What is Santacon?
It is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious celebratory parade of Christmas cheer, goodwill, and fun. It is not a membership organisation, just a traditional event in London, created by whoever wants to take part. Originally called the Santathon it was changed to Santacon due to the similarity with other events of that name taking place in other cities. Nevertheless there are customs, and veteran Santas have put together this evolving guide of how to make it work well. There is no particular reason to dress up in Santa suits, run around town, give gifts, sing songs, have strangers sit on our laps, and decide who is naughty or nice - but it’s a lot of fun - so Santa does it anyway. Everyone loves Santa and Santa loves everyone!
- Be Jolly. Be nice. Do not throw things at people or elves. Watch out for racism, homophobia or any other kind of abuse and step in to help when needed. Santa is inclusive and Santa loves everyone.
- Christmas apparel is mandatory. A Santa hat is not enough. Get a Santa suit. Buy a Santa suit. Make a Santa suit. Customise a Santa suit. Be creative. If you don’t have any creativity, slap yourself three times and ask your mum to help you. Glue cotton balls to red long johns, utilise Christmas decorations, whatever. Already have a Santa suit? Bring spare parts for the Santaﬁcation of strangers.
- Twisting the Christmas paradigm until it screams for mercy is fun! Getting arrested is not. Santa is friendly, respectful, and cooperative with police, security guards, horse guards, MI5 agents, and shop and bar staﬀ, and does NOT break any laws!!! Have your own special surreal fun, but DON’T F*CK IT UP FOR THE REST OF US. Santas do not destroy property, steal merchandise, or do harm to others. The authorities and local businesses usually take Santa’s antics in the loving, festive spirit that Santa intends, if we are nice to them.
- The "route and schedule" is open to liberal interpretation by Santa at all times. There is no head Santa in charge to call. If you can’t show up for the start or get lost, get the mobile number of someone who can help you catch up later. Depending on the year there may be guiding Santas, ﬂags to follow or some technological Santanav system, or you may wish to come up with your own idea to help Santae ﬁnd their way.
- Santa dresses for all occasions. It’s December. Smart Santas wear layers. Dress to maximize merriment whether singing christmas carols in the snow, or dancing manically in the shopping centre.
- Santa doesn’t whine! We will be outside much of the early day and covering a lot of ground on foot – bring a bottle of water and enough "snacks" to keep your pie-hole ﬁlled until we get indoors.
- Bring small gifts – NAUGHTY gifts to give grown ups; NICE stuﬀ to give kids. Visit a pound shop, wrap up coal, sweets and brussels sprouts; Santa loves stickers, hug vouchers and mistletoe.
- Watching Santa get drunk can be fun. Babysitting Santa while they vomit in an alley or breaking up ﬁghts is not. Don’t be that Santa. You are responsible for yourself! Pace your drinking and be nice to your fellow Santa.
Memorise these answers to important questions that may arise:
- Who’s in charge? "Santa!"
- What organization are you with? "Santa."
- What are you protesting? "We're not protesting we're celebrating."
- Why? "Because it's Christmas!"
- How did you get here? "A sleigh and eight tiny reindeer."
- Where are you going next? "I'm only allowed to tell you if you wear this hat and buy me a beer."