‘Twas the Seventieth night before Christmas, and all thru the house, not a creature was stirring. Because it was five minutes after midnight on October the 15th and I had just gone to bed. But maybe not so fast . . . . . . .
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It’s a little early to be talking about Christmas already, but folks, I got in trouble with the Big Guy last night. I should have known what was coming but wasn’t paying attention to the date. Every year on October 15th I get a call. Five minutes after midnight this time. Earliest ever. No sooner had I switched my light off to turn in for the night the phone rang. A direct call from the Big Guy. Yep. That one. Santa Claus. Knew I was in trouble the moment I saw the display on the phone—“North Pole Hotline”.
By calling at that hour Santa was purposefully demonstrating that he was burning the midnight oil, still busy at work and wondering why I wasn’t doing the same. We have a working relationship that goes way back, Santa and I, and to be honest I get that call from him on this day every year, with Santa checking in to see how my production is coming along on his orders for the upcoming holidays. Just never in the wee hours of the morning, and usually I’m not this far behind so the conversation goes a little better.
“I’ve been going over my mid-month status reports, and the open and received orders book here Jim, and notice that I have not received a single thing I ordered from you yet. Now, I placed those orders back in March before I left for my annual beach vacation. There’s only 70 days left until Christmas and it’s going to be here before you think. Is there a problem? I also have new orders for you. You know how we all look forward to your teddy bears and things every year. Are you going to be able to fulfill these orders or should I look elsewhere? It’s been quite a while since you’ve been on my Naughty List. We don’t want that now, do we?”
Santa is many things—a master craftsman, innovator, expert sleigh and reindeer handler, navigator extraordinaire, Elf coordinator, cookie connoisseur, bringer of good will and cheer, youth motivator and positive reinforcement master, and the list goes on. Quite an accomplished fellow. An unheralded ability that should be recognized is his mastery of delegation and follow-up. Not many orders or items slip thru the cracks on his watch. And if they do, Santa and we all have Mrs. Claus to answer to, the real “Power Behind the Sleigh” if you will. Accordingly, Santa makes it a high priority to stay on top of things, and last night it was my turn to report in and be held to account.
He noted that I had sold three jewelry pendants in the last 24 hours from my store, indicating a noticeable uptick in activity and a clear sign that the holiday busy season might be getting underway. He also reminded me in no uncertain terms that, according to his morning flash reports, my store indicated a “Low Inventory Status” for gift seekers he referred, and again that none of his personal Sleigh Delivery orders had been filled yet and wanted to know why, and what was I going to do about it? And would I be able to handle additional new orders?
One thing you need to know about Santa Claus. Twinkling eyes, dimples how merry, cheeks like roses, nose like a cherry—yes indeed, that’s all spot on. But when it comes to the business side, he gets right down to it in true executive fashion. He asks pointed, direct questions, doesn’t accept any hem-hawing around and cuts right thru the mistletoe! And he carries the threat of that “Naughty Boys List” around in his back pocket like a Cherokee War Club. Santa is all business when it comes to his orders and running a tight ship at the North Pole.
Now, having talked about Santa, one thing you need to know about me is that I live to make things in addition to writing, and have been making up new designs and creations for months- collector bears, accessories, pendant jewelry, a new line of bear and doll display chairs, and more. When it comes to photographing and listing it all online for my store, well, quite honestly, that’s where it all breaks down for me. Not being my favorite thing and being commonly human, I keep putting it off. My aching back and standing, bending and taking photos all day just don’t go well together it seems. But believe me, that is not an acceptable explanation to offer up to an elderly, overweight gentleman who spends a 24 hour shift scrambling up and down chimneys with a heavy sack, and bouncing around in a sleigh behind gassy reindeer for thousands of miles. Santa expects and works hard to keep everything coordinated, in order and on schedule.
And that’s why he was calling of course, to offer a firm reminder to put it in gear and get going myself. As I said, he knows me well from over the years, and gives me this “kick in the britches” about this time every holiday season. It was just a little harder kick this year. He knew the state of things here before he called. He knows and sees everything. When you’re sleeping, when you’re awake. Just like the song says. That’s why the phone was ringing before my light had lost its glow after turning it off last night. You couldn’t put anything over on the Big Guy if you tried, and really—why would you want to?
So, as he clearly reminded, it’s time for me to “Be good, not pout, not shout and get busy!” filling my store and his orders. And there is no way I want to disappoint him. If you see me a little less the next several weeks on Social Media and the like, please understand that I’m just busy on Santa’s orders and trying like the dickens to stay off his “Naughty Boys List”. And Mrs. C has already been after me about finishing Little Red Bear’s stories and getting them out, so I don’t want to go within a country mile of getting on her bad list. You know what I’m talking about.
Off to work on Santa’s list and orders then. Lots of photos to take and more things to make so better get to it. “Hey, Little Red Bear! Better get some cookies going and put on the teapot. We’ve got some long nights ahead.”
Thanks as always for reading. – Jim (and Red!)