This last weekend, going for food on Murphy Street, I saw a very strange sight. At somewhere around four in the afternoon, a pretty average little bar on this more or less random street was teeming with Santa Clauses. There were ten or fifteen on the sidewalk and a peek inside showed nothing but red. Some were old and stout with real gray beards, like the genuine article. Others were young and kept the unflattering Santa jackets tied around their waists so as not to hide broad shoulders and the possibility of six-packs. There were lady Santas too, though it didn’t look like many of them would like to be called “Mrs”. It was as if the Hindus, with their thousands and thousands of gods, had adopted Christmas and then demanded that Santa Claus show himself in all his many aspects.
I have since learned that what I actually saw was some version of a Santacon. Do you all know about these? Are some of you participating in them? From what I can gather, or, let’s be honest, from what google tells me, a Santacon is a pub crawl where everyone comes dressed as Santa Claus. Which sounds kind of festive and fun, like a Christmas party full of new, free-spirited people. This one that I saw was a little strange, though. It was broad daylight and some of these Santas’ suits looked suspiciously like Christmas themed fetish gear. And apparently they’ve gotten to be controversial because neighborhoods will suddenly find themselves overrun by drunken Santas. When I start to remember that Santa Claus was invented for children, I get a little uncomfortable with all of this. I remember going to the mall when I was a little girl to sit on Santa’s lap, how special it was to get a glimpse of him. I remember laying awake on Christmas Eve, thinking of him sneaking into my house. I don’t so much like the idea that some little kid, naïve and excited like I used to be, will have to get prematurely confused when she comes across one or another band of belligerent Santas, smoking, vomiting and making out with each other. Is this overly-sensitive of me?