People love to show their Christmas cheer and party all through the holidays and the Dirty Southern Burners and friends are no exception! The Atlanta division of the Dirty Southern Burners held its 7th annual SantaCon event on Saturday, December 17th, in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood. This was a free pub crawl event and all legal drinking age adults were invited to attend. To simplify the rules – dress up in Santa style or in some holiday festive spirit; Santa is jolly, responsible, and gives gifts to the naughty and nice – so act the part; and don’t be an obnoxious drunken jerk. In the spirit of Christmas and Santa’s “Naughty & Nice” list, here’s my list of “15 Things I Learned This Year at My 2nd SantaCon.” (The list is in no particular order, so enjoy and Merry Christmas!)

1. Santas Are Really Freakin’ Jolly & Love To Party!
Hundreds of Santas were out “Spreading Their Red” this year. If a stranger/non-participant asked what you were doing or protesting, the response was always, “Nothing, Santa’s having a party!”

2. You Must Be Really Creative To Be A SantaCon Celebrity & Photo Op Rock Star.
I saw a Santa Grinch, ball-busting nutcrackers, “a major award” (the leg lamp from A Christmas Story), ghosts of Christmas past/present, steampunk & Victorian style Santas, Christmas trees, mischievous elves, a Kiss “Spaceman” (Ace Frehley) Santa, pretty reindeer ladies, a deranged clown Santa in a green bodysuit thing, and so many more.

3. The Santa Grinch Will ALWAYS Be More Popular Than You.
Accept it, this is just a fact.

4. Santas LOVE To Photobomb!
You know that jolly ol’ Saint Nick has never been known to shy away from a photo-op, so there will always be more Santas than you ever expected in every picture – it’s absolutely hilarious!

5. Even Jesus Loves SantaCon.
This should be obvious – who doesn’t love their own birthday? Jesus loves SantaCon and will “Tebow” if you ask him nicely. (“Tebow” or “Tebowing” is a move based on former University of Florida quarterback, Tim Tebow, who got down on one knee and start praying even when everyone else around him was doing something else. It’s such an Internet phenomenon that people created a website dedicated to showing people “tebowing” in different scenarios.)

6. There’s Always An Easy Out From Creepers.
SantaCon is like a force field of red and white camouflage that can help protect you against the creepers and pyschos of the bar scene. Case in point – non-Santa guy with creeper eyes walks up to me and starts rambling on about how beautiful I look. I had an instant SantaCon out – I looked over to a random group of Santas and he assumed that I had to go somewhere with my (new) friends. Thanks, Santa!!!

The pair of nutcracker soldier girls even ran off a few oddball dudes by threatening to crack their “nuts.”

Also, you are instantly exempt from giving out your name during SantaCon (it’s part of the long-standing SantaCon rules).
For example –
Guy: “So, what’s your name?”
Me: “Santa!”
Guy: “No really, what’s your real name?”
Me: “Santa!!!”

7. Writers & Other Literary Minded Lushes Love SantaCon.
The large number of conversations that I carried on about writing, books, getting published, rock ‘n’ roll and show reviews, and scholarly articles came as quite a shock to me. I guess “like attracts like” and we shared our experiences and creative endeavors with each other. I really loved this part of my 2011 Atlanta SantaCon experience!

8. Candy For Good Girls & Boys OR Condoms For Bad Boys & Girls.
If you don’t end up with a handful of candy and condoms at the end of SantaCon night, then you’re doing it wrong! Santas LOVE to reward the good girls and boys with candy, but bad boy and girls got condoms as gifts. Ho, Ho, Ho!!! Although, AIDS Atlanta reps leveled out this playing field by passing out condoms, lubes, and informational cards to both the good and bad players of SantaCon.

9. Saturday Night Clermont Lounge Dance Party.
I almost have no words for this one. Apparently on any given Saturday night, Atlanta’s favorite sketchy, sleazy Clermont Lounge turns into a packed out funk dance party. Don’t believe me? Go on a Saturday night and report back your findings. I’ve been twice this year and both times have yet to not startle me – it’s Atlanta’s own twilight zone of hot sweaty youth dancing it out in a smoke-filled, sticky bar/lounge.

10. No One Messes With Santa & Gets Away With It!
A Santa friend got yelled at, face scratched, and a drink thrown in her face at the Clermont Lounge by some random crazy woman. As soon as other women, bouncers, and patrons found out, it was like an angry swarming mob on a witch hunt. They helped my friend get taken care of and scoured the place for her assailant. Crazy drunk woman attacking Santa after last call at the bar – shame on you! I hope you get piles of coal in your disgusting stocking.

11. Santas Love The Sauce & Are Responsible Enough To Have Designated Drivers.
All the Santas I talked to were prepared to get sloshed, have a good time, and get home or to a resting place safely – they all had designated drivers! Way to go Santas!!! Now, I wonder how many woke up still in Santa garb the next morning….? Ha, Ha, Ha and Ho, Ho, Ho!

12. Newbie Santas Need To Learn The Ropes.
Ok, if this was your first SantaCon or you intend to go to a future SantaCon – first, learn the unspoken “rules” of SantaCon. Read them HERE! This is important because you don’t want to be THAT Santa. AND be sure to make or buy a costume, please don’t half-ass it with a hat or no costume/suit. I mean, come on – you can even buy Santa t-shirts online, add a Santa hat and be read to party! Another thing – remember to bring cash because this is a moving pub crawl event and the overworked bartenders don’t have time to keep track of and process your credit/debit cards. So, know what you want to order, have cash in hand (and in view of the bartender), look at the bartender, and wait for them to swoop in on you and your cash to take your order. Additional Atlanta SantaCon information can be found here

13. Santas Love To Sing Songs.
There are dirty SantaCon carols sung every year – they’re hilarious, so look ‘em up! If one Santa starts hooting and hollering, more Santas will definitely get in on the game.

14. Drunk Santas Are Lovers!
Ladies, make sure to guard your assets against a drunken game of pinch & squeal AND definitely watch out for mistletoe. Santas love to love you! If you’re wearing a short skirt or short dress, you better have ninja skills against male friends who think a good pinch of your bottom is cute and funny. I even had a strange Santa try to stroke my hair and thigh while I was having a conversation. So, again – Santas will try to love to love YOU! Be on guard. You’ve been warned!!

15. Santas Love Organized Chaos – Santa Sprawl!
Make sure to have a crew of two to three Santas that you are going to go to SantaCon with or meet up with because once the games are afoot, all bets on finding your friends are off. After the initial SantaCon meet up at the Vortex restaurant & bar and mega phone Santas start moving the pub crawl, there will be straggler Santas at each bar or ones who got ahead of the game because they wanted to grab a better spot at the bar. Even if you don’t want to follow the Santa pub crawl route, you can grab some friends, Santa up, mix and mingle at any bar in the area, and have a wildly stellar SantaCon experience.