Talking to Strangers: Santacon 2013

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Talking to Strangers: Santacon 2013

We got to know these people in San Francisco, the birthplace of this abomination, to see if they could shed any light on the phenomenon. 

By Alana Levinson

Since the mid-‘90s we have been stuck with SantaCon, a Saturday afternoon where a group of drunken locusts dressed as Kris Kringle (and his slutty cohorts) descend on American cities passing out on our sidewalks, puking in our gutters, and brawling out in the open. This would beg you to ask the question, “Who likes SantaCon?” Well, obviously the people who participate in it. We got to know these people in San Francisco, the birthplace of this abomination, to see if they could shed any light on the phenomenon.


Erik, 25

What do you do? 

I do mostly illegal construction.

Why do you like to come to SantaCon?

I like all the love and excitement and the spirit and the magic of Christmas. It's all harnessed and condensed and shoved into one day and it's magically beautiful.

How drunk are you on a scale from one to ten?

On a scale from one to ten, I'm really running on last night's drinking, like a four. But I'm an alcoholic so that's probably more like your eight or nine maybe.

So would you say that SantaCon is a good place to meet people?

Perfect example: this is my friend Kathy Clause and we just met on the train up here and now we're best friends and she might be our new roommate. So it's amazing for meeting new people. Just on the meeting new people front, last year we met new people and now they're like lifelong friends. I pluralized that – it's one guy. We met a bartender and then like by June were like still getting free booze from it. It was awesome.

What about meeting people for dating?

Yeah, you're gonna meet some like-minded, fun, outgoing people. If you're not a fun, outgoing person, you’re probably not going to have the best time meeting a person. But if your awesome, like for example me, then I'm probably gonna get a few different screen names today.

Have you ever hooked up with someone you met at SantaCon?

No, this is only my second SantaCon, but last year my friend and I met some girls and we went to a strip club with them.

Do you have any love or sex advice?

Don't trust females cause they'll stick their hand into your chest, pull out your heart and stomp on it. But other than that no real advice. 

Do you have a Santa pick-up line?

You're giving me a Santa-rection. That's cause I have a lot of SantaCon-fidence, and that's why I do well here.

[Earlier today I was] walking on the train, walking by a car of three very pretty girls, and I look at one of them, make eye contact and I'm like 'Hey, what's up Rudolph?' And real sensual-like she says 'I'm Vixen.' And I stumbled over my words and had nothing. 


Henry, 27

What do you do?

Restaurant manager.

Why do you come to SantaCon?

[Gestures to his outfit, which includes two fuzzy balls that hang from his crotch.] Need I say more? I'm not sure I can express it verbally or if it can really come through in a voice interview, but I think the picture speaks for itself. This is what I love to do and I love being around all of these crazy freaks. 

Would you say this is a good place to meet people romantically?

So, my friend Lauren has mistletoe. Lauren, Lauren, get us! 

Nooooooo. I've never had someone to try to kiss me while I've been interviewing them.

Well there's always a first, right? I mean that's what SantaCon is for. Yes, great place for hooking up. Great place for dating. There's mistletoe, there's cheer. Everybody is in the festive spirit. 

Have you ever hooked up at SantaCon?


Do you have any love or sex advice for SantaCon?

Starch helps keep the hat up. That's my sex advice.

Do you have a Santa pick up line?

I'm gonna crowd source that one. Hey guys, do you have a Santa pickup line? [asking friends] Would you like my ho-hos?


Gary, aka Pinecone Twinkle Tree, 27

What do you do when you're not an elf?

I'm an engineer, a scientist.

Are you always an elf? Or have you been Santa?

I've been an elf four times.

Why do you like being an elf?

That's a personal question. I just like being unique and everyone else is a Santa so I want to be an elf. 

How drunk are you? Do you get drunk when you come to this?

I get very drunk. Right now I'm medium drunk but I get very drunk. 

Would you say that this is a good place to meet people romantically?

It's definitely a good place to try and maybe get a little action. I don't think you are going to necessarily meet your soul mate here. If you get lucky you might because I mean it's not unreasonable to think that two people who like this kind of activity will meet each other, but I think that realistically its more likely that even if people are compatible they are gonna be too drunk to even recognize that and they will just hook up, at most.

Any love and sex advice for SantaCon specifically?

Wear form-fitting clothing, show of your assets and don't be shy.

Santa themed pickup line?

Have you ever had sex with an elf?


Garth, 25

What do you do?

I build skyscrapers.

Tell me about what you're carrying around. 

It's a mistletoe on a stick, to bring festive cheer to all. All those people who've forgotten about true love, you know?

Have people been hooking up because of you?

Is this high school hooking up or college hooking up?

I don't know, smooching.

Okay, high school smooching, yes.

How drunk are you on a scale from one to ten?


Is this a good place to met people romantically?

No, not at all, it's a good place to meet friends.

Any love or sex advice for the Santas?

Yeah, stick to the big A.

What's that?

Abstinence, obviously.

Oh, okay.

I'm joking.

Santa pick-up line?

Yeah. Mistletoe obviously, on a stick. 

That’s all you need?

Do you think you need anything else? Why are you interviewing me right now?

Good point.


Mike, aka SantaCon Pimp, 51

What do you do when you're not a pimp? 

Generally, a lot of partying, a lot of leisure activities, and a little bit of work.

Who are you with?

A pretty large contingent from the South Bay, some candy canes, some Santas.

Why do you like coming?

How can you not love this? When you've got a couple thousand Santa Clauses in one place, it's festive, you gotta feel the energy

What do you do as the pimp?

[Laughs]. It depends. Every time I walk up to somebody, there’s somebody taking pictures and for some reason they just love the Santa Pimp. They really do.

Would you say this is a good place to meet people romantically?

I don't know. Ask me again in about an hour and I'll let you know. 

Any crazy hook up stories?

Not yet, I just got here, but I have no comment.

Any love and sex advice as the SantaCon pimp?

Never waste a woody, but it's still all about love.


Michelle, 43

What do you do? 

I'm in human resources.

How many times have you been?

This is my third time, and I've been here 15 years and I can't believe I never did it before. It's awesome, it's so much fun. 

Why do you like it?

Because it's festive, it involves drinking, and you get to do something for the community as well. Today we brought toys for kids, so you feel like you're giving back. Anytime I can dress up, I mean it's San Francisco, whenever there's a time to wear a costume, it's good. 

How much drinking would you say you did or how drunk are you on a scale from one to ten?

Right at this moment, actually okay. We've only had a couple mimosas but we're gonna fix that real quick now, we're getting ready to go do the pub crawl down to Lower Haight.

Would you say it's a good place to meet people romantically?

I think it is, for the day [laughs]. If you like to have fun and dress up and do silly things then this is the place to meet somebody for sure.

Do you have any crazy hookup stories from SantaCon? Or have you heard of any or seen them?

I've had my guy for all my SantaCons so I'm gonna have to say no.

Well is it fun to do as a couple?

Yes, oh my god yes. 

Any love or sex advice?

It's a fun little costume to bring home later, to wear afterwards, maybe with a beard and the hat and the boots. Just that.

Do you have a Santa pick up line?

Where's my hoes at?