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SantaCon | © Davidlohr Bueso/Flickr
SantaCon | © Davidlohr Bueso/Flickr
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San Francisco’s 21st SantaCon

Picture of Brie Shimada
Updated: 20 December 2016
Baby, it’s cold outside, and the best way to keep warm this time of year is to throw on your cozy Santa suit, round up your reindeer, and come celebrate the holidays at San Francisco’s largest and most popular pub crawl, SantaCon. So join the Santarchy and come celebrate SantaCon’s 21st birthday in the city!

For those of you who have never heard of this convention, it’s really simple: a large group of individuals who ring in the holidays by dressing up as Santa meet up in Union Square and proceed to jubilate at some of San Francisco’s most well known bars. This long lasting holiday tradition has been celebrated since 1994 and will be taking place this year on December 12th, starting at 12pm. The best part is that whether you’re on Santa’s naughty or nice list, you’re allowed to attend the event. Traditionally this event is free, but there are cover charges for participating bars, and the cost of drinks is not included.

After reviewing event details online and taking into consideration personal experience, The Culture Trip has come up with a SantaCon guide to help you have a jolly ole time.

The most vital tip cannot be stressed enough: dress up! A Santa hat is not enough. Repeat: a Santa hat is NOT ENOUGH for this Santa rampage. You don’t have to dress exactly like Santa from head to toe, but following the red dress code is highly encouraged. If you feel like getting a little more creative with your festive attire, other holiday interpretations such as Christmas trees, snowflakes, and reindeer are all acceptable, too! For special offers on Santa suits, check out SantaCon’s buyer’s guide for those interested in the tradition get-up. Dressing up is one of the most fun aspects of SantaCon, so be sure to go all out with your costume!

Other important guidelines each participant should take into serious consideration include:

1) Always address your fellow Santas as ‘Santa.’

2) Beware of elves! As much as Santa loves his elves, he can’t stand when they show up to a red-themed event wearing green. You’ll know an elf when you see one!

3) Have fun, but not too much fun! Being too drunk and acting disorderly in public tarnishes Santa’s sparkling reputation — don’t be that Santa.

4) No Santa gets left behind! Especially in this case, it’s the more the merrier, so make sure you grab any remaining Santas when everyone is heading to the next venue.

5) Have a very merry Christmas and spread the holiday cheer to one and to all!

Now that you know the rules, you’re all set to have the time of your life at one of the most wonderful events of the year! This event takes place all over the world, but any true San Franciscan knows that people in the City by the Bay go hard and do things the best. Join the SantaCon SF 2015 Facebook page to stay updated on event details as the date approaches.

By Brie Shimada

Brie Shimada, a Sacramento native, is currently studying Communication Studies at San Francisco State University. She can be found capturing photos of the city, reading a good book at Blue Bottle, or shopping local at one of the many farmer’s markets in San Francisco.