• Simon O'Donovan

Thanksgiving Thursday 28th November

The Thanksgiving holiday is always on the fourth Thursday of November, that is the 28th of this month. "Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life."- Robert Louis Stevenson

THANKSGIVING QUIZ Thanksgiving: it’s that time of year when Americans around the world prepare to gather with their loved ones to feast, watch football and take a moment to acknowledge all that they have to be grateful for. But underneath the festivities, the occasion is fascinating, complex and political. So, test how much you know about Thanksgiving with the quiz below. (The correct answer is starred.) Thanksgiving occurs on the: 1. Fourth Thursday in November * 2. Third Thursday in November 3. November 26th each year The first Thanksgiving lasted: 1. One day 2. Two days 3. Three days * Which of the following was NOT served at the Pilgrims Thanksgiving meal? 1. Cranberries, corn, and mashed potatoes * 2. Rabbit, chicken, wild turkey, and dried fruit 3. Venison (deer meat), fish, goose Which Indian tribe taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land and were invited to the Thanksgiving meal? 1. Apache 2. Wampanoag * 3. Cherokee Approximately how many turkeys are eaten each year on Thanksgiving in the United States? 1. 100 million 2. 280 million * 3. 500 million Which southern state was the first to adopt a Thanksgiving Day in 1855? 1. South Carolina 2. Virginia * 3: Georgia What is a snood? 1. The loose skin under a male turkey’s neck * 2. A hat worn by a Pilgrim 3. A hot cider drink served at Thanksgiving What utensil was not used by the Pilgrims to eat Thanksgiving dinner? 1. Knife 2. Fork * 3. Spoon The best place to put the meat thermometer in the turkey is: 1. The breast 2. The middle of the back 3. The thigh *

(The 'parson's nose' is the fatty end of the tail.) Which president is believed to be the first to pardon a turkey and start this annual tradition? 1. President Lincoln in 1863 2. President Roosevelt in 1939 3. President Harry Truman in 1947 * The Pilgrims came to the New World seeking religious freedom and were also called: 1. The Puritans because they wanted to purify the teachings and ceremonies of the Church of England * 2. The Great Explorers 3. The Wanderers

(The Puritans came over from Plymouth on the 'Mayflower' in 1620.)

Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November because 1. It is the date the Pilgrims landed in the New World 2. This was the date set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress in 1941 * 3. It was the date people voted to have it on What is a baby turkey called? 1. A chick 2. A nestling 3. A poult * It has been estimated that how many Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving? 1. 88% * 2. 50% 3. 75% A full grown turkey has about how many feathers? 1. A million 2. Too many to count! 3. 3,500 *

TRUE OR FALSE Canada also has Thanksgiving? They have their holiday on the second Monday in October. (TRUE) The first ever Thanksgiving was held in 1621 at Plymouth (UK) by the Pilgrims? (TRUE. Thanksgiving feasts were part of early religion in England before the Pilgrims ever came to the New World.) All turkeys can fly? (FALSE. Wild turkeys can fly, but those domestically grown for eating cannot because they are too heavy.) The Pilgrims only “celebrated” three days – the Sabbath, fast days, and days of thanksgiving? (TRUE) All turkeys gobble? (FALSE. Only male turkeys gobble. They do so to attract female turkeys) The first department store to hold a Thanksgiving parade was Macy’s? (FALSE. It was Gimbel’s) More than half of the people in the Plymouth colony died that winter of 1621? (TRUE) Every year the President of the United States pardons a turkey, who spends the rest of its life on a historical farm? (TRUE) Cranberries are tasted to see if they are sweet enough to harvest? (FALSE. Cranberries are bounced to see if they are ripe. They should bounce about 4 inches high) Turkeys can see behind themselves? (TRUE. They can see 270 degrees) Eating turkey does in fact make you sleepy? (TRUE. Turkeys contain an amino acid, tryptophan, which is a natural sedative. However, the large amount of food eaten and alcohol drunk probably contributes!)

