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 Suicide Club in San Francisco staged the first "Santarchy" after reading about the Danish event in Mother Jones magazine; it was later adopted by the Cacophony Society as SantaCon. 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 2005, a more violent version of the event occurred when on December 18, participants in Auckland, New Zealand, proceeded to start a small riot, with such criminal acts as looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards. At least two bystanders were lightly injured and three arrests were made. Alex Dyer, spokesman for the group, stated that Santarchy in Auckland was part of a worldwide phenomenon designed to protest against the commercialization of Christmas.
 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).
- In Rant by Palahniuk, during the demolition derby type game "Party Crashing", people dress as Santa Claus (amongst other things).
- 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.
Some drunk Santas have been causing a public nuisance in New York and London. For New York Santacon 2012, some businesses put up signs that said "No Drunk Satans" [sic!] to avoid drunken trouble. Also during the 2012 Santacon, a group of Santas gave the finger to a 7-year old child.  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). 
 See also
- 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.
- "Drunken Santas run riot in Auckland". Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press. 2005-12-17. Archived from the original on 2005-12-20.
 Links to SantaCon directories
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