You may have heard of Comic Con or VidCon–conventions for comic book fans and YouTubers, respectively–but have you ever heard of SantaCon? Today marked the 16th annual SantaCon in New York, where thousands of people, dressed up as Santa and other Christmas-related people and/or beings, take over the city’s already-busy streets.
The New York Times describes the event as “a daylong bar crawl,” which has caused controversy in the neighborhoods the Santas walk through. Last year, SantaCon passed through Hell’s Kitchen; police lieutenant John Cocchi said the con-goers were responsible for “urinating, littering, vomiting and vandalizing.”
This year, in an effort to repair their tainted reputation, the organizers of SantaCon shared the route–which changes every year–with the authorities. According to the NY Times, the convention organizers have also gathered “‘helper elves’ to guide Santas who stumble off the path.”
Despite the bad press, SantaCon is trying to do some good. The bars which are part of this year’s route will donate a percentage of their profit’s during SantaCon to Toys for Tots, a charity which provides Christmas presents to underprivileged children.
Now, I’m always excited for a party, no matter the reason. In theory, SantaCon sounds great! People looking to spread Christmas cheer in the sometimes mean streets of New York; what’s not to love? However, as the article mentions, the drunken revelry poses a nuisance and potential danger to the neighborhoods. SantaCon ultimately winds up sounding like another excuse to drink excessively and then make bad decisions.
While I applaud SantaCon for its charitable efforts, its unruly reputation isn’t doing it any favors. Instead of spending an entire day drinking, perhaps each con-goer could bring one or two presents with them and spend the morning handing them out to shelters for families in underprivileged neighborhoods. After all, about 30,000 people attended SantaCon last year; combined with the proceeds from participating bars, this would greatly help out charities that seek to give underprivileged kids toys.
And isn’t giving–not drinking–what Christmas is all about?