As the countdown to Christmas approaches the single digits, it's time yet again to debate the season's classic points of controversy: Is Love, Actually adorably corny, or really just terrible? Is "Baby, It's Cold Outside" actually problematic? Can any Christmas song top Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You"? (Editor's Note: No, it can't.) You know, the usual seasonal fodder to ensure your holiday parties aren't just an endless exchange of "Have you noticed how it gets dark so early these days?"
In dozens of cities, these annual arguments include the ever-contentious: Is SantaCon a scourge, or is getting trashed in Santa suits an appropriate display of jolly good cheer? At best, the event results in rowdy Santas everywhere; at worst, it's destructive, violent, and full of puke.
After this weekend's revelry in San Francisco, Shalimar—a Pakistani restaurant on Polk Street—is probably not the biggest fan of the event. As CBS SF reported, the restaurant was trashed on Saturday night by two SantaCon partygoers—who were presumably trashed themselves.
The scuffle stemmed from an unpaid bill, CBS reported. As Shalimar worker, who declined to provide their name but claimed to have been working during the incident, told MUNCHIES over the phone, "She was claiming already paid. She was super drunk that she didn't know what she was doing. There was a whole bunch of people, but only two were very violent. A lady behind her tried to stop her."
At that point, the encounter escalated, with the customer in question picking up a sugar canister and throwing it at the worker, as seen in videos that have been uploaded to Twitter. Another video shows a different person smashing a glass door in the restaurant with a chair, while holding a Santa hat in one hand. The two SantaCon goers apparently also threw items, including the cash register and stereo, off the restaurant counter. Employees told CBS that this was the first time anything like this had happened in the restaurant.
The Shalimar staff member told MUNCHIES that the the entire day was full of SantaCon attendees asking to use the bathroom in order to pee or vomit. "For 8 hours or 9 hours, it was continuous," the worker said.
Open for over a decade, Shalimar is a lowkey Pakistani takeout-style restaurant praised by Yelp reviewers for being tasty and affordable, though its 3.5-star rating is due to complaints for issues such as greasiness and cleanliness. Still, as with many neighborhood joints, it appears to have a beloved following, and now locals are asking Twitter to track down the two restaurant vandals. As of publication, the two have yet to be identified.
According to CBS, another seven San Francisco SantaCon-goers were arrested for public drunkenness this past weekend.
Incidents like this have become common for SantaCon, with numerous high-profile fights and arrests at the event in recent years. At last year's SantaCon bar crawl in Hoboken, New Jersey, at least 17 people were arrested, including a woman who allegedly punched a police officer in the face.
In New York City, SantaCon apparently draws crowds in the tens of thousands—the 2012 event had an estimated 30,000 participants—but the event is supposed to remain within designated areas. In a move that has been encouraged by the NYPD, some bars straight up refuse to serve SantaCon participants.
Perhaps the most damning comment on the event's reputation is that even SantaCon's co-founder sort of thinks it sucks now: "If the whole idea is just to get shit-faced drunk, and that's all they're doing, then that's kind of dumb. It's kind of boring," co-founder John Law told VICE in 2015.
Speaking to CBS, the Shalimar worker who dealt with the drunken Santas seemed quite forgiving, stating that he simply wants the two vandals to pay for the damages. Meanwhile, many people in cities across America just want a holiday season free of breaking up Santa fights and cleaning up Santa puke.