The Christmas Coordinator – With Christmas Eve on the horizon, the citizens of the North Pole turn to Grimm for guidance and support. Being meticulous and organized is Grimm’s specialty. For years now, he has kept everything running smoothly, ensuring Christmas goes off without a hitch. With only one month to prepare and execute a perfect holiday, he has his work cut out for him. Strict schedules and long hours are what it takes to make sure every child has a Merry Christmas. Santa has had enough of Grimm working himself ragged, so this year, he has ordered Grimm to begin training an assistant who will help in the Christmases to come.
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My name is KAE Galla and I’ve loved writing since before I knew how. I’d sit with my mom and grandma telling them exactly what I wanted my story to be, and they would write it down under misshapen scribbles I tried to pass off as art work. It wasn’t until years later that I finally decided to go full throttle with my passion and share it with the world. Now, thanks to the support of my loving family, great friends, and an amazing team, my dreams of becoming an author are a reality. My heart is in Paranormal Romance, and Romance in general, with “Starburst” being the first of the “A Place to Call Home” series, but I love challenging myself and broadening my horizons so you can bet there is more to come!
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THE CHRISTMAS COORDINATOR
During the rest of the year, the elf community has their normal forty-hour work weeks, but not the month leading up to the big day. The month leading up to Christmas is the busiest and most stressful time of the year. As “Christmas Coordinator”, it’s my job to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, or at the very least without any of the children of the world realizing there were bumps in the road.
When it comes to organization and keeping things running smoothly, I’m the one in charge. I’m the one who ensures no one drops the ball this entire month, especially not me. If I overlook even one minute detail, it could mean the total ruin of Christmas. I can never let that happen.
Children only have so many years of carefree whimsy before the stress and confusion of adolescence and adulthood take hold. Once that happens, there’s nothing more we can do for them. That’s why it’s so important for us to make each and every Christmas memorable and full of joy.
Today the elves are stocking supplies and running safety checks on all the equipment while Santa, his advisory committee, and I make the master list. Assuming all goes well, production can start first thing tomorrow morning.
Walking into the conference room, it’s pretty much what you’d expect, a large oval table with chairs all around, dry erase boards along the walls and a projection screen in the center. As professional as the setup looks, this is the North Pole, and we have a flair for holiday spirit year-round. Tucked in the corner of the room is a small table fully stocked with hot cocoa and all sorts of Christmas cookies and desserts. Garlands, lights, and ornaments line the dry erase boards and when the projector isn’t in use, it is programmed to display snowflakes all around the room, turning it into a virtual snow globe.
Santa is sitting at the head of the table, patiently waiting for the others to arrive. In his pre-Christmas attire, Santa is wearing a deep red business suit with a green tie. His beard is neatly trimmed and well kept, while his cheeks are as rosy as always. I smile to myself as I think, no one would ever picture Santa in a business suit. If the world ever saw him on one of his days off, they might be reminded of his jolly persona, or they might even have a hunch as to who he is- he simply radiates Christmas Spirit- but, they would never be able to peg him as Santa immediately.
I take a moment to make sure all my documents are in order after taking my seat next to the jolly old man. Age is a relative term at the pole, but with his gray beard, the term ‘old’ fits. Elves live to be thousands of years old. Santa, along with his wife, has also been blessed by Father Time with a similarly long lifespan.
One by one, the advisory committee takes their seats and neatly stacks their own documents in front of them. Everyone chats excitedly but it’s time to get this show on the road.
Clearing my throat, I stand and address the room. “Good morning, everyone. Happy December first!”
Everyone in the room cheers and returns the greeting before giving me their undivided attention.
“Thank you all for your hard work this year, and, of course, for joining us so early…” And so begins the arduous task of combining all the data each of us has collected over the past year.
Their teams work hard all year long, watching the deeds done by the children of the world– some good, some not so good, some honest mistakes or slip-ups, others dark and devious, full of malicious intent. These men and women are our front line, our first defense against the Naughty List. No child is ever banned from the Nice List unless their actions are beyond saving, and even then we have a special team dedicated to investigating the reason behind their misdeeds. That team also provides each child with ample opportunities to right their wrongs, before absolute judgment is passed.
In past years, the advisory staff was drastically smaller. Unfortunately, we lost more children to the Naughty List that potentially could have been saved than I’d like to admit. Fifty years ago, when I took over the position as Christmas Coordinator, I did an overhaul on the advisory council itself by adding more members and adjusting workflow. Each council member is in charge of a small team. Each team is then assigned a time zone.
Decades ago, the world’s population wasn’t as robust as it is currently. Wars, disease, and famine took so many before their time. This also meant that not only were there far less children than there are now but also that many lost their Christmas spirit very early on. Although it’s painful to watch, there was nothing we could do.