(It is good luck to win the larger piece of the wishbone.) Native Americans used cranberries for more than just cooking – the fruit was used as a medicine too? (TRUE. Native Americans used cranberries for cooking, but they also used them to treat arrow punctures and other wounds. They also used the fruit to dye fabric.) One of America’s founding fathers suggested the turkey, rather than the bald eagle, be the national bird of the U.S.A.? (TRUE– Benjamin Franklin, in 1784, suggested the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national bird, instead of the bald eagle, because though silly and vain they are more respectable birds and are birds of courage.)

DISCUSSION Go around the room and ask members ...

What are they most thankful for? What is their happiest memory? What is the achievement or decision they are most proud of? Are there any regrets about missed opportunities? If we were to prepare a Thanksgiving (Turkey) Dinner, how would we go about it? A traditional Thanksgiving dinner would consist of: - Roast Turkey, with stuffing - Mashed potato - Gravy - Cranberry sauce - Corn, grilled or creamed - Green bean casserole or Brussels sprouts with bacon - Cracked pepper bread rolls - Candied sweet potato or yams - Pumpkin pie or Pecan pie

Ask members to rate the above Thanksgiving Dinner with this YouGov chart of Favourite British Foods.

Which would they prefer? Where would they rank turkey dinner?

The day after Thanksgiving, when people head for the sales, is commonly referred to as what? BLACK FRIDAY For people too full or lazy to go shopping on Black Friday, there is always CYBER MONDAY, which is a good time to purchase electric and tech goods online.



Has anyone any burning ambitions of things they want to do or places they want to go?

Maybe create a 'Friendship Group Bucket List' for the whole group?

Who has visited America, or would like to? Do members have favourite cities or resorts they would like to go to?

(Click on the bald eagle above to go to the slides show to print off for the tables.

Ask people to identify the places in the pictures.

Ask the questions ...

Prompt recall and reminiscence.

Encourage story telling.)

- Las Vegas. What past-time is Las Vegas famous for? - GAMBLING

(The name of the main street is 'The Strip'.)

- San Francisco. Who starred in 'The Streets Of San Francisco'? - KARL MALDEN & MICHAEL DOUGLAS

('Cable Cars' are the historic mode of transport up and down the hills.)

- Los Angeles / Hollywood. What industry is this city most associated with? - MOVIES

(The 'Walk Of Fame' comprises 2,600 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars with the names of Hollywood stars and images of their area of specialism appearing on them.)

- 'Graceland' / Memphis. Who lived here? - ELVIS PRESLEY

(Elvis died in 1977, age 42.)

- New York. What is the nickname of this city? - THE BIG APPLE

("So good they named it twice!")

- Florida Keys. What are 'Keys'? - SMALL ISLANDS


- Nappa Valley. What is made here? - WINE

(Go around the room and ask for any preferences of grape?)

- Seattle. Who starred in the movie 'Sleepless In Seattle'? - TOM HANKS & MEG RYAN

(The name of the tower is 'The Space Needle'.)

- Chicago. What is this city's nick name? - THE WINDY CITY

(Chicago is situated on Lake Michigan. The other great lakes are Superior, Huron, Ontario & Eerie.)

- Hawaii. What is 'The Big Island'? - OAHU. And the famous beach pictured here? - WAIKIKI

(Pearl Harbour is nearby. The attacks there took place on 7th December, 1941.) might feature in people's responses. Or maybe particular sites of interest, such as ... - Niagara Falls. What is the name of the tourist boat? - THE MAID OF THE MIST

(The falls drain Lake Eerie into Lake Ontario.)

- Statue Of Liberty. What is she holding in her hands? - TORCH & TABLET WITH DATE OF JULY 4TH 1776 INSCRIBED ON IT (DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE)

(Ellis Island is where immigrants were screened on arrival to the USA.)

- Alcatraz. Who starred in the 1979 movie 'Escape From Alcatraz'? - CLINT EASTWOOD

(Burt Lancaster starred in the 1962 movie, 'The Birdman Of Alcatraz'.)

