With Christmas Eve - and the world's most grueling overnight delivery - just around the corner, Santa Claus might be ready for a drink.

Although the main man probably can't stop for a beer just yet, there will be hundreds of other Santas enjoying a few rounds on his behalf Dec. 16 in downtown Savannah.

SantaCon Savannah is a holiday pub crawl for everyone who wants to merrily roam the Historic District dressed as their favorite jolly old elf while bringing toys to girls and boys. There are over 300 SantaCons around the country, with New York - which draws 30,000 people - hosting the largest.

A man who goes by the name of Santa Mike founded the local SantaCon group in 2010.

"I went to SantaCon in Philadelphia in 2008 and had a blast," says Santa Mike. "I thought Savannah needed one of its own. The first year had 115 people show up and last year there were 250 to 300 people."

Although the event is free to join, participants should bring an unwrapped toy valued at about $15 to donate to Toys for Tots. Drop boxes will be located at different bars. There is an honor system in place, so try not to be a Grinch by not bringing a gift.

"Usually, I get a full truck load - almost 200 toys!" says Santa Mike. "There were a few years when people even dropped off bicycles."

Santa Mike encourages revelers to wear more than just a Santa cap. It's more fun for everyone if the crowd is in full costume - but you don't necessarily need to dress like Santa. Participants in the past have dressed like snowmen, elves and reindeer. Santa Mike has seen some unique costumes over the years.

"Jesus is kind of popular," says Santa Mike. "There's a guy who dresses up like Mrs. Claus every year. We've had everyone from the burglars from 'Home Alone' to Heat Miser and [Snow] Miser [from 'The Year Without a Santa Claus]. There was even a secret service agent with the naughty and nice list handcuffed to his wrist."

The event begins at noon Dec. 16 and continues until 9 p.m. Santa Mike usually posts the list of participating bars the night before on the SantaCon Savannah 2017 Facebook page, but the event always culminates with Santa karaoke at Bay Street Blues.

There is a long list of ground rules on the website to ensure that everyone has a safe and merry time. Some of these include addressing everyone as "Santa," absolutely do not make any children cry, and bring cash - "imagine being a bartender with 100 credit card tabs for Santa."

Of course, make sure you have a few designated elves to fly your sleigh home for you. Santa Mike implores, "Please bring a good attitude, don't drink too much, have a plan to get home and have fun."

It might be confusing for little children to see so many versions of Santa congregating downtown, but they should know that the real Santa is still hard at work in the North Pole.

"SantaCon is for people who want to be like Santa," Santa Mike says.


What: SantaCon Savannah 2017

When: Noon-9 p.m. Dec. 16

Where: Downtown Savannah

Cost: Free, bring a $15 toy to donate

Info: SantaCon Savannah 2017 on Facebook