About Me

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

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

 

I've been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive our 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. 

 

My colleagues and I have been using these approaches regularly in our day to day work and have found them beneficial. The materials provided have been tried and tested, then refined to improve and further develop them for future use.

 

The main aim of this website is to share our 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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Christmas Cheer

December 17, 2018

 

 

Here are some suggested activities for a Christmas themed CST Group.

Start the session by pulling a Christmas cracker together and putting on the hats.


IDIOMS

Ask members to complete the following phrases ...

Jesus Mary and - JOSEPH
Away in a - MANGER
Three wise - MEN
The holly and the - IVY
Mulled - WINE
Underneath the - MISTLETOE
Good King - WENCESLAS
Rudolf the red nose - REINDEER
Robin - REDBREAST
Father - CHRISTMAS
Santa - CLAUS
Jack - FROST
Snow - FLAKE, BALL
White - CHRISTMAS
Ebenezer - SCROOGE
Advent - CALENDAR, CANDLE
Carol - SERVICE
Nativity - PLAY
Midnight - MASS
Cranberry - SAUCE
Sage and onion - STUFFING
Brussels - SPROUTS
Mince - PIES
Chocolate - LOG
Jingle - BELLS
Fairy - LIGHTS
Wrapping - PAPER
Queen's - SPEECH
Christmas - TREE, DECORATIONS, CAROL, CRACKER, PRESENT, PUDDING, CAKE, EVE, DAY
Boxing - DAY
New year's - EVE, DAY, RESOLUTIONS
Auld Lang - SYNE
We wish you a merry - CHRISTMAS
(AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR)


 

 


Next, discuss Christmas Past. Ask people to list things which remind them of Christmas. Here's a list to get things going:
 
IN THE RUN UP TO CHRISTMAS
 
- Writing and receiving Christmas cards
- Posting letters to Santa
- Opening the Advent Calendar
- Decorating the Christmas tree, with tinsel and baubles
- Placing the angel on top of the tree
- Putting up the crib
- Making paper chain decorations
- Twisting crepe paper trimmings
- Putting up the fairy lights
- Christmas and New Year Radio Times 
- Picking holly and ivy
- Making a Blue Peter Advent Lantern
- Carol singers
- Nativity school play
- Carol service
- Peeling shallots for pickled onions 
- Making a Christmas cake 
- Icing the Christmas cake and decorating it
- Baking mince pies
 
CHRISTMAS EVE
 
- Putting presents under the tree
- Putting the Christmas stocking at the foot of the bed
- Leaving a glass of milk and a minced pie for Father Christmas, and a carrot for Rudolph
- Carols from Kings
- Stuffing the turkey
- Excitement
- Counting the days
- Praying for snow
- Not being able to sleep
- Midnight mass
 
CHRISTMAS DAY 
 
- Early mornings, excited children
- Christmas breakfast
- Bucks fizz
- Opening presents
- Selection box
- Christmas Annual
- Christmas jumper
- Socks from Granny
- Laying the table
- Pulling Christmas crackers
- Turkey, ham hock and beef
- Pigs in blankets
- Lumpy gravy
- Cranberry sauce
- Sprouts, and their after effects 
- Flaming Christmas pudding, with a sixpence inside
- Pulling the wishbone
- Queens Speech
- The Christmas film (maybe list some films which people have enjoyed over the holidays * see below)
- Morecombe and Wise Christmas Show 
- Mince pies and Christmas cake
- Tangerines
- Nuts in a bowl and a nutcracker, which were always left over
- After Eights or a Chocolate Orange
- Tin of biscuits
- A cup of Christmas cheer, such as warmed Mulled Wine, Hot Butter Rum or Irish coffee
- Common tipples were Baby Cham, Mateus Rose, Black Tower, Blue Nun, Snowball, a glass of Sherry or Port or Cherry brandy 
- Too much alcohol and family arguments
 
BOXING DAY
 
- Christmas sales
- Cold meats and pickles 
- Bubble and squeak
- Turkey sandwiches for days afterwards
- Going to see the Christmas Pantomime 
- Playing with games
- Resting
- Going to the races
 
NEW YEARS EVE
 
- Counting the seconds down to midnight
- Watching Jools Holland Hootenany
- Watching the fireworks display on The Thames
- Big Ben countdown
- Singing and dancing
- Champagne
- Auld Langs Syne
- New Years resolutions
- Dry January
 

 

 

 


CHRISTMAS FILMS

Ask people to rate the 'Best Christmas Film Ever' from the following list ...

