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Welcoming 2024 ๐Ÿ”” "Happy New Year!"

Some ideas for your first CST group of 2024.

INTRODUCTION Wish everyone a Happy New Year and ask how their holidays went? - Did anyone have any visitors staying, or did they visit or stay with family or friends?

- What were their best Christmas presents? Did anyone have any nice surprises?

- Are there any presents to 'regift'?

- Does anyone not celebrate Christmas? What is their festive occasion? - How did members see in the New Year? Did anyone drink champagne and count down the seconds to Big Ben chiming in 2020? - Did anyone watch Jools Holland 'Annual Hootenany' or see the 'Fireworks on the Thames'?

- What is the most enjoyable thing about New Year's Eve or New Year's Day?

NEW YEAR, NEW BEGINNINGS IDIOMS As a memory prompt, we asked members to complete the following phrases together: Turn over a new - LEAF To start - ANEW/AFRESH Nothing ventured, nothing - GAINED To break new - GROUND Out with the old and in with the - NEW When one door closes, another - OPENS Winds of - CHANGE You canโ€™t teach an old dog new - TRICKS As bright as a new - PIN As busy as a - BEAVER As good as - NEW A lick of - PAINT A brave new - WORLD A whole different - BALLGAME A new broom sweeps - CLEAN New kid on the - BLOCK New lease of - LIFE Thatโ€™s a new one on - ME Breathe new life into - SOMETHING Dawn of a new - DAY Make - OVER Feel like a new - MAN Like a kid with a new - TOY Brand spanking - NEW New - PASTURES New wine in old - BOTTLES Nothing new under the - SUN Put a different complexion on - SOMETHING See in a new - LIGHT Take a new - TURN/TWIST Take on new - SIGNIFICANCE Thatโ€™s a new one on - ME Ring in the New - YEAR

SONG. 'Happy New Year', ABBA -

Hre is our first song to sing along with.

No more champagne And the fireworks are through Here we are, me and you Feeling lost and feeling blue It's the end of the party And the morning seems so grey So unlike yesterday Now's the time for us to say

Chorus: Happy New Year Happy New Year May we all have a vision now and then Of a world where every neighbor is a friend Happy New Year Happy New Year May we all have our hopes, our will to try If we don't we might as well lay down and die You and I

Sometimes I see How the brave new world arrives And I see how it thrives In the ashes of our lives Oh yes, man is a fool And he thinks he'll be okay Dragging on, feet of clay Never knowing he's astray Keeps on going anyway


Seems to me now That the dreams we had before Are all dead, nothing more Than confetti on the floor It's the end of a decade In another ten years time Who can say what we'll find What lies waiting down the line In the end of eighty-nine


Ask members if they have made any New Year's resolutions (things they would like to do more or less of)?

As we start a new year, what is the single biggest change you or others could make that would make the world a better place to live in?

NEW YEAR'S QUIZ Here's a short quiz to carry on the discussion.

Round 1. Traditions


โ€‹ What do people traditionally do at midnight on New Years Eve?


โ€‹ What do the Scots call New Year's Eve?


โ€‹ What do you call a Scottish or Irish social occasion involving Gaelic music and dancing?


โ€‹ What is a 'Calennig' in Wales?


โ€‹ What is 'First Footing'?


โ€‹ What gifts are given?

โ€‹Which Cornish town celebrates 'Mummers Day', where traditional Cornish songs are replaced with Minstrel songs? (They also have 'Obby Oss Day' on 1st May.)


โ€‹ Where in the UK do people say "Black rabbits, Black rabbits, black rabbits" in the closing seconds of the old year and "White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits" in the opening seconds of the new year?


โ€‹ What is the tradition, in the West Country on the twelfth night, 'Wassailing' all about?


Complete the following phrase, which is said by school children on the first of each month... "Pinch punch, first of the month and .........". โ€‹


โ€‹ True or False. Doing laundry on New Year's Day is bad luck?

Who wrote the words to Auld Lang Syne?

What do those words mean?

SINGALONG. 'Auld Lang Syne', Maria Carey -

(This is also a great version to dance along with!)

