No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas


Here’s a beautiful tribute to Christmas in the Polish tradition, and of course it’s Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day that is celebrated, starting with dinner as soon as the first star appears in the sky – a rather tough call in the midst of a New Zealand summer – to opening presents under the tree later in the evening.

Anyway, enjoy, and feel free to post your own favourite Christmas hymns and songs in the comments, and I may grab one or two to place in this post to accompany this one.

Also, while I’ve never rated eggnog you might consider trying the following. I certainly will since I’m well aware of what drinkers George Washington and the Founders were.

We do have another homemade eggnog recipe kindly shared by Mount Vernon, as eggnog was indeed a popular drink in the latter half of the 18th century. 

We’ve slightly adapted this recipe to make the ingredient amounts clear. We recommend preparing the mixture a day in advance so it’s well chilled. It’s well worth it! The grocery store stuff isn’t even the same animal.


12 eggs (pasteurized if possible), room temperature
½ cup sugar
One-fifth bourbon (750ml bottle)*
½ teaspoon salt
1 quart whipping cream
Optional: 1 cup milk
1 to 2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly grated (not ground)
*Note: You can adjust the amount of alcohol in this recipe or omit it altogether. Or, use a different alchohol on hand; common choices include brandy, rum, bourbon, or whisky. One eggnog recipe we enjoy (from the 1950s) uses “1 cup bourbon and 1 cup Cognac” in place of the one-fifth bourbon.


Separate the egg whites and egg yolks very carefully, making sure there is absolutely no yolk in the whites. Cover the egg whites and store in the refrigerator.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. (Or, use an electric or stand mixture with a whisk attachment.) Whip until thick and smooth; it should be lemon yellow in color, 5 to 7 minutes.
Slowly add the alcohol desired to large bowl while beating at slow speed. Scrape down side of bowl. Chill mixture for several hours or overnight.
In separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until almost stiff. 
Whip the cream until stiff. 
Fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Chill 1 hour.
When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve in punch cups with a spoon.

And then there’s this…

Written by Tom Hunter

December 24, 2020 at 10:30 pm

Japan still trying to figure out Christmas

Back in the early 90’s when I subscribed to The Economist magazine there was a farewell article by a retiring reporter that mentioned a stint he had in Japan in the 1970’s.

He was well-travelled so rarely suffered from Culture Shock and instead enjoyed the wierd and wonderful differences from his English upbringing.

However, one anecdote I found highly amusing, as did he. Walking past some massive department store street-front windows at Christmas time he noted one display in particular featuring Santa Claus. The Japanese store had almost everything correct; the fake snow, reindeer, the jolly grin and white beard, Rubenesque figure, red suit and so forth. Except for one very prominent thing.

He was nailed to a large cross!

I know that there are not a lot of Christians in Japan but surely the store managers and workers might have known even one with whom they could check the details.

I thought of this story when I saw the following recent photograph of another Japanese Christmas display, that shows they’re no closer to figuring out the event.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 20, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Humour

Tagged with ,

A heart warming Christmas story from long ago

The article actually had two or three such stories, focusing on the writer’s kids talking to their great-grandfather a decade ago about what his Christmas had been like in the Great Depression.

Her husband had got a little annoyed with their kids seeming to be a little ungrateful about all their Christmas treats and presents, so had “assigned” them a project to ask the old guy ten questions about his experiences in early 30’s America.

That afternoon, while the rest of the family was out, each kid took a turn calling Gramps to interview him, then they wrote up his answers. When we got back, both somberly read us their summaries — how when Gramps was their age, he received a Christmas stocking with an orange at the bottom and it was the only orange he got to eat all year, how he and his brother had to share a single present of a model car. “I hated Christmas,” Gramps told our daughter.

Ouch! I don’t recall my parents having Depression Christmas’s that were that bad, even if they did have other stories of being poor.

But it was the following part, almost an aside, that I picked up on:

After Saigon fell to communism in 1975, my parents fled here with their five children, ages 4-9, and our refugee family was sponsored by the Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Phoenix. That first Christmas, church members rang the doorbell one night and brought in Christmas. All of Christmas — a tree they taught my siblings and me to decorate right then, presents to put under it, cookies and eggnog. In the middle of all this, the pastor’s wife suddenly asked where my mom had gone. When we found her, she was in her bedroom crying. It scared me because she never used to cry. She just couldn’t believe that people who looked absolutely nothing like us and who weren’t connected to us by blood could be so kind. 

In my experience that’s what most Americans are like.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 27, 2019 at 11:41 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , ,

Merry Christmas

and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our readers.

(We sang these in our Christmas concert.)

Written by adolffinkensen

December 24, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Straight, No Chaser at Christmas

Well stuff all this politics nonsense on Christmas Eve.

Being it’s the big Polish day of feasting and celebration, I have to get busy!

Here’s a mens a cappella group, Straight No Chaser, singing their version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

They were formed in the mid-90’s at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year – and be careful if you’re on our roads at this time.

Enjoy these musically clever buggers.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 23, 2019 at 10:30 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , ,

A Sell Out

Adolf’s debut with the South West Opera Co took place on Sunday afternoon at the Anglican Cathedral which is possessed of excellent acoustics.  Family members who asked whether they could buy tickets were told, don’t worry, you can buy them at the door.  Just as well they arrived early.  It was sold out.

The event wasn’t recorded so I’m unable to inflict it on readers, however by comments related to me second hand, it was pretty good for a bunch of amateur singers.  (First hand comments are always positive.  People are far too polite.)

My recollection is that we practiced for about fifty hours during the preceding two months.  The nineteen piece orchestra sounded pretty ropy at times during practice, especially the violins, but on the day they all got it together and performed superbly.

All in all, a pleasant experience.  It’s over twenty years since I was part of a big choir.  Is forty-eight voices big?  I think so. 

The programme included:-

Hodeo Christus Natus Est                 Owalabi
Pleni Sunt Coeli                                Liebergen
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring               Bach
For Unto Us A Child Is Born           Handel
Angels From The Realms                Forrest
Western European Carol Suite         Hayes
He watching Over Israel                  Mendellsohn
Hark The Herald Angel                   Forrest
Little Drummer Boy                        Hayes
Eastern European Carol Suite         Hayes
Do You Hear What I hear               Simeone
O Holy Night                                  Clausen
Hallelujah Chorus                           Handel

Too bad for all the fundamentalist atheists.  They don’t know not what they are missing out on.

Written by adolffinkensen

December 11, 2018 at 5:52 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,

Just The Very Bestest

Number two daughter gave Adolf an MP3 player for Christmas.   The idea is that it might accompany Adolf on his morning walks.  This gadget beats all the chocolate almonds and bottles of single malt.

Image result for mp3 player

So far I’ve managed to load some British and American marches (an excellent combined US and UK military band) and Mozart arias sung by Domingo and Te Kanawa.

This morning was the first outing, with Sousa and his British friends.  I recognise many of the tunes but don’t recall the names.

For those who like statistics, I’ve started again after some leg issues (mainly worn shoes, as it turns out) and am back up to 4,800m.   Two days ago that took 52 minutes.  Today, it was down to 49 minutes.

Now I know why armies used bands to accompany marching troops.

Written by adolffinkensen

December 26, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Christmas Greetings

Adolf wishes all those who read No Minister a peaceful and joyous Christmas and a prosperous and rewarding New Year.

Image result for peace and goodwill to all mankind

Today commenting privileges are restored to all those who lost them during the year.

Remember to keep a civil tongue in your heads when commenting.

Written by adolffinkensen

December 24, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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