This story was read aloud at:
At seven in the morning, on a warm December
day, my roommate and I put on our Santa outfits and headed out into the
city. We soon arrived at a bar called The Drawing Room to find
several of our friends dressed like Santa standing outside smoking. We
went inside for a drink.
At ten we walked a few blocks to the House of Pies
Restaurant, and both inside and outside milled a multitude of Santas. This
is the official meeting point for SantaCon.
Describing SantaCon is hard: A collection of
your friends dressed like Santa for a day out, A Santa pub crawl, A Santa rampage,
A rebellion against the stupidity of Christmas, or just a bunch of people being
Anyway, sometimes it ends peacefully, with Santa’s
crawling off home to nurse their hangovers, and sometimes with anarchy.
The person in charge, named Santa, would not tell
us where we were heading. If we knew, then the police might know, and
they might be waiting for us, to stop our day of fun.
Most of us hang out on the sidewalk, I sip out of
my water bottle filled with gin, and take swigs of the other alcohol that is
being handed around.
Someone delivers an ice chest filled with snow, so
we started throwing snowballs at the passing cars and city busses.
A collection of Elves, dressed in green with pointy
hats, arrive with picket signs. Their signs read: “Recall
Santa” “Stop exporting Elf jobs to Asia.” And “Saint
Nick is a Dick.”
Sometimes Santa travels by chartered bus, and sometimes
by subway, today was by subway, and we walked, a mob, down Vermont toward the
station. Almost two hundred Santa’s walk down the street, and we
create our own laws. The momentum of our group keeps us crossing the
street even when the light has changed.
Some people wave and smile, the children wave, with
huge grins on their faces and bounce up and down on their seats.
Some people scowl. We wave and smile at them.
But before going underground at Sunset and
Vermont, we detoured to the Dianetecs center. Scientologists scare
me, more so than most cults. We invade their building, we will
confuse them and annoy them. We tramp through their lobby, making
noise and mayhem, we run down the halls, and wait for security to kick
us out. We know how to deal with security.
A well-dressed lady in her thirties came into the
lobby and climbed upon the desk of the security counter. Her head near
the ceiling. She told us how glad she was that we were all there, she
told us to take pamphlets, she told us to come back for classes, she told us
how great it was to see us, and suddenly we were all filing out of the building,
she took our crew of mayhem, and with just the kind words, talked us into leaving.
We did not really realize that she had this until
we were leaving.
She had beaten us, controlled our angry mob, and sent
us on our way with her charm.
Scientologists scare me.
While waiting underground for the subway, someone
pulls out a sharpie and writes “Ho” on the white fuzz of
We are now all Ho’s, and that’s really
While on the subway, we sing Christmas Carols
from the pamphlets handed out earlier.
The songs go something like this:
‘Deck My Balls’
Deck my balls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la,
la la la
Tap the keg, inflate the dolly, Fa la la la la, la
‘Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow’
Well the traffic outside is frightful, but drugs are
And since we’ve go lines to blow, let it snow,
let it snow, let it snow.
At union station fifty Santas kneel down before
the giant Christmas tree. They put their arms forward and move
them up and down in unison, like praying to the great god of the island.
On Olvera Street, we dance to the Mariachi
band and fill the bar to the chant: “Santa needs a drink! Santa
needs a drink!”
Later in the afternoon, at the Pasadena mall,
things start to unravel.
Santa’s been drinking a little too much, and
mall security looks on with narrowed eyes.
The first causality is Santa wearing a kilt. In
the center of the mall is a place for the Real Santa, for Santa to meet the
children. At the moment Santa is not there, so we take over. There
is a sleigh and some fake Reindeer. While atop the sleigh, Mr. Kilt Santa
lifts the back of his kilt to flash Santas down below. A few minutes
later the police arrive and arrest him, they put on handcuffs and lead Santa
away to the waiting squad car. I follow and take pictures, and an officer
tells me that they will just book him for drunk and disorderly.
I, being drunk but not quite disorderly, am upset
they are taking Santa away, but still sober enough to not argue with the police. I
am told later that night, by a now free kilt wearing Santa, that the police
were being nice to him, he could have been booked for a sex crime as children
were present, and been forced him to knock on the door of all his neighbors
to tell them he is a sex offender.
After the squad car rolls away, I turn around
and there are no Santas. I walk to the center of the mall and still no
Santas. And suddenly I remember being told to not lose the group. Safety
That was when a college looking frat boy with a girl
on his arm accosts me. “Do you think this is funny?” he snarls
at me. “Yes” I answer with a grin, and walk away. Behind
my back I hear is girl say, “Leave him alone, can’t we go out without
having a problem?”
I realize how many people we were pissing off with
our little display, and I smile like Maude from the movie ‘Harold and
Maude’, some people just need a little awakening.
I see Santa on the stairs ahead, surrounded
my mall security.
An officer says to him, “You have a choice:
you can leave the mall now, or you can be arrested.”
And then this Santa said something to the police officers. Something
we all want to say to police officers at some time in our lives. But
we have the filter, or we don’t want to go to jail, or we are just too
So this Santa looks at the Mall Security and says: “Well,
if you’re going to be sanctimonious pricks about it…”
I have pictures of him being pinned to the ground
by security officers, with the red and white hat fallen to the ground by his
This is when it really starts to disintegrate,
the Santas were getting a little too restless for my taste, so myself and two
other Santas left the mall, removed our Santa suits and rode the subway home.
We waited there for other Santas to arrive. They
slowly trickled in, regaling us with tales of joy and woe.
We threw our red and white suits in a corner, and
planned for next year.