'Home Alone', 1990. Starring Macaulay Culkin
'It's A Wonderful Life', 1946. Starring James Stewart
'Love Actually', 2003. Starring Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon
'White Christmas', 1954. Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney & Vera Ellen
'The Snowman', 1982. Starring Aled Jones
'The Polar Express', 2004. Starring Tom Hanks
'The Holiday', 2006. Starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law & Jack Black
'Scrooge', 1951. Starring Alastair Sim
'The Shop Around The Corner', 1940. Starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan
'Gremlins', 1984. Starring Zach Galligan
'Miracle On 34th Street', 1947. Starring Richard Attenborough
'Sleepless In Seattle', 1993. Starring Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan
'Elf', 2003. Starring Will Ferrell
'How The Grinch Stole Christmas', 2000. Starring Jim Carrey

Ask people to describe the story lines of the top five films they have rated. Maybe show a clip or two of the top rated film from YouTube.

 

 


CHRISTMAS CRACKER JOKES

To continue the tone of good humour and festive spirit, ask members to complete the following 'Top Rated Christmas Cracker Jokes'.

How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?
One that's deep pan, crisp and even!

What did Adam say to his wife on the day before Christmas?
It's Christmas, Eve!

How many letters are in the Christmas alphabet?
25. There’s "no EL"!

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?
Tinsilitis!

What does the Queen call her Christmas Broadcast?
The One Show!

How did Mary and Joseph know that Jesus was 7lb 6oz when he was born?
They had a weigh in a manger!

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite!

What do you call a blind reindeer?
No eye deer!

Why was the snowman looking through the carrots?
He was picking his nose

Why did Santa's helper have to see the Psychologist?
Low elf esteem

Why did the scarecrow get a promotion?
He was outstanding in his field

How will Christmas dinner be different after Brexit?
No Brussels

What’s round and bad tempered?
A vicious circle

Why are pirates called pirates?
Because they arrrrrrr!

What goes "Oh, Oh, Oh"?
Santa walking backwards

What do you call a woman who stands between two goal posts?
Annette

Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy

Why did no-one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen on eBay?
Because they were two deer

Why couldn’t the skeleton go to the Christmas party?
He had no body to go with

What do you call a train loaded with toffee?
A chew chew train

Why are Christmas trees very bad at knitting?
Because they always drop their needles

Why did the pony have to gargle?
Because it was a little horse

What do snowmen have for breakfast?
Snowflakes

What does Miley Cyrus have for her Christmas dinner?
Twerky

What did Cinderella say when her photos didn’t arrive on time?
One day my prints will come

What did Santa do when he went speed dating?
He pulled a cracker

What do you call a boomerang that does not come back?
A stick

My wife rearranged all the herbs in the cupboard. I asked "how do you find the time?" She said "Next to the sage."

What do you call a line of men waiting for a haircut?
A barberqueue

Who is Santa's favourite singer?
Elfis Presley
 

 

 


DISCUSSION TOPICS
 
Ask members the following questions, to promote discuss and recall.
 
- Things you like about Christmas. 
- Best Christmas present you ever got.
- Best Christmas present you ever gave. 
- New Year’s resolutions. 

Can anyone remember being given, as a Christmas present, one of these ...

- Chopper bike
- Space hopper
- Train set
- Tiny Tears doll
- Doll's house
- Subbuteo
- Etch A Sketch
- Painting by numbers
- Spirograph
- Snakes and ladders
- Ludo
- Monopoly
- Cluedo
- Action Man
- Guinness Book Of Records
- Blue Peter Annual
- Mousetrap
- Play Dough
- Meccano
- Chemistry set
- Operation
- Magic kit
- Slinky
- Pogo stick
- Roller skates
- Scooter
- Record player
- Cassette recorder
 
 
OTHER ACTIVITIES
 
Buy small Christmas presents, for example selection boxes, and some sellotape and wrapping paper. Wrap presents together, so that everyone takes a gift home with them to give to their loved one. 
 
Make Christmas Cards, purchasing the card, coloured pens, stickers and stamps etc to help people along the way. Hobby Craft or a similar shop is a great resource. 
 
