- 1995 -- A band of 18 idiots decides to dress up in Santa suits and go bar-hopping in the Fan neighborhood of Richmond. Our chum Evan Lloyd is a large part of the brainstorm behind this. Our other chum Stew takes part and tells Rob, me, and others about it the next day.
- 1996 -- We travel down from DC for the Second Annual. 55 Santas. Outstanding.
- 1997 -- 128 Santas. Two buses. Bedlam.
- 1998-2000 -- more of the same.
- 2001 -- Evan dies on a Harley in July. At Christmas time I use grief counseling constructively and orchestrate a Santa Stumble in my U Street neighborhood in DC. We take $20 a man and donate it to Toys for Tots in Evan's name.
- 2000's -- Our group launches satellite Stumbles in NYC and Truckee, CA (that still carry on even in 2012). And other places like Norfolk, VA (which fizzled, alas). And we see other Stumbles pop up all over the place that have nothing to do with us.
- 2010 -- Our friend Steve Wiley and his wife Sofia launch one in Raleigh, NC.
- 2011 -- The Raleigh Stumble takes the giving to new heights, sending not one but two children with leukemia to Disney World as part of Make-a-Wish. Pretty friggin' awesome.
- 2012 -- The Raleigh chapter does the same with one child going to Pittsburgh to see a Steelers game and meet Antonio Brown, his favorite player. (This happened before the Stumble, like two weeks ago.) The second child is slated to go to Disney.
- Also 2012 -- How can I resist that story down in NC? At the last minute I dust off the old suit and break out the makeup and drive three hours and drink Narragansett beer and tequila and Jager and Fireball and bourbon and Jameson and random other shots and get blackout happy and sing carols and dance and fall down and laugh and revel and spread good cheer.
Kudos to the Wileys and the rest of the Raleigh group. The Stumble is still a damn good time for a damn good reason. Enjoy the progression of this year's slow descent from Gene Simmons Santa into The Dark Knight Returns and Orders the Meat Lover's Omelette AND a Side of Chicken Fried Steak at IHOP at 4AM.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and here's to new memories with old friends acting young.