Another Christmas and another excuse to dress as Santa, congregate around landmarks, give out sweets, sing carols and have a great time. That's right Santacon 2013 hit London over the weekend and caused quite a stir amongst shoppers, tourists and delighted children.
Santacon has been going since 2000 and presumably started as a small collective of good willed festive feeling folks. However, it has snowballed over the years into a truly epic affair. Well over 3000 people professed their intention to attend the official event on facebook and, being there myself, it certainly felt that way. From its humble beginnings the organisers have adapted to its popularity by being really well organised, using a combination of social media updates and megaphones to keep the large crowds of Santas moving and behaving themselves.
Santacon 2013 started from four separate locations: North, South, East and Central. I attended the East route beginning at the picturesque St Paul's Cathedral. Even at this starting point there were easily a few hundred Santas to greet our group of seven friends. Most Santas looked as you would imagine, some had gone all out including a lady wizard Santa, an Iron Man Santa and even a Mr Blobby Santa.
We all made our way slowly across London, through Chancery Lane, by the British Museum, towards Soho, through Oxford Street and up to BBC. Along the way Santas were accompanied by a walking Samba band, and we were all dancing, singing, taking photos and handing out sweets to awe struck kids, tourists, police and anyone.
The mood was great, definitely family friendly during the day while it was light and possible to enjoy the sights with a dusting of red people. As can be expected from this jolly bunch, when the night drew in and the beers and sherrys were drained the crowd thinned out a bit and a typical Saturday night in Central London ensued. Lads jumping on each others backs and girls laughing at each other and a few santas making very good friends. A notably smaller crowd moved onto Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes to continue the party, however this Santa cannot report much about the evening from that part on because honestly it is tough to remember.
Let me share a few parts that amused me a long the way.. Seeing Mr Blobby Santa run through the crowd screaming Blobby Blobby Blobby. Seeing excited tourists standing up on the top deck of open top double decker tour buses to try to capture us on camera. Joining in with some ridiculous chants such as my favourite, "What do we want? CHRISTMAS! When do we want it? NOW!" Seeing apprehension turn to surprise as Santas approach onlookers with a handful of sweets. Drawing on willing Santas with chalk. Seeing a bus driver stop his bus to take photos of us.
All in all, I had a great time and so did my friends, laughing practically all the way through the day and chatting away to like minded and fun Santas. Highly recommended.
If you were there tell us what you got up to in our comments section below. Which route did you go on? What were your highlights? If you missed out there is always next year!