SantaCon: A Dane tests out an American tradition

santacon
A transplant from Denmark joins revelers at SantaCon.
Credit: Metro

I’ve heard all of the crazy stories about the New York SantaCon, the hundreds of people dressed like ole’ Saint Nick, drinking themselves blind and slurring carols around the city.

Having been in the states for a couple months, away from my native Denmark, I was interested in separating myth from reality from what has become an international pub-crawl.

First things first, I had to prep for SantaCon—sort of like preparing for a marathon. What shoes should I wear? Would it be best to bring protein bars or fruit with me? Will people laugh at my Santa Claus costume?

After I dressed suitably for the weather—lots of snow—I jumped on the subway and headed to the East Village to meet up with the revelers.

I must say I was relieved when I came across my first fellow Santa heading into Manhattan. After getting a lot of weird looks from strangers I was starting to think I had gotten the date wrong.

The red outfit is definitely an icebreaker. This other Santa fills me in on where to go in the East Village, though my “Danish girl new at SantaCon” gimmick doesn’t buy me an invite to join him and his friends.

The minute I step out in the East Village I’m surrounded by red. Hundreds of Santas of all shapes and sizes swarm around me. Finally, I’ve found where I belong! Within no time, I’ve met a group of Santas who have been coming to Santacon for years. They promise to show me around and we end up at the Crocodile Lounge on 14th Street, pounding beers.

As they drink, the Santas wax philosophical about the event. Ronald, 26, tells me why he participates. “SantaCon is the best holiday of the year. Everybody is Santa. No judgments,” he said.

After a couple more beers, I decide to split off from the group and find some Santas heading for Brooklyn.

I stop to ask a trashed polar bear for directions to Union Square. Unfortunately, the guy in the suit is so wasted he doesn’t seem to understand what I’m saying.

I manage to find Union Square without his help. There, another Santa Claus comes up and says, “Are you my soul mate? I’m looking for a Mrs. Claus and I think you are her.”

His name is Rich and the line is terrible. But he and his friends are on their way to Brooklyn so I decide to tag along. We only make it as far as Borough Hall before realizing nobody knows where we are going.

The group emerges from the subway and we take a McDonald’s break. Not long after, we decided to chase a lead that the Santas are heading to Nostrand Ave. and “Santa’s Toy Factory.”

My “soul mate” and I join hundreds of other Santas, filling up the subway on our unholy pilgrimage.

By the time we get to “Santa’s Toy Factory,” the line stretches down the block.

It’s only 4 p.m., but the thought of standing in an hour-long line way too sober makes me repeat what I heard a drunken Santa say earlier – “I quit.”

It’s freezing outside and I start to wish that I had drank more alcohol to keep warm.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…