"Don't be THAT Santa"
But what about Santa? Is he always good? Does he pay his elves a livable wage? Feed his reindeer quality organics? Take out the trash when Mrs. Claus asks?
Or -- as a convention of Saint Nick impersonators suggests -- does Santa get a little naughty now and then?
All work and no play makes the fat guy in the red suit no fun, say Santacon participants, who stay out late, get down, hang loose, and shake it, baby right before Saint Nick and Co. have to buckle down and get busy.
Starting downtown at McNall's Pub Dec. 14, Columbia's 5th annual Santacon is part of a worldwide pub crawl that has hundreds of tipsy Santas parading through town toasting the merriment and good cheer that gives Saint Nick those rosy-red cheeks.
"Santacon takes place in major cities all over the world, involving tens of thousands of Santas," says CoMo Santacon organizer Lizzie Bryan. "It is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious -- and non-sensical celebration of holiday cheer, goodwill, and fun."
Participants must dress in full Santa regalia, all the better to give gifts and have total strangers sit in your lap with their wish lists. "A Santa hat is not enough," Bryan says. "Get a Santa suit. Buy a Santa suit. Make a Santa suit. Steal a Santa suit. Glue cotton balls to red long johns. Make it purple. Make it pink. Make it plaid."
Make it baddd!
No celebration of the Claus family would be complete, however, without elves, misfit toys, snowmen, reindeers, the little Mrs., and even the Grinch, so participants are more than welcome to come as their fave Saint Nick sidekick.
And though the evening is meant to add a little naughty to that kinda boring Christmas nice, the Santacontract comes with a few serious clauses.
"Don't be THAT Santa," Bryan says. Don't get too drunk. Don't make children cry. Don't be so much like Billy Bob Thornton's Bad Santa that you attract the attention of law enforcement.
"Twisting the holiday paradigm until it screams for mercy is fun!" Bryan says. "Getting arrested is not. Santa Claus is friendly, respectful, and doesn't break any laws!"
Participant pointers include the requisite attire suggestions -- "Smart Santas wear layers" -- and some basic etiquette from Mrs. Claus. "Bring good gifts for kids, naughty gifts for their parents." Pay your bar tabs with generous tips.
And don't go all Billy Bob.
"Watching Santa get drunk and obnoxious is fun," Bryan says. "Babysitting Santas while they vomit in an alley is not. Don't be that Santa!"