- Grand Canyon. Who could do 'The Grand Canyon Skywalk'? - DISCUSS

(The Colarado River runs through it.)

- White House. Who lives here? - PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (THOUGHTS?)

(His wife's name in Melania. She is from Solvenia.)

- Yellowstone National Park. Which bear lived in Jellystone Park? - YOGI

(His best friend was Boo-Boo. His catchphrase was, "Smarter than the average bear!")

- Times Square. Where are musicals staged near here? - BROADWAY

(The 'Times Square Ball' drops 43 metres in 60 seconds at 11.59pm on New Year's Eve.)

- Golden Gate Bridge. What colour is the bridge? - INTERNATIONAL ORANGE

True or False. It is longer than the Prince Of Wales/Severn Bridge? - TRUE - 2.7KM VERSUS 1.6KM

- Central Park. What was the name of the cafe in the TV comedy series 'Friends'? - CENTRAL PERK

(Gunther was the Manager, who was in love with Rachel.)

- Ground Zero. What date was the terrorist attack on The World Trade Centre in New York, as well as The Pentagon in Washington? - 9/11 OR 11TH SEPTEMBER 2001 (2,977 SOULS LOST THEIR LIVES, MORE THAN 6,000 WERE INJURED)

(The new 'One World Trade Centre is the tallest building in USA, standing at 1,776 feet.)

- Disneyland. Name the characters in the picture? - GOOFY, PLUTO, MICKEY MOUSE, MINNIE MOUSE & DONALD DUCK

(Mickey and Minnie had their 90th anniversary this week!)

YOU SAY POTATO Next, ask members to guess at the alternative American words for everyday English words. Biscuit - COOKIE Chips - FRENCH FRIES Crisps - CHIPS Aubergine - EGGPLANT Courgette - ZUCCHINI Spring onion - SCALLION Beetroot - BEETS Herbs - HERB (WITH A SILENT H) Basil - BASIL (WITH THE S SOUNDING LIKE A Z) Coriander - CILANTRO Porridge - OATMEAL Treacle - MOLASSES Mincemeat - GROUND BEEF OR PORK (Remember the 'Trifle' episode of 'Friends') Ice lolly - POPSICLE Sweets - CANDY Candy floss - COTTON CANDY Jam - JELLY Jelly - JELLO Trainers - SNEAKERS Kit - UNIFORM Jumper - SWEATER Tissue - KLEENEX Nappy - DIAPER Dummy - PACIFIER Vacuum - HOOVER Flat - APARTMENT Lift - ELEVATOR Underground - SUBWAY Pavement - SIDEWALK Zebra crossing - CROSSWALK Toilet - RESTROOM Chemist - PHARMACY High Street - MAIN STREET Lorry - TRUCK Estate car - STATION WAGON Motorway - HIGHWAY Flyover - OVERPASS Diversion - DETOUR Car park - PARKING LOT Petrol - GAS Queue - LINE Post - MAIL Post code - ZIP CODE Timetable - SCHEDULE Rubber - ERASER Torch - FLASHLIGHT Mobile phone - CELL PHONE Car boot - TRUNK Car bonnet - HOOD Takeaway - TAKEOUT Rubbish - GARBAGE OR TRASH Holiday - VACATION Autumn - FALL Noughts and crosses - TIC TAC TOE Football - SOCCER Full stop - PERIOD