Sing Christmas Carols together. Prepare music sheets.
 
Refreshments. Make a Mulled Wine (with non alcoholic red wine, sliced oranges, a teaspoon of five spice and some lemonade to sweeten - warm it in a pan) and enjoy a glass of this with a mince pie. 
 
Ice a ready made Christmas cake. Use a coating of apricot jam, a layer of marzipan, ready made icing and cake decorations. Share this later in the session, or have people take a slice home with them. 
 
Make origami snowflakes.
 
Make Christmas chain decorations and decorate the room.
 

 

 


CHRISTMAS ADVERTS
 
If there is any time left and you have access to YouTube on a large screen TV, run the following YouTube Playlist and ask members to choose the 'Best TV Christmas Advert'. Rank them as you go along.
 
- 2014 Sainsbury ‘Christmas Truce’
- 2016 John Lewis ‘Buster The Boxer’
- 2017 M&S ‘Paddington And The Christmas Visitor’
- 2017 BBC ‘Single Dad’
- 2014 John Lewis ‘Monty The Penguin’
- 2013 John Lewis ‘The Hare And The Bear’
- 2017 Waitrose ‘Christmas Together’
- 2015 Sainsbury 'Mog's Christmas Calamity'
- 2010 Coca Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’
- 2006 Irn-Bru ‘Snowman’
- 2017 Debenhams ‘You Shall’
- 1992 Quality Street ‘Magic Moments’
- 2003 Yellow Pages 'Mistletoe'
- 2014 Mulberry 'Win Christmas'
- 2016 M&S 'Christmas With Love From Mrs Claus'
- 2017 Audi 'Parking Lot'
- 2018 John Lewis 'Elton John'
 
PLAYLIST HERE 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_E4d5RHyRYhoZ-uLnK3enUwLsS3kVilO
 

 

 



PLAYLIST LINK
https://open.spotify.com/user/1154769589/playlist/4N6BTtliuy8kOFoIbbJ52h?si=2V1DGDEOSmCxz6NPfNn9eQ

There are a lot of Christmas songs here. You might want to be selective, or split over a couple of sessions.

2000 Miles - The Pretenders. In the video for this Christmas song, lead singer Chrissie Hynde is dressed in a Salvation Army costume. What is the Salvation Army motto?
BLOOD AND FIRE (The ‘blood’ of Christ and the ‘fire’ of the Holy Spirit.)
Chrissie Hynde is also someone who does not eat any animal products. What are they called? VEGANS

All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey. This song featured in the film 'Love Actually'. Who played the newly elected Prime Minister in that film?
HUGH GRANT
Who starred with Hugh Grant in the 1999 film 'Notting Hill'? JULIA ROBERTS

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Michael Buble. Michael Buble is Canadian by birth, but he also became a citizen of which country in 2005? ITALY
What sport did Michael Buble excel at? ICE HOCKEY (He co-owns the Vancouver Giants)

The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole. ‘Folks dressed up like Eskimos...’ What is the correct name for the indigenous Eskimo people of Greenland?
INUIT
Does anyone fancy staying in the 'Ice Hotel' in Iceland?

Do They Know It’s Christmas - Band Aid. Who originally reported on the famine in Ethiopia, which led to this fundraising single?
MICHAEL BEURK
Which two artists co-founded the charity?
BOB GELDOF & MIDGE URE

Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea. Chris Rea had another hit single about driving. What was it?
THE ROAD TO HELL
Where will members be spending their Christmas Day?

Fairytale Of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. ‘The boys of the NYPD Choir...’ What does NYPD stand for?
NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
In 1981 Kirsty MacColl had a top 40 hit single with a song about a guy working down at the chip shop called what?
ELVIS

Happy New Year - ABBA. 2019 is the Year Of which animal in the Chinese calendar?
PIG
What was the hit 2008 movie featuring ABBA music?
MAMMA MIA

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon. John Lennon’s wife co-wrote this song. What was her name?
YOKO ONO
How old was John Lennon when he died 8th December 1980?
JUST 40

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland. Which 1945 Christmas film did Judy Garland sing this song in?
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
What was Judy Garland's best selling song?
OVER THE RAINBOW