Thankfully after so much destruction and sadness, cures have been discovered, treaties brokered, and there has also been an increase in charitable acts worldwide. With all the progress going on in the world, more and more children are being brought into the world. It was a slow process, so it’s understandable that the increased workload was overlooked. Sometimes a fresh look at the process is exactly what the doctor ordered, and that’s why the overhaul was so important.
We all have the same goal on the council: keep as many kids on the Nice List as possible.
“So, where do we stand this year?”
One at a time, they provide their reports on lost children before adding their portion of the Nice List to the Master. Our computer system speeds up the process of filtering and compiling the present list for our production staff in the toy shops.
Of those on the Naughty List, some are expected while others come as a total shock. For those unusual cases, Mr. Buckley and his team will continue to research and do their best to save them from the Naughty List. I know it’s unavoidable. We will always lose some children, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept, and it doesn’t mean we will give up on them.
As if on cue, Buck and the head of his alpha unit, Zayne, walk in to collect the appropriate case files. Once they’ve left, we can’t delay any longer. With a heavy heart, Santa, myself, and the other members of the council, sign and seal the Master List. Those on the naughty side now, won’t be receiving any presents from Santa this year, and probably never will again. Once a child loses their spirit, it’s rare for them to find it again. Adulthood has far too strong a pull.
“Don’t worry, Grimm. Buck will save as many as he can,” Santa says before dismissing the council.
Sighing heavily, I pack up my briefcase and get ready for my next task of the day. There’s so much to get done and not a lot of time to do it. Sure we spend the year getting the basics in order, but children’s desires change so frequently that it’s best to wait on hammering out the details.
Little girls don’t just want a baby doll anymore. They want dolls that cry, eat, and wet themselves. So our toymakers build basic doll forms throughout the year and then based on the Master List, they get to work turning those forms into toy ‘real babies’ and superheroes. Little boys don’t want cars or fire engines anymore. They want spaceships and transformers. So our toymakers follow the same process of building a basic form and then creating something new and exciting. So far, this process seems to work well.
“Grimm?” Santa asks from the doorway.
Shaking myself from my thoughts, I realize everyone else is long gone and I’ve been sitting here silently for several minutes. “Sorry, Santa. Just thinking about what’s next.”
“It’s only the first of the month and you already seem stressed. I want you to start training someone to be your assistant to help you next year and going forward. You do an amazing job and you’ve turned this process into a well-oiled machine. I think it’s time you had a little help.”
Nodding, I say, “Yeah, maybe. I’ll think about it.”
It’s not often that Santa pulls rank, but I see it in his eyes before he even speaks. He’s about to do just that. “Grimm, that’s an order. I won’t have you working yourself to death.”
“Understood, sir,” I say with my head low.
I know he’s right, but it’s hard for me to let go and trust that someone else will get the job done correctly. Maybe that seems controlling or like my ego is coming out, thinking that I’m the only one who can get the job done, but when the fate of Christmas is on the line, I can’t help but worry.
Other Books By Kae Galla
Nova spent years in a world she didn’t belong, never knowing who or what she is.
Years of questions and confusion, but the time has come for her to find out who she really is and where she belongs. Does she have a family that misses her? Have they been looking for her all along? Are there others like her? What could possibly have happened to bring her into the human world when she was so young?
The answers to all her questions are out there somewhere, and it’s time she found them. It won’t be easy, it may even be dangerous, but it’ll be worth it. Finding her family is only the first step, from there she will have to piece her life back together as she learns the differences between who she is and who she was meant to be.
What will happen when she’s thrown into a world she knows nothing about?
Luna Luna grew up with nomadic parents but when they disowned her for wanting to live among a true pack, Alpha Sax welcomed her into his pack before her awakening. On Luna’s sixteenth birthday, the awakening arrives and she shifts for the first time. Will she finally feel like she has found her home? Her place?
Despite her wolf being small and weak…
Despite being shunned by her true mate…
Despite having no blood relatives to stand up for her…
Luna is special and the Alpha knows it because she can see what others can’t, she can see people’s true colors. When Luna finds herself helpless and in danger will her mate see the light or will he abandon her for a second time.
Humans are selfish and greedy beings…at least that’s what I thought. When my mate turns out to be half human, I’m forced to take a closer look and realize not all humans are bad.
How do I tell her she’s not merely a human? How do I teach her about a side of her she never knew existed?
Will she accept me and our connection? Or will I be left heartbroken?
My entire life I felt out of place. I knew my aunt was doing the best she could raising me, but deep down I knew there was more out there for me. I just had to find it.
Growing up a human, I never expected to find a mate. Heck, I never even knew merfolk existed.
Falling in love was easy. Accepting who and what I am? That’s the hard part.
Tossed aside like garbage, I never knew who my true parents were. The woman who raised me never showed an ounce of motherly affection toward me, only a sense of responsibility.
When I’m forced to flee from the only home I’ve ever known, I fear death is all that awaits.
Until he finds me.
My life will never be the same.