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES MUSIC QUIZ Spotify Playlist link here: Thanks For The Memories - Bob Hope & Dorothy Lamour In the 'Road To ....' movies, who always co-starred alongside Bob Hope? BING CROSBY (The 'Roads To' were SINGAPORE, ZANZIBAR, MOROCCO, UTOPIA, RIO, BALI & HONG KONG) Thank You Very Much - The Scaffold What chocolates did this song help advertise? CADBURY'S ROSES Lucky Stars - Dean Friedman This song made number 3 in the UK charts in which year? 1978 The Golden Girls - TV Theme Name the 'Golden Girls' characters and actors? ROSE NYLAND (BETTY WHITE), DOROTHY ZBORNAK (BEA ARTHUR), BLANCHE DEVEREUX (RUE MCCLANAHAN) & SOPHIA PETRILLO (ESTELLE GETTY) (Andrew Gold wrote the song 'Thank You For Being A Friend') Cheers - TV Theme Where was the bar 'Cheers'? BOSTON (Sam Mallone, played by Ted Danson, ran the bar) Friends - TV Theme Name the characters and actors? RACHEL GREEN (JENNIFER ANISTON), CHANDLER BING (MATTHEW PERRY), MONICA GELLER (COURTENEY COX), JOEY TRIBBIANI (MATT LE BLANC), PHOEBE BUFFAY (LISA KUDROW) & ROSS GELLER (DAVID SCHWIMMER) Whatever Will Be - Doris Day How old was Doris Day when she died earlier this year? 97 - BORN APRIL 3RD, 1922 Magic Moments - Perry Como This song also helped advertise chocolates. Which ones? QUALITY STREET (The song was also used as the name and music for a fictional 'Surprise, Surprise' show in the Victoria Wood TV drama 'PAT AND MARGARET') Let's Call The Whole Thing Off - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong Maybe, as a memory exercise, ask members to repeat the American words for these English words - Lift = ELEVATOR, Pavement = SIDEWALK, Biscuits = COOKIES & Courgette = ZUCCHINI Make Someone Happy - Jimmy Durante What film soundtrack did this song feature in? SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE It starred? TOM HANKS & MEG RYAN They finally met at the top of which New York building? THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING Yankee Doodle Dandy - James Cagney & Bob Hope What was James Cagney's catchphrase? YOU DIRTY RAT Have members have a go at saying it with as much meaning and feeling as they can. Just for fun! Ain't Got No - Nina Simone Listen carefully, aside from her bodily attributes what is the most important gift Nina has? FREEDOM Top Of The World - Carpenters What would you find at the top of the world? THE NORTH POLE (An interesting fact, if you travel the circumference of the globe you travel South then North, then South again. If you travel along the equator you only ever head East or West) Thank You - Dido We are making 'Thank You' cards for our activity later, so who do members most want to say "Thank You" to? Thank You For The Music - ABBA If members were to thank the universe for one song or piece of music, what would it be? Feeling Good - Nina Simone What are the things that make us feel good? Let's make a list. A KISS, A CUDDLE, A SMILE, WARM SUN ON YOUR FACE, A BEAUTIFUL VIEW, NATURE, A GLASS OF WINE, OR A NICE CUP OF TEA Don't Stop Me Now - Queen What does Freddie Mercury call himself in this song? MR FARENHEIT I Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin What was the late Aretha Franklin known as? THE QUEEN OF SOUL Her music was based on which style? GOSPEL MUSIC How Great Thou Art - Elvis Presley If Elvis had lived, what birthday would he be celebrating on 8th January next? 81ST Amazing Grace - Susan Boyle Where does Susan Boyle live? BLACKBURN, WEST LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND Her nickname is? SUBO What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong The ultimate feel good song to sing along with... Or dance to, of course! The Star Spangled Banner - Whitney Houston And we finish with a tribute to our American friends across the water and hope they have a great Thanksgiving.

ACTIVITY We suggest you print off some outline images to make 'Thank You' cards together. Adult colouring is always an enjoyable activity for our group. Another option would be to download onto phones or laptops, if you have these available, the following apps. Happy Colour - Colour By Numbers, created by


Colorfy, created by (both available in the iOS App Store or Google Playstore) 'Happy Colour' requires you to use your finger or a dabber to colour in numbered sections of an image. If you get stuck an assist button is available. 'Colorfy' is more free flow, which may be a better option for people who are less able to identify numbered and shaded areas. The benefit of both of these apps is immediate colour within defined lines, so the annoyance of not being able to fully control pens and pencils freehand is removed.

REFRESHMENTS We suggest you offer members Pecan Pie, or Pumpkin Pie, or Apple Pie, and Cranberry or Apple Juice (or hot cider) to really get the Thanksgiving vibe really going.

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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