Tag Archives: reb kreyling

Holiday Traditions

A GiftThis month on my blog I’m sharing holiday traditions, mine and other people’s as well. This is the second of those posts, you can find the first, entitled Giftmas Cards (and subsequent ones) by visiting the main page, here. Happy Ho Ho!


Holiday Traditions

by Reb Kreyling

I’m in a unique situation with my family; I take blended to a whole new level. Not only am I a child of divorced parents but my mother remarried when I was a child and I have siblings from another country so we’ve adopted their traditions as well.

Little Christmas
When my mother was a child, her uncle lived in Japan so they began receiving packages long before Christmas. Her parents placed the presents under the tree and my mother and her siblings would see those packages every day. So my grandparents thought of “Little Christmas”. On the 23rd of December, my aunts, uncle, and mom were allowed to open one present. Then on Christmas Eve, they were allowed to open another present. The present they picked needed to be one from someone who lived far away, but other than that, they could open any present.

My mother started this tradition with me when I was a child since many of our family members lived far from us while I was growing up. As I was a child, I looked forward to Little Christmas Eve, not just because I got to open a present, but because my mom would let me choose a present for her and my step-mom to also open.

Christmas Trees
When my step-mom was a kid, her mom often baked all of their bread since there were eight of them. For Christmas, she made a special bread. It was a Norwegian sweet bread that I believe her mother made. As a special treat, she shaped it as Christmas trees. The bread was then frosted and decorated with candied fruit, sprinkles, and other sweets (gumdrops and the like). After opening presents on Christmas morning, we’d have a big breakfast with the bread as part of it.

Holiday Decorations
Special events—births, marriages, someone joining the family—is almost always commemorated with an ornament in my family. The weekend after Thanksgiving (unless something interferes like a move or something else), we begin decorating for the Christmas season. Our decorations are not taken down until after January 10th which was my grandfather’s birthday.

My youngest siblings are Vietnamese so as a family we celebrate TET or Vietnamese New Year. We don’t do anything huge, but we do make Pho. We played games when the kids were younger and the youngest child (my little sister) got good luck money for the New Year.


Bio: Reb Kreyling is a life time writer. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember and always has a notebook with her for that next idea. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Irish music and also uses her writing skills to let soldiers overseas know people back home are thinking of them as part of Soldiers’ Angels. She’s just recently begun blogging at http://rebkreyling.wordpress.com/and is looking forward to self-publishing in the future.

Winding Path

NaNoLJers Anthology 2011The first annual NaNoLJers anthology is done, and doesn’t it look pretty?

NaNoLJers is a livejournal community run by Amber Stults (as of December 2011) which I founded in 2005.I created it selfishly, so that I’d have a group of people I would feel accountable to in regard to my NaNoWriMo novel. On the unselfish side of my motivations, you have the fact I truly wanted to help other people achieve their NaNoWriMo goals too.

Since 2005 NaNoLJers has grown into a community of about 1,000 people but it’s really quiet. Like, really, really quiet, except in May, October and November. That’s because in May we run a writing challenge called Writo De Mayo. November is obviously all about NaNoWriMo and October is about pre-NaNo excitement LOL Still, there are writing prompts, exercises and the like posted on a regular basis (some of them by yours truly) and a great bunch of people are members. If you poke them just right they sometimes even come out to chat outside of the busy periods. Sometimes…

Anyway, before I stepped down as the community leader I started what I hope will become a NaNoLJers tradition — the annual anthology.

Putting together the guidelines was a little tricky and required a lot of tinkering. The thing about NaNoLJers (gawd, could I say that word anymore? LOL) is that we’ve got members at every stage of their writing careers. Some are professional writers and some are just starting out. I wanted to find a way to showcase everyone’s work no matter where they fit on the spectrum. I think we managed it here. Members of the community didn’t submit work for consideration, they submitted it for publication. That way there was no judgement. Less fear. Make no mistake, putting your work ‘out there’ for people to read for the first time (especially) is terrifying. I wanted to minimize that.

I decided to call this anthology Winding Path for three reasons:

  1. The title fit with the cover image that we, as a writing community, had chosen to use as the cover.
  2. One of the pieces sent in for inclusion was titled Winding Path
  3. This anthology took a very winding path toward completion. First there was the endless tweaking of the guidelines for ‘submission’ and then deadlines kept getting pushed back, and finally I had some personal issues with focus and getting things done that pushed back it’s completion even further.

It’s done now, and looks pretty spiffy, even if I do say so myself. It was the first time I’d ever done the entire layout for a .pdf myself (Jo does that stuff for Niteblade) and I learned a crapload of things in the process. That should hopefully make things go smoother next time I do a layout. I tried to do the cover design but then the following conversation took place:

Me: *grumble, swear, grumble*
Jo: You okay?
Me: No. I’m not a graphics person. I don’t do graphics, I do words!
Jo: I do graphics. For a living, even. *gently takes my laptop away*

I think he did a gorgeous job, far better than I could have.

So, if you’re curious you can download a copy of the NaNoLJers Anthology (completely free) at our community page:

~ Winding Path ~

It contains stories by Clare Revell, Amber Stults, Debbie Gorsuch, Emi Bullard, Reb Kreyling, Jade Brooke and yours truly. I’m hoping that next year we’ll have even greater interest and a bigger collection to show for it at the end. If you think you’d like to be a part of that, just join the community and keep an eye open for the guidelines I’ll be putting up sometime around June. Or just read the anthology. It’s all good.