In defense of SantaCon NYC 2013

So I survived a very extra snowy SantaCon 2013 in New York City! I just wanted to comment about this event because in the weeks beforehand, I heard and read a lot of criticism and I feel like weighing in.

For those who don't know what it is, SantaCon is a "non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason." Translation: it's a bar crawl (they say it's not a bar crawl, but in the purest sense, it is) that raises money for charity. 

I had a lot of fun at SantaCon and I saw hundreds of Santas, elves, snowmen (and women), reindeer, sugar plum fairies, and dudes dressed in big pink bunny suits. What I did not see was anyone acting belligerent, vomiting, or falling down drunk (okay I did see one Santa fall down, but I'm convinced that was because of the icy, snowy sidewalks - I almost slipped twice.)

I tipped well, I paced myself, I ate food occasionally... and I had a great time. I made new friends, caught up with some old friends, and didn't come in contact with any drunk assholes.What I did see was friendly Santas giving out candy canes and chocolates, taking photos with friends and strangers, having fun and being friendly. And regardless of whether or not you consider SantaCon to be a charity event... they did raise a shit load of money for charity.

I followed the "Santa Code" (the four Fs: Don't fuck with kids. Don't fuck with cops. Don't fuck with bar staff. Don't fuck with NYC.) and everyone else I saw did as well.

SantaCon could be better organized. I was annoyed when the website told us to pick up our badges at 9:30am at Webster Hall only to made to wait outside in the snow until 10:00am. (All for a badge that literally got you nothing lol.) The SantaCon mobile app was completely useless. And there's really no DJ that would make me want to go to Brooklyn. But overall it was fun.

There were definitely a ton of people out and at times it got too crowded to be comfortable (and long lines are especially annoying in the snow) but I honestly didn't witness any issues at the seven or so bars/restaurants that we hit during our day. Of course, I have to admit that I didn't stick it out until late at night like some people. After getting up at 7am and having my first drink around 10:15, I was really ready to go home by 5:30. My friends made fun of me for that, but my feet hurt and I was cold and tired. I was done drinking, but I could've stuck it out a few more hours if I wanted to... but my warm house was calling me. If it hadn't been snowing I think I might have lasted til 7 or 8.

I won't pretend that there aren't jerks who give SantaCon a bad name... but there are bouncers and cops to counter that. Any bar should feel free to have an Anti-Claus clause for the day, but you'd think they'd appreciate the extra money. (I certainly don't know any bar that does that kind of business on a Saturday afternoon so even with the percentage donated to charity, that's still a huge pull for one day.) Overall, the SantaCon I experienced was really fun and not at all what all the anti-Santas claimed it would be. So, hate on SantaCon all you want... but the majority of the Santas I saw were awesome.


No comments: