Artwork by Allison V. Young
I received the following letter late last week.
Dear Capt Peacock—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus and furthermore if there was such a man, he surely wouldn’t visit Amazônia. My dad said I should write you, as you are an authority on all things regarding the Amazon and that, “If Capt Peacock says there’s a Santa and that he visits the Amazon, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Well, Virginia, first let me congratulate you on your usage of the words “furthermore” and “regarding.” Pretty good vocabulary for an eight year old.
Thank you for writing with such an important question. Of course I’ll answer it (Next time however might I suggest you Google your question. It’d save both of us a lot of time and effort.)…
Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Clause and he does visit Amazonia although you might not recognize him if you saw him. This because Ol’ St. Nick changes clothes before entering our part of the world. He finds his wool / polar bear fur blend suit a bit warm for our climate. Instead, he usually wears a Guayabera or Hawaiian style shirt and shorts.
Santa also ditches his sleigh and reindeer when he enters the Amazon opting instead for a canoe led by harnessed pink dolphins.
Each Christmas Eve, boys and girls along the Rio Negro listen for Santa, hoping to hear him cry, “Now, Kaká! Now, Pelé! Now, Leonardo, and Neymar! On, Senna! On, Sheldon! On, Ronaldinho, and FIFA!” as he and his team plough through the water to deliver their much wanted gifts.
But good little boys and girls in the Amazon know that once they hear this they have only minutes to fall asleep or Santa will pass them by. So they rush to their rooms, pausing only to make sure the cachaça and beef they left out for the Big Man is still there, get under their sheet, and drift off to dreamland.
When the hut…er…house is asleep, Santa makes his way to the cook fire where he puts treats on the children’s shoes (It’s the Amazon. River People don’t hang stockings. They don’t even know what those are. They wear sandals, if anything.) and gifts under the tree. These are usually much wanted items like maps to secret fishing spots, lures, line, and hooks. To insure that those gifts stay safe, Santa asks a jungle animal such as a jaguar or tapir to protect them and to also watch that the children don’t wake before dawn.
So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he does visit the Amazon. He may dress a little different and utilize a different method of transportation while on the Rio Negro, but he’s the same special person that is loved by children the world over.
And he loves you too.
No matter what.
Still, you should always be good.