In Photos: Santa Clauses came to town

In Photos: Santa Clauses came to town

Both naughty and nice, photographer Theo McInnes was on hand to capture the chaos and delight as hundreds of Santas descended on London this weekend.

“What do we want?” 


”When do we want it?”


It’s early when Huck photographer Theo McInnes arrives at the Leake St tunnel next to London’s Waterloo station. Also known as ‘Banksy Tunnel’, the road tunnel close to the River Thames is famous as one of the few places in the city where graffiti is legal. Its walls are a vibrant, ever changing mural to the creativity and chaos of the metropolis. It is, then, the perfect starting place for this year’s SantaCon event. 

This auspicious gathering of ‘Santae’ found it’s beginnings in Denmark in 1974 where activist theatre group Solvognen gathered dozens of Santa to hand out items from the shelves of a department store in Copenhagen as “presents” before being arrested. The prank was designed to make fun of Christmas and the consumerism that had consumed (get it) the holiday. 

Inspired by an article on the action people came together in San Francisco in 1994 in an event dubbed “Santarchy” which was influenced by the Surrealist movement ‘Discordianism’. Though not intended to be a recurrent event, 100 participants gathered in the city in 1995 and the movement was born.

Now, almost 30 years on, SantaCon events are held in hundreds of cities across the world.

“It was basically about 300 Santas on a giant pub crawl, with chants and music,” McInnes recalls. “Every passer- by smiled when they saw the chaotic group approach. They handed out sweets to kids as they passed, it was very good vibes!”

After assembling in the tunnel the Santas then descended on local pubs, following the route of the river, crossing the iconic Tower Bridge to get the tube to temple before ending the day at Trafalgar Square.

“I was surprised how it stayed together to be honest, there were some Santas who would chant ‘ho ho ho, Santas gotta go’ which would mean the next location,” says McInnes of the organisation of the day. “ Each location was a pub with a big outside area. As the day went on and the Santas had more to drink it did start to break up a bit. Some Santas might have had a few too many though and had to peel off early!”

Follow Theo McInnes on Instagram.

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