Monday, December 20, 2010

lots and lots of santas

This time of year kinda demands some kind of allusion to Christmas, Santas and, more non-denominationally (especially in this part of the world), Happy Holidays. Certainly, there’s no shortage of Santas on TV or hanging out in large department stores or appearing as cheery cutouts pasted on apartment windows. But I have to admit, I was a little perplexed last Saturday (Dec 11th) during a run in Central Park. (Guys, I’ve been running in -5ºC temperatures!! Madness, yes. Frost-burned nose and mouth, yes. Looking like an alien in leggings, gloves and beanie, yes.)

But every 50 paces I’d spot a new Santa, striding through the park all decked out in his cherry-red suit and white-pompomed hat. ‘There must be a whole lotta very confused kids walking around here,’ I thought to myself, a little puzzled. I know Santa manages to get around quite a bit, but this was ridiculous. Definitely spreading himself a little too thin these days.

Then I crested a rise, only to behold Santas pouring over the hill, much the same way I’ve watched a herd of elephants trooping in from the horizon on their way to water. They just kept on coming, jovial and scarlet and trimmed in white — in every shape and size, male and female, tall and short, some beautiful, some demure, some outrageous. There were fur-trimmed minis and fishnet stockings, hot pants and buckled biker boots, hats and scarves and feather boas — all in fetching pillar-box red. But there were also green elves in spiky hats and pointy shoes, reindeers with fuzzy antlers, and ghoulish ghosts of Christmases past.

And I swear it, I could absolutely put money on it, Keanu Reeves in a Santa hat turned around in front of me before being swallowed up in the morass of white fur and pompoms. There’s simply no mistaking his profile and those tilted almond eyes… When I quizzed one of the Santas, he said it was highly likely as Keanu lives in New York City.

So … here’s what was going down. All these people were taking part in SantaCon which, as they say on their website, is a ‘non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason’. The general idea is to converge at a central point and pool gifts that will later be given to children in need, but thereafter the party is on! Despite this declaration on their site — ‘It’s not a bar crawl; every time you call SantaCon a bar crawl, a sugarplum fairy dies’ — a lot of drinking gets done.

What you can expect is: ‘holiday cheer, unconventional gifts, naughty carols and general mayhem.’
But there are a few provisos:

- You should never (because Santa never does) endanger your reindeer with violence, vandalism, inappropriate groping or theft.


- Don’t litter; Santa likes his elves dirty and his streets clean.

And with that, Happy Holidays!