It’s that magical time of year again when adults dress like an old fat guy in a red jumpsuit and pretend its all for the kids. Christmas is here, and with it comes some of the biggest parties, and hangovers, of the year. Here in Hong Kong, it’s not all that different from back home. A time for family and friends to get together and party. The first on my Christmas calendar this year, SantaCon Hong Kong.
And i can tell you, it kicked the festive season off with a bang! A worldwide event enjoyed on the same day by tens of thousands. Volunteers in cities around the world organise individual pub crawls, inviting everyone to join, and issuing only one rule – Santa outfit is a must.
This year was my first joining a Santa Claus Convention, and I only decided to do so on the morning of. Scraping together an outfit, I managed to find some red shorts/boxers, Santa hat, clip on decoration, and leftover window snow-spray. Once I found what I could, we met up with some friends to get ready while enjoying a predrink or two.
The S.Con is a daytime into nighttime affair, and we planned to join the Santa crew (already on the crawl) at noon, as they ventured from Hong Kong Island on the famous Star Ferry.
We left from home and were met with glorious sunshine, unbefitting this time of year. No doubt some are shocked Asia even has Christmas, let alone winter. But we do, and by this time of year it’s usually a damp, chilly, 10-13 degrees.
Stepping outside and finding glorious weather only added to our sense of ecstasy. 1. it’s the weekend 2. day drinking is acceptable (at an organised party), and 3. the weather’s fantastic! We strolled through those streets like they were clouds of nine, knowing we were in for an amazing time. After stopping for a photo or two with the odd Asian excited at seeing Santa Claus, we made it to the ferry pier.
Here we were united with almost a hundred similarly dressed Father Christmas (as we would call him in the UK). Merrily already, we all filed onto the ferry. A sea of red filled the seats and stood around on deck, while bemused and slightly confused tourists squeezed in where they could. Before the ropes were let loose, a rousing call of ‘deck the halls’ went up from one of the men in red, that soon had the entire ship singing along to Christmas carols.
Docking on Kowloon side, the ship emptied itself of Santa’s and the singing finally stopped. We continued on to the next (the first for us) bar. The walk was an adventure with a few road beers (cause you can here) through the ‘local’ side of Hong Kong. The residents of this fair country see ‘crazy’ regularly over in HK Island’s Lang Kwai Fong or Wan Chai, but those this side are less accustomed to stupidity. Plenty of people wanted photos, including a bride-to-be having her engagement snaps taken.
By the time we made it to the bar, it was time for me to leave. That afternoon there was a bbq I’d agreed to attend, the reason I hadn’t intended to join S.Con in the first place – til Kaleigh twisted my arm. But in the end, I was glad to have.
As I left, the group had congregated at an alfresco bar in Knutsford Terrace, where the festive level was still high. Although I didn’t get to enjoy the full crawl, or indeed wear the full outfit, being there certainly kick started my Christmas season and got me ready for more festivities to come!
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