Santa Claus is coming to town: Thousands of Father Christmases gather in Trafalgar Square for flash mob
Weird and wonderful variety of Santas descend on Nelson's Column
They sang songs, took photos and handed out presents
Annual celebration has gained popularity through social networking sites
17:23 GMT, 15 December 2012
Thousands of revellers started their Christmas celebrations early by gathering in central London dressed as Santa this afternoon.
The annual festive party brought a weird and wonderful collection of Father Christmases to Trafalgar Square.
Santacon is a flash mob style celebration started several years ago and has gained popularity through social networking sites.
Trend: Similar events to Santacon take place in other cities around the world including Paris and New York each year
Christmas spirit: The revellers gathered in Trafalgar wear they sang songs, took pictures and enjoyed some festive merriment
Jingle all the way: The Santas brought bags of presents and sang songs around Nelson's column
Brave: Some Santas turned up in minimal outfits to the festive gathering
Yuletide fun: Revellers will follow a bar crawl around London after meeting in Trafalgar Square
And despite the chilly temperatures of only 9C, some Santas turned up in some decidedly risque costumes.
The Santas gathered at Nelson's Column to sing songs, take pictures and enjoy plenty of merriment before heading off on a city-wide pub crawl.
The mass Santa party has been copied and similar gatherings take place in other cities around the world including Paris and New York.
Organisers in the UK describe the meeting on their website as: 'A non-profit, non-political, non-religious celebratory parade of Christmas cheer, goodwill, and fun.
'It is not a membership organisation, just a traditional event in London, created by whoever wants to take part.
'Originally called the Santathon it was changed to Santacon due to the similarity with other events of that name taking place in other cities.
'Nevertheless there are customs, and veteran Santas have put together this evolving guide of how to make it work well.
'There is no particular reason to dress up in Santa suits, run around town, give gifts, sing songs, have strangers sit on our laps, and decide who is naughty or nice – but it’s a lot of fun – so Santa does it anyway. Everyone loves Santa and Santa loves everyone!'
Santacon: The annual pub crawl has gained popularity through social networking sites since it started several years ago
Naughty or nice: Organisers say the event is 'non-profit, non-political and non-religious'
Festive cheer: Revellers braved chilly temperatures in central London to dress up in a variety of wacky Santa-inspired outfits
Goodwill: Organisers say the event is about having fun because 'everybody loves Santa'