SantaCon was, at some point, scheduled to occur on December 12 in continuation of its annual debauched messiness — and giving young, booze-loving locals another chance to day-drink in costume while terrorizing area bars. And even though it's been "canceled," it's always been kind of an unofficial event, and unofficially there may be drunken, hopefully masked Santas out there whether we like it or not.
It turned into a national thing that pops up in cities all over, a drunken bar crawl involving holiday-themed costumes that often leads to twentysomethings puking in gutters while someone holds their Santa hats. But SantaCon had its origins in the kooky San Francisco of the mid-1990s, back when costumed drinking wasn't something the kids did nearly every other week. As KQED narrates, SantaCon grew out of something the prankster group the Cacophony Society — whose members helped inspire the first Burning Man in the Nevada desert — and an event they started called "Cheap-Suit Santas."
SFist has been bemoaning SantaCon's existence for over a decade now, mostly because the boozy brunch crowd and the amateurs among us don't need another holiday in this city in which to drink en masse. Way back in 2012, Eater SF even made a printable "NO SANTAS" sign for bars to hang on their windows. And, like everything else, what seemed fun 25 years ago has been run through a wringer of repetition and laziness until it's nothing more than an excuse for bad behavior. Last year, the city refused to give a permit for a SantaCon gathering in Union Square, but that didn't stop the revelers from doing their thing.
Now, in a pandemic, with bars closed across the city, trying to do a pub crawl seems both pointless and unsafe. But will be people don Santa and reindeer outfits and go brown-bagging it in city parks and elsewhere? Possibly!
Original organizer Tom DiBell, who pushed for the Santas to revel last year despite city protests, tells KRON4 that this year, for the record, he doesn't want people partying in SantaCon's name. "Please… I’ll say it directly to the camera — do not go down there,” Dibell says, referring to Union Square I guess.
“The bars are going to be closed, the restaurants are going to be closed, San Francisco is in lockdown,” he says. “Please, you’re wasting your time.”
Right. That should be obvious.
Also, here ye all twenty- and thirtysomethings who don't think COVID is going to affect them much: Stop passing this fucking virus around while you're out drinking and laughing and making out with strangers! You are very much part of the problem and why restaurants and bars are closed right now! Yes, you!
Photo: Erik Wilson/Flickr