Round 2. Millennium

Identify these 'Millennium Fund' landmark construction projects ...

Who has visited any of them?

โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

Name the clock & tower?

โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

What is it called now?

โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

Which canal is it on?


โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

What is it called now?


โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

Where is it?


โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

What do locals call it (after and animal)?


โ€‹ Name these two 'Millennium Fund' landmarks?


โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

Where is it?


โ€‹ Name this 'Millennium Fund' landmark?

What river does it cross?


โ€‹ How many beacons were lit to celebrate the new century?

a. 1,000+

b. 2,500+

c. 4,000+

SONG. 'Millennium', Robbie Williams -

This song borrows heavily from which James Bond movie theme music?

Round 3. General Knowledge


โ€‹ Which country in the world is first to see in New Year, and at what time GMT is it?


โ€‹ Complete the saying ... โ€œThirty days hath September ..."


โ€‹ Where do Americans celebrate the New Year by watching 'The Ball Drop'?


โ€‹ Which comedian made the first ever mobile phone call in Britain on 1st January 1985?


โ€‹ What are 'Veganuary', 'Red January' and 'Dry January'?


โ€‹ What year was the Queen's 'Annus Horribilis'? Why was it so called?


What name was given to the predicted computer meltdown at the beginning of the year 2000?


โ€‹ What 1972 disaster movie is set around a New Year's Eve party at sea?


โ€‹ How do you say "Happy New Year" in Welsh? (Or another language depending on the cultural background of your members)

โ€‹ 2023 will be 'Year Of The Dragon' in the Chinese calendar. What are the other 11 animals?

SONG. 'Year Of The Cat', Al Stewart -

Is there a 'Year Of The Cat'?

Round 4. My Top 10 News Stories Of 2023

Prince Charles became King Charles 111 at a Coronation in Westminster Abbey on 6th Amy 2020.

Do people think he will make a good king?

What do people think of Queen Camilla?

Prince Harry's tell all autobiography launched in January, becoming the best selling non-fiction book ever.

Has anyone read it?

What do people think of Harry and Meghan?

Will they ever return to the Royal Family inner circle?

2023 was another year of political upheaval. Rishi Sunak was ushered in as an unelected Prime Minister in October 2022 and promised "a government of integrity, professionalism and accountability". His pledge to "grow the economy" failed with the highest tax burden since the Second World War and after the Liz Truss / Kwasi Kwarteng budget crashed the economy, food inflation effected everyone and increased mortgage rates and energy bills effected most of us. A general election is expected in May 2024 and the polls give Labour a 25% lead.

What do people think of the Conservative Government at present?

What do people think of Sir Kier Starker, our likely next PM?

Former US President Donald Trump was arrested in August, charged with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, which Joe Biden won.

What do people think of Donald Trump?

Who was the better President, Trump or Biden?

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock featured in 'SAS:Who Dares Wins' and Nigel Farage appeared in 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here', apparently earning ยฃ1.5m in the process.

What do people think of both of them?

Should politicians be allowed to go on reality TV shows when they are still serving?

Could anyone hack the jungle, especially the eating challenges?

The "British Lionesses" secured their first ever place in a 'Women's World Cup' final after beating co-hosts Australia 3-1 in Sydney in August. Sadly they were defeated by Spain in the final and missed out on final glory.

What do people think about women's football?

Is it as good or better than the men's game? It certainly seems to be a more family oriented affair.

Vinyl albums outsold CDs in the UK for the first time since 198, with nearly 6 million sales. Audiophiles like the vinyl album artwork, especially if it is gatefold, and the enhanced sound from analog rather than digital recording is preferred.

Who still has a record player and uses it?

What are member's favourite albums of all time?

The war in Ukraine sadly continues to cost civilian lives and damage to communities is massive. However, with support of the West ground is being gained and Russian forces have been defeated on several fronts. President Zelensky continues to provide effective leadership and Putin has been charged with war crimes by the 'International Criminal Court'.

War is always terrible. Do people think there are ever grounds for a 'Just War'?

