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SantaCon survival guide


SantaCon Credit: Getty

SantaCon is back. The annual fete in which hundreds of Santas take to the city streets (and the subways and the bars) spreading holiday cheer happens again Saturday. Trust us when we say it’s a lot of fun — but only if you’re prepared. 


For starters, don’t do the event (or yourself) the disservice of showing up in a still-wrinkled “Santa in a bag” costume. It’s just boring. A little creativity — and glue gun action — will go a long way. 

Plain brown or green sweat suits — or a pair of red footie PJ’s, a la the ones currently in stock at Target — make for a great start to reindeer, Christmas tree or elf costumes, said Jess Zaino, an NYC-based lifestyle consultant and co-host of “Modern Girls’ Guide to Life” on the Style Network. Dress up the sweats: Add a Santa or elf hat, strands of popcorn or tinsel, or an antler headband and a red Rudolph nose (red lipstick does the trick, said Zaino), and you’re well on your way to an original look.

Also, keep in mind that the big man’s not a one-note sort of guy. Try your best “Bad Santa” impression, or how about Santa on vacay? The recipe: Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, beard, hat; garnish with fruity cocktail for realism.


A daypack is essential. Pretend like you’re going on a long, urban day hike. That involves booze. Here’s a short checklist: 

Hydrating beverage of choice (H20, VitaWater)

Snacks with sustenance, e.g. trail mix or granola bars

Holiday candy

Strong tape for costume emergencies

Extra layer of clothing, such as a thermal or hoodie — something you can put over or under your costume as it gets colder




Cell phone



The veterans take their SantaCon seriously. Follow these do’s and don’ts and to remain in their good graces.

DO meet at the official SantaCon starting point at the official time. The folks at the starting line are the real deal.

DON’T start drinking on an empty stomach.

DO ask for permission if you'd like to take a photo of a specific person’s costume. It’s polite.

DON’T be pervy Santa guy.

DO feel free to distribute hugs, candy or small trinkets/gifts.

DON’T mess with security — or children. (Who does that?)

DO sing Christmas carols and shout holiday greetings such as “ho, ho, ho!” and “Merry Christmas!” at the folks you meet.

Now go forth. And happy Santa-ing.


Official Website:

Official Twitter feed:

Facebook group: You’ll find it if you search “SantaCon NYC”

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