Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock
Lauren Saxe
Dec 07, 2017 @ 9:00 am

‘Twas the night before SantaCon, and all through the town, all the Santas were snoozing in preparation of boozing...

This Saturday, December 9, thousands of red suits will line the streets of New York City at 10 a.m. to kick off one of the holiday season’s most treasured traditions: SantaCon. For those new to the all-day event, thousands of people gather to spread holiday cheer in the form of a citywide bar crawl. Aside from being one giant, jolly, liquor-filled party, SantaCon also gives back to the community.

Those who donate $10 to the cause will receive a “Santa Badge,” which grants them priority access to certain venues and exclusive parties throughout the day (and adds some pizzazz to their Christmas ensemble). Some of the participating bars will also have drink specials, making certain that the hoard of Santas can last all day and still have enough cash for Christmas gifts. Over the past five years, the event has raised over $300,000 and has supported charities like Boys Town, Urban PathwaysSafe Horizon, Dance Parade, and Materials for the Arts. This year, they’ve also partnered with the Secret Sandy Claus Project to deploy Santas and elves with a bag of toys to homes across Brooklyn, Queens, and Lower Manhattan from December 16 through 23.

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Like any good Santa knows, the Christmas magic doesn’t arrive until the holiday’s eve. Typically, the starting location of the weekend’s pub crawl is announced on the official website the night before, leaving bar hoppers in anticipation until just hours before the clock strikes 10. But since New Yorkers have been good this year, Santa's bringing them an early gift and releasing the information tonight. Be sure to stay tuned, they'll also reveal a full venue list at the same time of the starting location. In addition to following along on the website, you can get all the day's updates sent straight to your cell phone by texting "follow Santacon" to 40404 or checking their Facebook page. If you're really in the Christmas spirit, tag them in your posts on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat (@santaconnyc).

Other than being a charitable act, the event also makes it a goal to “spread absurdist joy,” which is evident from the decked-out costumes pub-goers arrive in. While the majority of people opt for the traditional Santa suit or onesie, characters like Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, and Santa’s elves make appearances as well. If dressing up isn't your thing, you better think twice. In past years, some bars have denied people who don't show up in costume, truly enforcing the holiday cheer.

Make sure to follow the five rules of SantaCon in order to stay off the naughty list: Don’t mess with kids, cops, bar staff, NYC, or Santa’s charity mission. Not a New Yorker? No problem. SantaCon happens all over the world.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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