What do people think of Zelensky and Putin?

In October, the terrorist organisation Hamas attacked Israelis at a rock concert similar to 'Glastonbury'. 1,139 lives were lost and many more were injured. This led to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waging war on Gaza. More than 21,000 Palestinians have been killed so far, including many women and children. More than 100 Israeli hostages are still held by Hamas. Peace talks have begun, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Was John Lennon right when he sang โ€œImagine there's no heaven, And no religion tooโ€ in his song 'Imagine'?

How can we bring about world peace? Any ideas?

Sadly we lost some great people in 2023. Pictured here are just a few. How many can you recognise? A 'Gone But Not Forgotten 2023' is currently in preparation.

Left to right there are:

Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries), Matthew Perry, George Alagiah, Sined O'Connor, Glenda Jackson

Bobby Charlton, Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Mary Quant and Harry Belafonte

What were they all famous for?

Round 5. New Year's Honours List

And on a happier note ...

Ask members if they recognise any of the above faces and have a guess at what honours they were awarded.

Dame Shirley Bassey, 86, who has sold 135 million records, says she is "truly humbled" to become the 64th living member of the Order of the Companion of Honour, which only has 65 members at one time.

"Bonkbuster" novelist Jilly Cooper says she is "delighted, bewildered and ecstatic" hearing she will be made a dame in the New Year Honours List. Born in Essex, Ms Cooper is best known for her Rutshire Chronicles series, published in the 1980s.

Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury Festival, will be knighted for services to charity and music. In an interview for the official Glastonbury website, Eavis said: "I think William might do the ceremony. He's made a few mentions of wanting to come to the festival. So I'll probably take a couple of tickets in my pocket!"

Businessman Sir Tim Martin, 68, who is honoured for services to hospitality and culture, owns more than 800 pubs and hotels across the UK, employing more than 43,000 people.

Singer-songwriter Leona Lewis, 38, who shot to fame after winning X Factor in 2006, is named OBE for services to music and charity.

BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright dedicated his MBE "to all the people in broadcasting who gave comfort and public service during the pandemic".

Fellow broadcaster Tony Blackburn says his OBE is "the icing on a very lovely cake" after almost 60 years in the "best job" on BBC and commercial radio stations.

Film director and producer Sir Ridley Scott, whose works include 'Gladiator', 'Alien' and 'Napoleon', is made a Knight Grand Cross, upgrading his previous knighthood.

TV presenter Paul Hollywood has been awarded MBE for services to baking and broadcasting. He is widely known as a judge on 'The Great British Bake Off' since 2010.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) for conducting King Charles' coronation service. This award is selected independently by the King.

What do members think of the Honours system?

Who would they nominate and why?

Round 6. Some final songs ...

Who sang that they were going to ... 'Party like it's 1999'?

Which Stevie Wonder song begins with the lyrics, "No New Year's Day to celebrate..."?

'Perfect Year', Dina Carroll -

Which musical does the song 'The Perfect Year' come from?

What was their other UK top 20 hit? (Clue "Oh oh oh it's ***** . Never believe it's not so!")

Who is the lead singer of 'U2'?

What is his real name?


Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

SONG. 'Auld Lang Syne', Andy Stewart

A final, more traditional version of the song to finish -

Dance together, but only if safe to do so!

PRACTICAL ACTIVITY Ask members if they have ever received recognition for a lifetime achievement. Another way of asking this question is to ask what they are most proud of. Perhaps they excelled at school or university, perhaps there was a significant contribution they made in their occupation, or perhaps they raised a wonderful family. Perhaps they have a skill that is remarkable, for example being able to play a musical instrument, being an artist or author or being fluent in another language. As for a practical activity, have members draw or paint a gold medal and ribbon to award themselves for their 'Best Lifetime Achievement'. (And a silver and bronze medal if there is time!) Or make a 'real' medal out of air drying clay and ribbon. Maybe illustrate the background/other side with an image of what it is they have excelled at. (Emojis are useful in this respect.)

