The True Meaning of Santacon
December 24, 2019 5:56 AM   Subscribe

The Christmasmen arrived in Copenhagen in December of 1974. First, a parade with a giant goose through the streets, singing carols and dispensing hot drinks to onlookers.

The next day,"Santas marching into a bank to ask for several million kroner to distribute to the public; Santas marching into nursing homes to bring cheer and goodwill to the elderly with carols; Santas visiting school children, playing games and passing out alternative history books, which placed focus on the histories of working people; Santas on roller skates swarming public places while people shopped, in the week leading up to Christmas; and Santas with pitchforks attacking state buildings in support of working people." Then, the culmination: a takeover of two large department stores, where Santas hand out free gifts from the shelves to shoppers before being hauled away by police.
posted by Hypatia (7 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The origins are so much better than Santacon deserves.
posted by Miko at 6:18 AM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

No kidding!
posted by PMdixon at 7:12 AM on December 24, 2019

I was in Copenhagen when it happened!
posted by growabrain at 7:57 AM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

groawabrain, can you tell us more?
posted by Hypatia at 8:25 AM on December 24, 2019

The disaster that is New York Santacon is fascinating to me.

There is so much that goes into making it the horrific shitshow it is: race and class dynamics around policing, obviously; age and parenthood-status segregation in New York social life (even bros don't bro like that in front of their grandparents or friends' kids); the complex relationship of young suburbanites to the city; arrogant Wall Street dudes; robust public transit; a lack of other public ways to celebrate the Christmas season that aren't geared to children or nostalgia-seekers; binge-amenable bars with cheap enough booze...

Tl;dr: Robert Moses is the true father of Santacon.
posted by smelendez at 9:10 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

@hypatia not much to tell: I remember it happened but not much more... there were lots of crazy things going on then... lots of clown festivals (google “fool festivals in Europe”) and general agitprop & merry anarchism...
posted by growabrain at 3:21 AM on December 25, 2019

Even in the early 2000s in San Francisco, there were still two very distinct groups of Cacophony-adjacent santaconners: those who wanted to paint "buy more stuff" in spray-snow on the inside of mall windows and thought of the event as a protest, and those who wanted to get drunk at tourist bars and went out of their way to avoid pissing off the cops. Sadly, the "lets go to Hooters" crowd very definitely won, last time I paid attention.

This is fascinating history that I didn't know. Thanks!
posted by eotvos at 12:19 PM on December 26, 2019

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