It's taken almost two decades but SantaCon has finally surpassed St. Patrick's Day for widespread drunken revelry and lamentable P.R.

Saint Patrick can heartily thank Saint Nicholas, and commiserate too, for the bad behavior being done in the latter's name at SantaCon finally takes some heat off the Irish saint.

On Saturday tens of thousands of intoxicated 20 and 30-somethings dressed up as Santa Claus and invaded Manhattan (and elsewhere) to participate in another epic barroom bender, dressed in the red and white costumes they bought in bulk from Amazon (usually they step out as Kris Kringle or one of his pointy eared elves).

Call it a ho-ho-horror. It may be the most wonderful time of the year for kids, but it's a Yuletide yuck-fest for almost everyone else thanks to all these salacious Santas.

What's undeniable is that SantaCon has surpassed St. Patrick's Day in New York City in terms of public order offenses (just ask the long suffering NYPD, who have taken to sending warning letters to bar owners in midtown asking them not to participate in this annual farce). Last year they issued 100 summonses.

How do we know that SantaCon has become cultural ebola? Because the gays despise it and they're usually first in line for any opportunity to dress up and party.

Take a quick census of the gay bars of Hells Kitchen, one of the undisputed gay villages of Manhattan, and you'll find the red and white wearing hordes are no longer welcome in their establishments (and for good measure they will read you to filth if you even try).

You really have to work at getting thrown out of a gay bar, because they're freewheeling do your own thing havens, but these red coated ragers have managed it though sexism, homophobia, drunkenness and public vomiting.

It takes a lot to tilt LGBT tolerance over into the red zone, but another high-five of bros busy relieving themselves on the city streets achieved it years ago.

Some counter that SantaCon is all just good fun, but that's only true your concept of good fun hasn't progressed past the keggers and frat house hazing of your rapidly receding youth.

Critics claim there's a level of nihilistic joylessness to SantaCon that is uniquely its own. That's why the efforts of both pranksters and public interest groups have been trying to curtail it since it first stepped out here in 1998.

Isn't it good to think that all the lush leprechauns of march are finally getting a better rap?

What's your take on the annual festive frolic? Is it holly jolly or should it be banished to the North Pole?

SantaCon hits New York City today for another barroom bender.Wikimedia Commons