Christmas arrives in Hebden Bridge……in June!

Some feel-good news from my friend at kindadukish

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)


Anyone who has followed my blog will remember the one about the floods in West Yorkshire and which featured the above distressing image of the devastation of the floods. It was at Christmas time and for whole communities their priority was getting through the chaos caused by the floodwaters, seasonal festivities were the last thing on their minds.

Well, people in Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale are now celebrating “the Christmas that never was”, six months after flooding devastated the area. Thousands of homes and businesses in the region were damaged when Storm Eva battered the north of England during December’s floods.


Organisers said it was an opportunity for the whole community to have a proper party.
The event features six snow machines and Christmas trees. There was also a surprise guest at the celebrations

There was also a Christmas lunch for volunteers who helped when the floods hit, with an…

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The secret to giving the perfect gift

shopping_bag_solid_color_with_presents_1600_wht_7000Psychologists and consumer researchers have come up with some important points about selecting the perfect gift for your loved ones.

  • Choose a gift that reflects you – it will make the recipient feel closer to you
  • Don’t add a secondary i.e. cheaper gift to an expensive one. People average the value so the cheap gift ends up devaluing your main gift.
  • If you are in a romantic relationship choose a gift that reflects your similarity. Men are less tolerant than women in this respect.
  • Don’t spend too much too early in a relationship. If you spend less later you appear mean and then it’s downhill from then on.
  • Don’t give presents that hint or joke that you want to change people. So no deodorant.

And “there appears to be no relationship between the cost of a gift and the extent to which it is liked or preferred” according to psychologist Professor Adrian Furnham writing about the Psychology of Christmas Gift Giving.

Men remember that women are far more tolerant of poorly chosen gifts so don’t get too pessimistic about your relationship if you don’t get what you wanted. And young men often see gifts as “fiscal foreplay” that can make expensive gifts seem like a sexual bribes.

All I want for Christmas…….




Don’t stress about Xmas

snowman_pointing_pc_400_clr_4412For many people Christmas comes second only to financial problems as a source of stress in their lives.

And of course Christmas can be expensive too and we are as likely to be as stressed about that as we are about coping with everything that has to be done on the day.

Everybody feels stressed at times; it’s a natural response when we think or feel that we can’t cope, that things are getting on top of us.

Ways to de-stress and relax at Christmas

First tackle the way you think about Christmas. Do you look at it as a positive fun-filled time or just a lot of hard work? Has it got sad memories? Do you dread the in-laws?

Having a positive mental attitude and a sense of humour is really important for your well-being. Be positive rather than dwelling on the negatives in life.

Don’t focus on the things that can go wrong but on the things you will enjoy. Give yourself some credit for what you do well and remember the nice things that happened last year and see if you can laugh about the things that didn’t go quite to plan.

If you have children imagine their reaction to it and for young children how magic it all seems to them. And don’t try to be perfect in every way – this is a holiday after all.

When you feel you are in control of a situation you will feel less stressed; it’s the feeling of helplessness or not being able to change things that can lead to stress.

Another important factor in being able to resist or cope with stress is to have some kind of social support mechanism – both in practical terms (someone to do things for you) and emotional terms (a non-judgmental shoulder to cry on if necessary but definitely someone to talk to).

And you may not realise it but you are far more resilient than you think so look at how you behave and what you can do in practical terms to have a great time.

Talk to your partner and family about how you feel about Christmas and how they can help you make it even better. Can you simplify the way you usually do things eg fewer decorations, inviting people for a meal rather than giving presents? Are you sending cards this year or donating to a good cause?