I Believe In Father Christmas - Greg Lake. Father Christmas is also known as which saint?
SAINT NICHOLAS (the patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, pharmacists, brewers and many others)
His other names include ...
SANTA CLAUS, SAINT NICK, KRIS KRINGLE & PELZNICKEL

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - Wizzard. Who founded Wizzard and was their lead singer (he also co-founded E.L.O.)?
ROY WOOD
Who is the famous wizard with a lightning bolt on his forehead?
HARRY POTTER

I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm - Billie Holiday. What was Billie Holiday’s nickname?
LADY DAY or THE FIRST LADY OF JAZZ
What was the name of the 1972 film starring Diana Ross about the life story of Billy Holiday?
LADY SINGS THE BLUES

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Bing Crosby. What Christmas song did Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing together?
THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY
What was the other name for that song?
PEACE ON EARTH

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Andy Williams. What star sign are you if you were born on Christmas Day?
CAPRICORN
What is a common name for a person born on Christmas Day?
NOEL

Last Christmas - Wham. What was George Michael’s real name?
GEORGIOS KYRIACOS PANAYIOTOU
Who was his fellow band member in Wham?
ANDREW RIDGELEY

Lonely This Christmas - Mud. Who was the lead singer of Mud?
LES GRAY
What 'feet' did Mud have a hit with in 1974?
TIGER FEET

Mary’s Boy Child - Boney M. What name is given to the event, nine months before the birth of Jesus, in which an angel tells Mary, "Fear not, thou hast found favour with God”.
THE ANNUNCIATION
What song about a Russian did Boney M have a hit with in 1978?
RASPUTIN

Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin’ Stevens. Where was Shaky born?
ELY, CARDIFF
What colour 'door' did he sing about in 1981?
GREEN DOOR

Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade. Traditionally, what are usual stocking fillers? ORANGES, GOLD COINS, CANDY STICKS & SMALL TOYS
(‘LEGS’ gets a bonus point!)
Who was the lead singer of Slade?
NODDY HOLDER

Mistletoe And Wine - Cliff Richard. True or False. Mistletoe is a parasite, growing on host trees and robbing them of water and nutrients?
TRUE
True or False. Mistletoe is poisonous?
TRUE

Mull Of Kintyre - Wings. How many weeks did this song stay at number one in the UK charts in 1977!
NINE WEEKS
Where is the Mull Of Kintyre?
SOUTHWEST SCOTLAND

The Power Of Love - Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The video for this song was based on The Nativity, or birth of Jesus Christ. What is the proper name for the Three Wise Men?
THE MAGI OF BETHLEHEM (Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India)
And the gifts they brought?
GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MYRHH

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer - The Crystals. What were the names of the other reindeer, in the poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’?
DASHER, DANCER, PRANCER, COMET, CUPID, VIXEN, BLITZEN AND DONNA
Sing the song together

Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt. Eartha Kitt starred in the TV series Batman in the late 1960s in which role?
CATWOMAN
Rather unfortunately, "Eartha Kitt" is Cockney Rhyming Slang for what?
SHIT

Somewhere In My Memory - John Williams. Who was left at home in the film 'Home Alone'?
KEVIN MCALLISTER/MACAULAY CULKIN
Where were his family travelling to?
PARIS

Somewhere Only We Know - Lily Allen. What did this song and 'The Hare And The Bear' video advertise?
JOHN LEWIS
Who features in this year's John Lewis advert?
ELTON JOHN

A Spaceman Came Travelling - Chris de Burgh. What led the three wise men to the manger?
THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM (JUPITER is known as 'The Christmas Star', so this will also be correct.)
What colour dress was the woman wearing in Chris de Burgh's 1986 song?
LADY IN RED

Stay Another Day - 'Boxing Day' is the feast day of which saint?
SAINT STEPHEN (The first Christian martyr.)
Why is called 'Boxing Day'?
The day after Christmas was traditionally a day off for servants and they received a 'CHRISTMAS BOX' from their master

Step Into Christmas - Elton John. How many months have 28 days?
ALL OF THEM!
What was Elton's birth name?
REGINALD DWIGHT

Stop The Cavalry - Jona Lewie. On Christmas Day in 1914, peace broke out in no mans land. What carol did both sides sing?
SILENT NIGHT/STILLE NACHT
Any what game did they play?
FOOTBALL

Twelve Days Of Christmas - The Spinners. SINGALONG. How many swans were a swimming?
SEVEN
How many gold rings were there?
FIVE

