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Play With Your Brain Over the Holidays

The holidays offer a much-needed opportunity to relax, spend some time with the family, and reflect upon the true meaning of the season. They’re also a great time to engage in an enjoyable and useful activity that I talk about throughout the year – playing with your brain.

Playing with your brain relieves stress. It opens the mind up to new possibilities. And it helps to see the world in new and different ways – an essential leadership skill in today’s hyper-fast world. And it’s just plain fun!

Try these riddles, puzzlers and brainteasers:

Holiday fun1. Gina was making apricot jam for the holiday party. She put all the apricots in the pot and cooked them. Then she remembered that the recipe called for adding 1 ounce of lemon juice for every 2 apricots. How did she figure out how much lemon juice to use?

2. Two mothers and two daughters go shopping at the mall. They have 21 one-dollar bills, which they split equally between them. How is this possible?

3. Every day a cyclist – a known thief and smuggler – crosses the border between Spain and France carrying a bag (and no, it’s not Lance Armstrong!). Every day, customs officials dutifully search the biker and his bag, but they can’t find anything illegal or suspicious. What’s he smuggling?

4. There are 20 people in an empty, square room. Each person has full sight of the entire room and everyone in it without turning their head or body, or moving in any way (other than the eyes). Where can you place an apple so that all but one person can see it?

5. Mary asked the same question 20 times in one day and got 20 different answers that were all correct. How can that be?

6. Forward I am very heavy. Backward I am not. What am I?

7. To use me, you must throw me away. But you will retrieve me when I am no longer needed. What am I?

8. How do you divide 10 potatoes equally among three people?

9. What falls but never breaks? What breaks but never falls?

10. What do the words “subcontinental” and “uncomplimentary” have in common?

11. Solve this riddle:
What runs all day and never walks,
Often murmurs, never talks,
Has a bed but never sleeps,
Has a mouth, but never eats?

12. Inflation keeps going up, which means the value of our money keeps going down. So how can 2013 dollar bills be worth more than 1995 dollar bills?

13. How is it possible to cut a round pizza into 8 equal pieces with only 3 slices of the knife?

14. What do these three words have in common:

• polish
• job
• herb

15. I’m sending out a unique holiday card this year. No pictures or words on the outside. Just the following on the inside:


What holiday greeting does my card contain?



1. She counted the pits.

2. There are only 3 people shopping – a grandmother, a mother and a daughter (two mothers, two daughters). They each get $7.

3. Bicycles.

4. On top of someone’s head.

5. What time is it?

6. A “ton”.

7. An anchor.

8. Mash them.

9. Night, day.

11. A river

.10. Both contain all five vowels, appearing in reverse order.

12. 2,013 dollars are worth more than 1,995 dollars – no matter what the year.

13. Cut the pie into equal quarters with two slices. Then place the quarters on top of each other and cut one more time into eighths.

14. The meaning and pronunciation change when the first letter is capitalized.

15. Noel. (No L)

Hope you enjoyed playing with your brain. Make it a habit and you’ll be surprised at what you might come up with to improve your business and/or your personal life.

Happy Holidays from The Human Factor!

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