  • christmas_figure_presenting_400_clr_7011Planning and time management is really important. How far ahead do you buy presents (throughout the year or at the last minute?).  Have you decided on the food for the holiday, sorted out the decorations?
  • More importantly who does what – make a “to-do” list and stick it up on the fridge for everyone to see. Get the kids involved too. It can be a fun thing for them especially if they get to cross things off or add fun stickers.
  • Check presents with moving parts, batteries etc before the shops close – get in some spare batteries (beware those items with the hearing aid type battery, they can be fatal if children swallow them), SD cards, blank DVDs, USB sticks, CD-roms or whatever might be required.
  • Don’t overdo the pre-Christmas festivities or the alcohol, or rely on coffee and chocolate to keep you going (only works in the short term and makes you irritable).
  • Get in training for the holiday ie plenty of sleep and exercise (you can do that when you’re out shopping or go to a boot camp). Learn to meditate, take a yoga class, do Tai Chi. These traditional exercises really work.
  • Last minute guests might be welcome or an unexpected diversion. Learn to be assertive – saying NO is fine, you really don’t have to please all the people all the time (and if that’s too hard for you tell them what you still have to do).
  • Eat regularly and don’t just pick at the food as you’re preparing it. Also eat healthily ie less junk food and more fish and vegetables.
  • Relax for 20 minutes doing something for you. Lock yourself in the bath room and have a relaxing hot bath with candles and oils, or go for a quiet walk. If you have a pet even better as they are good listeners and help you relax.
  • Worried about the children being under your feet? Don’t give them all the presents at once. Make sure that they have a favourite film to watch or some other activity to keep them occupied (remember the plan!)
  • Alternatively do you know a friend or neighbour who is great with children but hates cooking? Barter some child-minding time in return for cooking for them (or vice versa of course).
  • Slow down – your speech and your gestures, learn to be patient and make an effort to be friendly to everyone – even the dreaded in-laws or old Uncle George. It’s not forever and smiling is good for you!
  • When it’s all over spoil yourself and have a massage with aromatherapy oils. Alternatively shiatsu, reflexology and acupuncture have lots to offer.

Updated since first posted December 2011

My most popular posts in 2014

100%Once again those kind people at WordPress provide me with all kinds of statistics about my blog. 

Last year I published 168 new posts all with at least one picture on this blog. Not all my own work to be sure so thanks to those wonderful bloggers whose posts I re-blogged.

This blog is followed in 96 countries, mostly in the UK, the USA, Spain and the Philippines but with a small number of readers from African nations including Ethiopia, Qatar, and Iceland.

My ten most popular posts in 2014 were:

  1. Do you have a technical mind – top for the second year running and first published in January 2013
  2. Health predictors? Use your tape measure – published in May 2013
  3. Tough Mudder 2014 in Yorkshire – published in August 2014
  4. Everybody’s walking – published in September 2014
  5. Simple tests to predict your life expectancy – published in May 2014
  6. Dementia sufferers told to live dangerously – published in July 2014
  7. Don’t stress about Xmas – published in December 2014 but updated from 2011
  8. Burnley FC dreams become a harsh reality – published in August 2014
  9. Fun with screen printing – second favourite last year and first published in August 2013
  10. Scottish children laziest in the world – published in May 2014 jointly with Glasgow visit for Foodies – joint 10th place and reblogged from KindaDukish in May 2014

So thank you for reading and following and I look forward to another year of finding interesting and relevant topics for you.

The posts you liked in 2013

Xmas Decorations

Christmas TreesChristmas Trees We all love the sight of Xmas trees and Xmas decorations and the burning  question is how long should you leave them up?

Until the 19c decorations were left up until Candlemas on 2 February, 40 days after the birth of Christ.

Some people believe that decorations are taken down because of a pagan belief that spirits lived in the tree and holly and would cause mischief if not returned to the wild.

Well the Victorians were having none of that and decided 12th night ie 5th January was when the decorations should come down and they burned them to boot – tough on the tree spirits.

There’s an argument to be made for waiting until Three Kings’ Day on 6 January. This is celebrated in catholic countries where you see children dressed up as the Kings bearing gifts.

And if you are an Orthodox christian your Xmas Day is 7 January anyway so you could keep them for days after that.

I’m leaving mine up for a while yet together with the Xmas themed template for these posts. The snow on it will stop falling soon and I’ll go back to my usual theme after that.

Hey Big Xmas Spender

Mike the Psych's Blog

Xmas is a stressful time of year not least because of what we spend, or feel we have to spend, on presents.

Times are hard and some families will limit gifts to close family or children.

Of course that doesn’t help if there is a tradition at work of buying colleagues gifts, although a Secret Santa with an agreed maximum spend is one way of limiting expenditure.

Several years ago Rosie Kinchen in the Sunday Times wrote about researchers who were trying to better understand shopping behaviours. A neuro-economist at New York University was using marshmallow type experiments about delayed gratification whilst using functional MRI machines to measure brain activity.

His results showed that different parts of the brain are active for those people who can’t wait compared with those who can.

So some people have “spender” brains and others don’t.

Does that mean you can’t do anything…

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