The Story of Santacon


SantaCon is a wild event that happens throughout the U.S. at the beginning of December and everybody dresses up as Santa Claus. Find out why.

American English Podcast

American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

Start listening to the story of SantaCon at minute 9:00.

Let’s go ahead and move on to the topic of the day, which is SantaCon. Today, we’ll talk about where SantaCon came from and how it’s evolved to what it is today. I’ll also share my own experience at that event as well. 

Back in 1974 in Copenhagen, Denmark, there was a group of political activists from a theater group called Solvognen, I might be butchering that name, sorry for all of you Danish speakers out there. So one year, Solvognen, this theater group, decided to rebel against the consumerist culture of the Christmas season. 

It started innocently. Dozens of members dressed up as Santa Claus and sang carols as they passed out hot drinks to people on the streets. But overnight, the dynamic of the activity changed. On the second day, Santas from the group broke into General Motors and gave speeches on the unemployment crisis. Soon after, some Santas attacked the Copenhagen Labor Court. According to Atlas Obscura, on day four, the Santas entered a very large department store and, quote, "began to invite customers to take books off store shelves, smiling and hugging patrons while telling them that in the holiday spirit, everything was free."". 

As you can probably imagine, the customers, the patrons, consumers, whatever you want to call them, were ecstatic. They got some free gifts at Christmas time. Although the group was eventually deterred and many detained by the police, they ended up getting a lot of media attention. And since their goal was to get a public debate going. Many of the people from the group agreed that they had succeeded. Their message was out and their movement was so strong that the news about it even made its way across the Atlantic.

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Shana - ESL Teacher

Hi Everyone! I am an ESL teacher from California and the host of the American English Podcast. Learn more about me and my teaching experience here.

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