Every year, Santacon sees hundreds of Saint Nicks take over London. The anonymous organisers speak out about the increasingly unruly event, and ask all Santae to ho-ho-hold back a little…
Yes, that’s right: the plural of Santa is ‘Santae’. If you use an ‘s’ it sounds rubbish. Anyway. We started Santacon in 2000 as a little pub crawl. It was all about getting together for a few drinks, so that us Santae could spread Christmas cheer.
We like good natured mischief, and the event would always be full of santics (Santa antics). We’d see how many of us could fit into a phonebox. We’d use our bodies to spell out words on the floor. We’d see how many Santae could pour into Selfridges before the security guards ejected us. There was a lot of silly fun and Christmas spirit. Okay, and some Christmas spirits.
By 2004, the event attracted about 200 people. Then it started doubling year on year. It was magic: a sea of red as far as the eye could see. You’d be walking around going: ‘All right Santa!’, ‘Santa!’, ‘How are you, Santa?’
People started flying in from abroad. Couples found love at Santacon – one Santa proposed to another and now they turn up to the annual event with a baby Santa. We saw zombie, robot and Darth Vader Santae.
But then troublemakers started to creep in. Last year, when 3,000 people turned up, we had to ask people not to bring sprouts, because some Santae were using them to pelt each other quite aggressively. And the elves (it was a definite elfin safety issue).
Things went sour outside the City’s One New Change shopping centre: a security guard was getting anxious because we were doing the hokey cokey. But then some Santae went and started ripping plants out of the pots. It really sleighed us.
Every Santa is equal, so we can’t tell people what to do. But being Santa isn’t about being aggressive or endangering yourself. It should be about merry mischief-making. About handing out toys to strangers. About trying to see how many Christmas trees you can hug in a day. About yelling ‘What do we want? CHRISTMAS! When do we want it? NOW!’
This year, we’d like to appeal to all Santae: be friendly. Ask yourself: do you have a ‘designated Santa’ who will help you get home? Where are you going to vomit? Are you a safe Santa? Everything you need to know to be the best Santa is on the Santacon website. Check it out. That way, thousands of us can all be very merry. By which we mean ‘drink booze’. After all, ’tis still the season to get trollied.
Satan Santa, Rock Santa, and Don King Santa
On behalf of Santacon Steering Committee