Cheap-Suit Santas: the happier version of Krampus?

Krampus and Krampus related information leave me a little unnerved.  I prefer my Christmas holiday with adjectives like blessed, merry, bright, and happy.  As I was reading Jeremy’s post yesterday, I followed some of the links.  As a joke, I even started to send him a Krampus e-card, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I want my Santa sanitized.  I want him to be good.  No alcohol, no tricks before my treats.  I’m unhappy that the letters of SANTA, re-arranged, spell SATAN.  I have just realized, though, that there are plenty who would take our innocent idea of a Guinness Book of World Record Santas crossing the Bay Bridge (see Podcast #16 on April 16th) and turn it into an opportunity for mischief.

Large gatherings of bad Santas started first in 1994. A group of pranksters dressed up in Santa suits and began partying in downtown San Francisco.  This local group, purportedly protesting holiday consumerism, became known as the “cheap-suit Santas,” whose antics spread along the California coast. Each holiday, bus-loads could be seen singing parodied Christmas carols, bar-hopping, and engaging in public displays of Santa silliness.  Popularity of these gatherings has spawned Santarchy, Santa Rampages, Santasms, and Santafadas, among others.

Organized anarchy has limits.  Last year, Santarchy, DC posted a songbook (to be downloaded on your smartphone) and rules for behavior.  I like rules.  My favorite is: “Santa does not make children cry.”  Even though this is an event that creates mayhem, the posted suggestions are designed for Santa to stay on the right side of the law.  If you are attracted to this sort of holiday party, check out locations near you at

We’re not too far along in our Santa planning, but I can tell you that our record-setting gathering of Santas will not be on Saturday, December 15, 2012, when Ocean City will be hosting a Santacon. Their board for the event names several potential gathering places (bars) and the message, “Don’t forget to invite Krampus!”