SantaCon 2011 in London

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If you were in central London this weekend then you may have stumbled upon the unusual sight of a thousand Santas gathered together. For you see, Saturday marked the annual SantaCon event in London, and Editor Andy was there to see it.

This was my first experience of SantaCon and I had no idea what to expect. I knew the basic idea behind it: as many people as possible all meet up dressed as Santa Claus and then proceed to spread Christmas cheer throughout the streets (whilst getting a little ‘merry' in pubs throughout the day). Each year the event takes place in hundreds of cities around the world, in dozens of different countries. This year similar events were held in New York, Munich, San Francisco, Glasgow and Sydney to name just a few.

However, for the London one we were to meet in Trafalgar Square (there was an early start at Victoria but it was a little too early for me on a Saturday morning). Before I arrived there was the slight doubt that it was all an elaborate hoax and I would be the only one dressed up. However, there was certainly no need to worry about that.

'A Sea of Red'

Getting out of the tube station at Charring Cross, the streets were swarming with people in red suits and false beards. As we turned the corner and Trafalgar Square came in to view, the sheer scale of the event was stunning. The historic site was a sea of red. There was every type of Santa Claus you could imagine from Darth Vader Santa to Death Santa, as well as turkeys, Christmas trees and elves.

For an hour and a half we stayed in Trafalgar Square singing carols, dancing and throwing Brussels sprouts around. As one big mass, we then started to move, and began walking the streets and spreading the Christmas love. For five hours we wandered around the centre of London amusing and bemusing anyone we saw. Tourists went by in buses and got huge cheers if they waved, and children were delighted by the site of so many jolly Saint Nick's.

There were so many surreal moments throughout the day. From seeing dozens of Father Christmas's on Boris bikes, to people stuck in traffic smiling as they were pacified with sweets, to hundreds of Santas chanting ‘Elf, Elf, Elf' at anyone dressed in green. This was certainly a unique day in London, and one I can't wait to repeat next year.

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