A Letter From Santa,
Santa doesn’t normally speak with the press (even if they are very good little girls and boys), but Santa wants to address some issues generated in recent press stories, now being picked up by a North-pole sized avalanche of media outlets. Santacon is largely a collection of diverse social communities who come together in a festive culture jam that not only pokes fun at America’s consumerist holiday but raises money and donations, in the true spirit of holiday giving. Santacon also brings considerable economic activity to restaurants, bars, delis and many other local businesses, small and large.
Santacon’s charity component is not just white-bearded lip service. Since 2012, the event raised over $200,000 for local charities including, City Harvest, The Ali Forney Center, Toys for Tots, The Food Bank for New York City, Dance Parade and Materials for the Arts to name just a few of our charitable causes. Santa’s elves worked hand-in-hand with these organizations to benefit those in need.
Santa agrees that there is no excuse for inappropriate behavior. Public drunkenness, urination or rude behavior is not only prohibited by the stated rules of the event, but actively discouraged by the crowds of Santas themselves, who are for the most part, responsible, creative community-minded New Yorkers. NYC Santa realizes that he has a responsibility to New York City and its citizens. Santa Loves NYC.
This year, Santa is working even more closely with the New York Police Department ensure that the event remains enjoyable for locals and Santas alike. Santacon has grown faster than Santa ever could have imagined: from a couple of hundred participants to its current size in under ten years. Like other events, including the treasured West Village Halloween Parade, Santacon has had growing pains. But Santa hopes, the elbow-grease from the elves, a little patience from the community, and just a pinch of holiday magic, Santacon has spread joy and generated money for local businesses and charities since it began its charitable mission in 2012.
Santacon began in 1994 as San Francisco’s Santarchy, a culture-jamming event created by the Cacaphony society to point out the absurdity of America’s consumerist holiday traditions. Over the past 20 years, it’s grown to an annual tradition in its own right. You can learn the full history, the ethos, the list of rules and see stories and pictures at santarchy.com. You can also find video responses from Santa’s more tech-savvy elves at http://j.mp/SantaCon2011TorF &http://j.mp/2o11SantaConBB
Although NYC hosts the largest existing Santacon, it is one of over 300 similar events that will take place in over 40 countries around the world this holiday season.The volunteer Santas and elves who organize NYC Santacon promote creative culture-jamming by administering a website and Twitter feed, organizing a route, and encouraging participants to come fully costumed and bring gifts and games to share.
Its enormous popularity shows that it is responding to a strong cultural desire to poke fun of traditional holiday tropes, as well as get together with friends, dress creatively, and interact participate and celebrate with friends and strangers alike. This, above all, is the purpose of the holidays and the purpose of Santacon.
Mistletoe & Merriment,