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San Conning

How to do jolly like a real Laplander

Author Chris Wright Illustration Marc Rosenthal


SAN FRANCISCO – This month, cities across the U.S. host SantaCon events, including the place where it all began: San Francisco. Dubbed a “convention,” these affairs  consist of ironically costumed tipsy folks milling about going “Whoo!”—Mardi Gras in white beards. Some of us take the Ho! Ho! Ho! thing more seriously. Here, how to do jolly like a real Laplander.

1. The Beard

What you don’t want on your chin is something that looks as if it’s been pulled out of a cheap throw pillow. Your whiskers are key to your believability, so get something full, curly, and, um, hairy. Also, make sure to attach it securely, as beard malfunction will blow your cover and traumatize the kids.

2. The Belly

If you’re not already suitably endowed, and you simply refuse to gain a few dozen pounds before the big day, then you will need to simulate obesity. Again, pillows should play no part here. Instead, invest in a quality prosthetic belly, which can also serve as a fake beer gut or a third-trimester bump.

3. The Baritone

First, you need to work on perfecting your ho’s, which should sound booming without being scary, jolly without being maniacal. Fine line. Similar care should go into the on-the-knee chats. Some of the children will have been nice. Some will have been naughty. Try not to judge.

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