‘Tis the Season: SantaCon in NYC 2012

6 SantaCon 2012

‘Tis the season! The season of giving, being merry, and acting drunk! Or swarming in a crowd of festive Santas singing “Ho Ho Ho” through Manhattan and Brooklyn.

This year’s SantaCon was a highlight to me in many ways: First, instead of only blogging about how thousands of happy Santa Clauses ran through Manhattan, I was actually part of the entire fun. Second, I got to wear a costume around Christmas time, something I have never done before in my entire life. Third, the pre-Karneval feeling and daytime drinking catapulted me back to the days when I was roaming the streets as a teenager in Germany and being merry for no reason other than hanging out with friends.

But all from the beginning:

Two weeks before the event was to go down, my friend, who just moved to New York and therefore rightfully earns the badge of “Newcomer 2012” had the exorbitant idea of being part of one of the biggest events going on at this time of year. I myself had secretly already given up hope on ever being part of the so-called SantaCon party – mostly for the lack of knowing the right kind of people who wanted to go out with me. However, this year was a bit different. This year we actually took our time to go from store to store, on the look-out for a cute Santa Clause or elf costume that would not cost an arm and a leg burn a deep hole into our wallets.

7 SantaCon 2012

I really have to say, that among all of those very original reds and whites, in the end so original that they all look too alike from far far away, it was rather hard to find anything under $50. But after seeing the men’s choices (an entire Santa suit for no less than 200 bucks), we felt slightly relieved that we are lucky to call ourselves girls and simply come up with our own style in case all means fail. Somehow along the way of posing for a picture for a Lindt chocolate promotion and snagging free dessert, I finally found a decent elf shirt for only 10 dollars while my friend decided to go with a simply Santa hat in combination with a red shirt. Voila, that part of our mission was fulfilled, and quite inexpensively I dare say.

A few hours prior to December 15, more friends suddenly announced that this year indeed they had to be part of the one and only SantaCon. Had we known before, we could have possibly planned our encounters a bit better. But planning is for the boring people and since we’re flexible, I decided to meet up with a group in the early afternoon already. SantaCon runs from 10 AM to 10 PM, so 2 PM seemed like the perfect time to start day-time drinking, I told myself.

I didn’t know which bars were part of the entire shivaree, so I was lucky to have friends who were better informed and evidently followed the meticulous route starting out in Midtown. First stop: Playwright bar around the corner of Herald Square. But as soon as I got there, sober as can be, I discovered that none of us were really in the mood to push through the ridiculously overcrowded bar. After half an hour of entertainment outside, it was time to go to the next stop: Little Town Bar around Union Square. Here the same problem: More drunk people hanging inside and outside the bars, causing a bunch of chaos but not so much fun!

You’d think this might be hard to digest on a still alcohol-empty stomach. We therefore spontaneously decided to pre-game in the mild outsides with a bottle of whiskey and a ginger ale. Divide this by three people and you certainly have a party going on already. So off we went, to the back-up and much less crowded but still Santa-filled location called Bar 13. Here a DJ was spinning the wheels with mostly electronic music. Happy elves and red-hats were jumping around, all immersed in the fun and game. Sober friends who joined us regretted not having brought their own bottle of booze. But we were friendly enough to share the remnants of ours with them.

Very original costumes here: Santa's best eggnog, Elf, and Christmas tree
Very original costumes here: Santa’s best eggnog, Elf, and Christmas tree
Mirrored Ceiling of Bar 13
Mirrored Ceiling of Bar 13

The last stop was scheduled to be in Williamsburg, where the Warsaw was supposed to end the entire shirade. We never really made it there. First we lost two-thirds of our group while using the restroom at Best Buy at Union Square. While we had thought it would be a great idea to wait on them, we decided to already jump on the L-train and make our voyage over to Brooklyn.

Three lost SantaConers at the Charleston
Three lost SantaConers at the Charleston

And indeed, we were the very first costumized people to make it to the Charleston, a bar on Bedford Avenue. Here we were craving some free house-made pizza (order a drink and get your pie) after a day filled with dancing and running around Manhattan. Then we slowly crawled over to Berry Park but found there were too many Santas inside to make us feel important. As we crossed the corner to Matchless, we finally ran across the rest of our 7 people we had previously lost. They had certainly waited for us at the one and only Best Buy in Manhattan but failed to check their cell phones (Stupidity, ignorance, or drunkenness? Who knows!) in order to find out we were long gone. On the downside, they had even made it all the way to the Warsaw but refused going inside after the bouncers demanded a $10 cover charge for everyone who wanted to rightfully celebrate SantaCon. The Matchless let us in for free, drinks were cheap and dancing was only partially prohibited. Shortly before the day changed over to the 16th it was time to call it a night. Almost ten hours of celebration came to an end and I would not have wanted to miss out on it again!

Celebrating until the early morning hours
Celebrating until the early morning hours

And for all of those posting nasty messages a la “the Santa I remember never puked on the L-Train” : Stop hating and be part of it next year, when it’s once again: SantaCon in New York City!
And with costumes ranging from Santa hat over Eggnog to Christmas tree, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding something you feel comfortable with!

[To read about last year’s SantaCon post, go here!]

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