Several years ago a buddy, experiencing their first green Christmas in the islands, reminisced on how different Christmas felt without the snow and cold. After a pause there was a question, what was Christmas like growing up here? Here being St. Thomas, USVI. Then a whole string of questions; you guys have Santa right? Rudolph? Letters to the North Pole?
Christmas Imagery in the Islands
As a kid I loved Christmas songs. For months before Christmas I would play my favorite tunes, singing lyrics like; “dashing through the snow on a one horse open sleigh”, “Santa Claus is coming to town”, “Well the weather outside is frightful but the company is so delightful”, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas lend your ear this way”.
Along with the songs that helped paint a picture of Christmas in my mind there were the favorite Christmas TV shows like ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’.
One day while I dashed through the living room singing let it snow, bright sunshine outside the window it dawned on me…
The TV show and songs might say Santa visits everywhere… but I don’t have a chimney, it doesn’t snow in the islands, there are no reindeers…!!! Worried, I asked my parents. My parents smiled and said that we were going to an event in a few days and Santa Claus was going to be there.
Santa Claus visits the USVI
There were lots of people gathered and having a jolly time. Santa apparently was coming by boat, Yamaha brand reindeers. After standing in line I was right in front of Santa and with no ill meaning intended I was fairly confused, Santa is Black? Santa said to me something along the lines of Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas and I said something along the lines of Mr. Santa all the pictures I have seen, and the cards, and the ornaments, and the TV shows, and… Isn’t Santa White? So Santa explained that the world was very large and the Big Santa couldn’t visit all the children by himself so he had helper Santas. That statement was followed by “Good Thing.” (For anyone that lives in St. Thomas, that saying likely sounds a lot like a certain radio personality.) Helper Santa gave me a stocking filled with candies and some other things and off I went, likely humming a Christmas tune.
If you too were wondering about Santa’s visits to the USVI, he does indeed have the islands covered but typically Rudolph stays at home!