelines over and over again as per the previous rule. You are therefore probably intelligent enough to take part in SantaCon!
- Have a very merry Christmas!
Adults only (mostly)
Unless it's very clearly stated for the SantaCon you're attending, you must assume that it's not suitable for children.
Family friendly (sometimes)
A SantaCon is typically an event that involves people all dressed in the same costume and being silly and probably partaking of some alcohol. Taking your family to such an event could be considered unwise for a plethora of reasons, most of which are obvious.
If the event info for the SantaCon you want to attend doesn't say that it's family friendly you must assume that it isn't.
However, some SantaCons are very community oriented, some cater specially to children, some raise money for good causes and some will even let you bring your pet. Some SantaCons are combination events suitable for different types of santa at different times. It's very important that you read the event-specific info to make sure you know when to show up and what to expect.
SantaCon is fun because Santa is jolly.
Santa being drunk/
Additionally, while most people welcome Santa with a smile, others can be somewhat intimidated. If anyone considers you to be a Grinch disguised as Santa about to steal their Christmas please don't argue or make a fuss, just politely move on.
Here is some Simple basic advice from Santa:
1) Dress appropriately. A Santa hat alone is not enough even if you're a nudist. Also, make sure you have enough layers to keep warm if it's cold outside and be able to remove some of them if you go to a venue that's very warm.
2) Get a fellow santa's mobile phone number in case you are separated from the group. Network with other santas and get their numbers ahead of time. Some SantaCon organizers provide one or more web/app-based services for locating the main group. Try to get as much advance information as you can.
3) Pay with cash. Just imagine if you're a server trying to keep up with dozens of tabs and everyone looks like Santa. It'll make life easier for you too because you won't have to tab out when it comes time to leave. Some of the places on Santa's list might be very quick stops - 1 hour or less - so running a tab could lead to time being wasted and you being left behind.
The first SantaCon took place in San Francisco in 1994 and was sponsored by The San Francisco Cacophony Society.
The original inspiration came from an earlier SF adventure club called The Suicide Club who's founder came up with the idea after reading an article about a Danish political who mobbed a Copenhagen Department store just before Christmas. However, the first American and all subsequent SantaCons around the world are non-political, purely surreal Santa prank events. Read the full story here
Check it out. It's SantaCon.info not .com. That's because it exists to provide you with info about SantaCon (simple really).
It is a directory/listing service and not directly connected to any particular SantaCon event.
SantaCon.info was founded in 2008 by Santa Ian (aka Websanta) to keep track of a few SantaCons in the eastern USA for himself and his friends.
As more & more people/santas found the site useful, Santa Ian decided to take on the bigger responsibility of running the site as a service to santas around the world. It's quite time-consuming but lots of fun.SantaCon.info is not a commercial site, however, Websanta is happy to host offers from companies provided they are for relevant products/
Organize a SantaCon
Firstly, please check the Locations page to see if there's an existing SantaCon near you (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and use Ctrl+F/Search).
It's always better if santas work together - the more the merrier - so we encourage you to pool resources if you find an existing event nearby.
If you don't find one, or if it's not planned, or even if there is one but you still want to organize your own then please take a moment to read the info on the organizers' page.