Round 1

Kiss. During a Hogmanay party, it's customary to try kissing everyone in the room as the bells ring at stroke of midnight. Passionate New Year's Eve kisses are featured prominently in popular culture.



'Calennig' is a Welsh word meaning "New Year celebration/gift", although it literally translates to "the first day of the month". A 'Calennig' gift is traditionally an apple skewered with cloves, dried fruit and sprigs of evergreen.

The tradition of 'First Footing' was always important in Scotland and Wales. A dark-haired man should let in the New Year for good luck.

The 'First Footer' would traditionally arrive bearing gifts to bring good fortune and health to the home. Gifts generally took the form of a coin, shortbread or something edible, a lump of coal or wood for the fire and a drink of whisky to represent prosperity, food, warmth and good cheer.

Padstow. The tradition came from Philadelphia 'Mummers Parade'.


There are two versions of Wassailing. One involves groups of merrymakers going from one house to another, wassail bowl in hand, singing traditional songs and generally spreading fun and good wishes. The other form of wassailing is doing the same thing in orchards to bless the apple trees for a good harvest next year.

"Pinch, punch, first of the month and NO RETURNS." Salt was meant to make witches weak, so the pinch signified the use of salt to weaken the witch, while the punch was then administered to banish the witch for good. Saying the words 'pinch punch for the first of the month' therefore became a way of welcoming in a new month and protecting yourself from bad luck.

True. Don't do laundry on New Year's Day, or a member of the family will be washed away (i.e., die) during the coming year. Also doing laundry on New Year's Day will wash a year of good fortune down the drain.

Rabbie Burns / 'Times Gone By'

Round 2

'London Eye' / 'Big Ben' & 'Elizabeth Tower'

'Millennium Stadium', Cardiff / 'Principality Stadium'

'Falkirk Wheel' / 'Forth & Clyde Canal' connecting to 'The Union Canal'

'Millennium Dome' / 'O2 Arena'

'Eden' / St Austell, Cornwall

'Millennium Centre' / Cardiff Bay

'Millennium Bridge' & 'Tate Modern'

'Spinnaker Tower' / Southampton

'Gateshead Millennium Bridge' / River Tyne

More than 4,000

'You Only Live Twice', 1967

Round 3

The Pacific island of Tonga is first to ring in the New Year and celebrated at 10am GMT on December 31st - making the tiny island nation the first to head into a fresh year.

โ€œThirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, but Februaryโ€™s 28. The leap year, which comes once in four gives February one day more.โ€

Times Square, New York ('The Big Apple')

Ernie Wise

'Veganuary' is a pledge to give up meat and dairy for the month of January. 'Red January' is a pledge to focus on fitness as a means to improve physical and mental health. 'Dry January' is a pledge to give up alcohol for the month of January.

1992. It was so called as it was wrecked by the collapse of three of her children's marriages - including Prince Charles' to Princess Diana - and the fire that severely damaged her Windsor Castle home.

'The Millennium Bug'. Planes didn't fall from the sky, banking systems didn't crash and clocks kept ticking, largely so technicians told us because of the crisis averting measures they took.

'The Poiseidon Adventure'

'Blwyddyn Newydd Dda'

The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat (sometimes interchangeable with sheep), monkey, rooster, dog and pig

There is no 'Year Of The Cat'

Round 4

96 years

73 years

Oprah Winfrey

Oslo, Norway

Carrie Simmonds




Gareth Bale & Harry Kane

Matthew Hancock



'I Just Called To Say I Love You'

'Sunset Boulevard'

'It's Magic'

Bono / Paul David Hewson

FOOTNOTE It is important to note these discussion topics and quiz questions are only suggestions and prompts to support your CST session. Time for discussion and elaboration is more important than completion and going off at tangents is absolutely to be encouraged. It would be good to have feedback about what has worked well and not so well in the activities included in the CST Blog, maybe along with photographs of things produced in your sessions. (Please don't include pictures of members unless they have expressly given informed consent and their care partner has also agreed to it.) Ideas for future activities would also be gratefully received. Wishing all my followers and supporters a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2023. Thank you for your ongoing support!

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