Walking In The Air - Aled Jones. Which author wrote the book 'The Snowman'?
RAYMOND BRIGGS
Aled Jones presents a radio show on which station?
CLASSIC FM

When A Child Is Born - Johnny Mathis. What date is the feast of 'The Epiphany' (early Christians celebrated this as Jesus’s birthday)?
6TH JANUARY
Which angel told Mary she would give birth to the Son Of God?
GABRIEL

Real Love - Tom Odell. All penguins reside in which hemisphere? SOUTHERN
All polar bears reside where?
THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

A Winter's Tale - David Essex. When is the shortest day or 'Winter Solstice'? 21ST DECEMBER
In terms of daylight, how many hours shorter is the Winter Solstice than the Summer Solstice?
8 HOURS AND 49 MINUTES

Frosty The Snowman - The Jackson 5. What are 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy New Year' in Welsh?
NADOLIG LLAWEN & BLWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA
Would anyone like to have a go at spelling them???

Away In A Manger - Vera Lynn. Nearest guess. When was the first Christmas Card sent?
1843 (By John Calcott. He printed and sent it to his friend Sir Henry Cole, the man who gave him the idea.)
How many Christmas cards get sent every year in the UK?
900 MILLION, THAT'S 16 CARDS EACH

Jingle Bells - Bing Cross & The Andrews Sisters. In The Simpson’s, what is the family dog’s name?
SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER
Singalong

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin. Where did the 2018 Winter Olympics take place?
PYEONGCHANG COUNTY, SOUTH KOREA
What year did Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards represent the UK in ski jumping?
1988

White Christmas - Bing Crosby. Who wrote the songs for the 1954 film 'White Christmas', including this one?
IRVING BERLIN
When was the last time we had a White Christmas?
THERE WAS SNOW IN 2010, BUT NOT IN THE SOUTH. ACROSS THE UK IT WAS 2004

Silent Night - Ella Fitzgerald. SINGALONG. In what decade did N.O.R.A.D. (North American Aerospace Defence Command) start tracking Santa on Christmas Eve?
1950s (specifically 1955)
Traditionally, how does Santa deliver presents?
DOWN THE CHIMNEY

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - The Chieftains. In Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol', which four ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge?
JACOB MARLEY AND THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST, PRESENT AND YET TO COME

Once In Royal David's City - The Chieftains. Marzipan is made from sugar and what?
ALMOND PASTE
Traditionally, what layer goes on a Christmas cake before marzipan?
APRICOT JAM

O Come All Ye Faithful - The Chieftains. List the ingredients of a Christmas (or Plum) Pudding?
DRIED FRUITS HELD TOGETHER BY EGG AND SUET, MOISTENED BY TREACLE OR MOLASSES AND FLAVOURED WITH CINNAMON, NUTMEG, CLOVES, GINGER, AND OTHER SPICES. SERVED WITH BRANDY, ALIGHT. WITH SIXPENCE FOR LUCK

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - St. Paul's Cathedral Choir. In the Frank Cappra film, 'Its A Wonderful Life', "Teacher says every time a bell rings an ..... gets his .....".
ANGEL - WINGS.
The angel's name was?
CLARENCE

Wonderful Christmas - Paul McCartney. Name as many Christmas drinks as you can?
MULLED WINE, SNOWBALL/EGGNOG, HOT BUTTER RUM and of course, for New Year's Eve, CHAMPAGNE
(It might be nice to have a taste of mulled wine at this point!)

Winter Wonderland - Darlene Love. Which country has given a Christmas Tree to Trafalgar Square each year since 1947?
NORWAY (in gratitude for the role of Britain in preserving Norwegian liberty during the Second World War)
Has anyone tried ice skating? Or skiing?

We Wish You A Merry Christmas - The Cambridge Singers. What year did Queen Elizabeth II deliver her first 'televised Christmas message to the nation'?
1952
What time is The Queen's Speech broadcast each year?
USUALLY 3PM


Auld Lang Syne - Andy Stewart. What is New Years Eve called in Scotland?

HOGMANAY

Perhaps dance with arms linked and singalong to bring the group together in celebration?
 

 

Wishing all my followers a very Merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful New Year. 

Thanks for your support. It means a lot x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

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