Ah, Santacon. It’s that magical time of year when 4 out of 5 people on Manhattan’s streets are dressed in holiday garb and wobbling around in a less-than-sober-state. Some people love it; others dread it every year. For the former, here’s what you need to know about the spirited bar crawl, including some dos and definitely-do-nots. For the Santacon Grinches, we can help you have a great time too...by showing you how to avoid the Santacon craziness.
So what exactly is Santacon?
Each December, a Saturday is designated for a citywide bar crawl where participants dress up as Santa (or some other festive creature). The event has gotten so popular that on that day, you will likely see more “Santas” on the street than regular people. Yes, seriously!
This year’s SantaCon takes place on Saturday, December 9, beginning at 10 am. A $10 donation is required to get into the main Santacon bars, while other “unofficial” spots may have a cover. The starting location is revealed the night before (though sources say it might be The James A. Farley Post Office in Midtown), and you can follow SantaCon on Twitter for route updates the day of! There is also a new app you can download on the official Santacon website.
Dress up – The point of Santacon is to dress like Santa! Okay, most people would probably say the point is to day drink…but you know what we mean. Don’t be a scrooge!
Dress in layers – In case you didn’t already know, NYC in December can be extremely cold, even if it’s technically not winter yet. And as you may also know, crowded bars can get very hot. The best way to handle this is to dress in layers so you can keep warm outside without overheating later when you’re inside.
Be creative – Pretty much everyone will be dressed like Santa, so why not get a little creative? Some people also dress as elves, reindeer, snowmen, and other beloved holiday characters.
Pace yourself – Santacon is an all day extravaganza. You don’t need to do six shots at the first bar you get to.
Bring cash – It’s just easier for you, the bartender, and everyone waiting to order if you pay with cash rather than having to sign a receipt for every drink you buy.
Take pictures – Who cares about the people rolling their eyes at you? Take as many photos as you want…besides, there’s a pretty good chance at least one of your friends won’t remember the day at all, so photo evidence might be necessary.
Have the time of your life – Self-explanatory!
Be a jerk – This rule shouldn’t be necessary, but unfortunately many people don’t follow “The Golden Rule” at Santacon.
Be nice to your fellow Santas. Be patient with the bar staff. There will be a heavy police presence; don’t cause them any more trouble then they are already dealing with. Not everyone you come across wants to partake in the fun, so don’t be too obnoxious - especially to any unsuspecting tourists who have never heard of Santacon!
The jerks could ruin this event for everyone, so do your part to stay cool and we can all enjoy Santacon every year.
Pregame on the train – Normally, drinking on the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, and NJ Transit is allowed, but this is not the case for Santacon. Due to past rowdiness, alcohol is no longer allowed on these commuter trains on the day of Santacon (see what we mean by ruining the fun for everyone?). Keep your train beers at home!
Get sloppy – Don’t be that guy. Know your limits. One of the biggest complaints about Santacon is the abundance of public intoxication and all the trouble it can cause. Basically, try really hard not to throw up (or worse…) in the street or in the middle of the bar, and you should be good.
Skip out on the donation – That’s not cool.
How to avoid the madness
Santacon isn’t everyone’s thing. If you’re in the city and want to avoid it at all costs, follow these tips:
Follow the SantaCon Twitter (or sign up for texts) – This will tell you where NOT to go.
Hibernate during normal hours – Santacon starts at 10 am and tends to taper off around dinnertime. The streets (and all of your favorite bars) will be packed during these hours, so get everything you need to do done before then…or wait until the Santas have gone back to the North Pole around dinner time.
Actually… – There are some bars that BAN Santacon. If you need a drink on December 9, these will be your solace. Google and social media can help you figure out where to go.
Whether you are participating or not, have a very Merry Santacon Day!