SantaCon is an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill.
Sometimes known as Naughty Santas, Cheapsuit Santas, Santarchy, Santapalooza, and Santa Rampage, SantaCon incorporates elements of a flash mob in the context of cheerful bawdy and harmless behavior, the singing of naughty Christmas carols, and the giving of small gifts to strangers.
In 1974, the Danish activist theatre group Solvognen first brought a small army of Santa Clauses onto the streets of Copenhagen. In 1978, the first "Santa Rampage" was held in Austin. In 1994 the San Francisco Cacophony Society staged the first "Santarchy"; When the event traveled to Portland in 1996 the term "SantaCon" was coined. Influenced by the surrealist movement, Discordianism, and other subversive art currents, the Cacophonists celebrated the Yule season in a distinctly anti-commercial manner, by mixing guerrilla street theatre and pranksterism. SantaCon has since evolved, spawning many different versions and interpretations of the event throughout the world.
In popular culture
- The Santa Rampage is mentioned in Chuck Palahniuk's book Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon and in his short story "My Life as a Dog" (featured in the book Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories).
- The Santa Rampage is mentioned (along with other Cacophony society activities) as inspiration by the title character of E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
Charitable good works and donations
In some cities such as New York City, SantaCon is affiliated with charitable good works and donations. In 2011 Santacon New York raised $10,000 for Toys for Tots and donated over 6,000 pounds of food to Manhattan and Brooklyn food banks. 
In 2012 sixty venues who participated in NYC SantaCon donated $45,000 to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Organizers said NYC SantaCon also donated roughly 6,850 pounds of canned food to City Harvest. 
San Diego hosted the first trip of Santas across the harbor to and from Coronado on November 30, 2013. Santas traveled from downtown to little italy to mission hills in San Diego by foot and trolley. The public interacted and posed for photos with Santas at Seaport Village. 
According to many sources some drunk Santas have been causing a public nuisance in New York and London. Also during the 2012 Santacon, it was alleged that a group of Santas gave the finger to a 7-year old child.  A very small number of critics also lament what they regard as the devolution from the event's subversive roots to its current mainstream incarnation, from subverting the order of things to reinforcing them (e.g., decrease in creativity, increase in knocking down the disabled). There is no evidence that anyone was ever knocked down. 
- Donaldson James, Susan (December 11, 2009). "Santa Con: Kringle Chaos is Coming to Town". ABC News. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
- Hirsch, Daniel (2009-12-11). "25 Days of Weird Christmas: Santarchy". San Francisco Chronicle.
Links to SantaCon directories
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