An annual phenomenon occurs each year in New York City in early December, where the already-tourist-laden streets swell and teem with hundreds (thousands?) of zealously-festive Manhattanites – all posing as Santa.

Well, that’s not entirely true. You’ll also find lots of Mrs. Clauses, or elves, or reindeer or presents or Christmas trees or anything remotely Christmasy-ish, festive, or red. They call it SantaCon, which I suppose means that the city is swarming with so many wanna-be Santa “con artists” that you’d fail to find the “real Santa” even if you were Nancy Drew.

I can only imagine the terror and confusion it must cause little kids. Poor things.

This was my first SantaCon experience, and I have to say, it was utter silliness. Imagine every street flocked with gaggles of giddy Santas, parading around in swarms of holiday cheer and infesting this city as if it were the North Pole. Talk about a way to bring random strangers together, well…this definitely achieved that. Santas overtook the subways, the parks, Times Square (yes, I saw elves doing choreographed dances in the middle of TS), and hundreds of bars and restaurants. It was like an all-day, holiday version of Halloween…times a bajillion.

Oh, and did I mention that I met Jesus, hanging out at the Village Tavern in the West Village? I have no idea who this guy was, but it definitely warranted a photo op. It’s not every day you meet Jesus in a Santa hat and purple polyester jumpsuit. Score.

Basically you just grab your friends, don your festive duds, and follow the crowds. Who knows where you might end up?

My day started in the West Village, swung through Bryant Park (where we scarfed down some delicious kettle corn as we wove through the crowds), sashayed up 5th Ave and skipped through a few Irish pubs where we sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” about thirty times.

Holiday spirit, a lil dress-up, and a full Saturday of Christmas silliness with some of your closest girlfriends? Can’t think of a better way to kick-off the Holiday season.

Merry December, loves!