How Santa became jolly (and other aspects of Christmas)

We don’t usually invite everyone into our homes. Much thought goes into curating guests we bring into our houses. However, the urban myth of Santa Claus entering our humble abodes secretly sits fairly well with us. Why? This is likely due to the myths we’re used to hearing since we were children!

How Santa Claus came to exist

The myth of Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas is pretty well known. It was said that Saint Nicholas was an affluent Bishop who once visited a home. He placed gold in the same house secretly. This went on for a few times before the recipient of his goodwill caught him in the act. This myth of Sinterklaas travelled with Dutch settlers to USA. Over the years, Sinterklaas became known as the Santa Claus we are familiar with today!

Santa Claus was not a product of a successful marketing ad

What you know today is vastly different from the Santa of the past. Santa was considered to be quite a creepy, gaunt man before 1823.  The poem, ‘The Night before Christmas’,  published in 1823, changed public impressions of Santa. In Moore’s poem, much like Saint Nicholas, Santa was said to give away presents while travelling to different homes in reindeer sleighs.  Since then, Santa became the affable chap we clean our homes to welcome today!

What we know today is vastly different from the Santa of the past. Santa was considered to be quite a creepy, gaunt man before 1823.  The poem, ‘The Night before Christmas’, published in 1823, changed public impressions of Santa. In Clement C. Moore’s poem, much like Saint Nicholas, Santa was said to give away presents while travelling to different homes in reindeer sleighs.  Since then, Santa became the affable chap to welcome whom we clean our homes for before Christmas!


Illustration of Santa Claus in the year 1882

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast 

From 1931 to 1964, Santa Claus dressed in red and white was seen stopping to read a letter and enjoy a bottle of coke in the ads. These classic ads you know of remain popular even till today.

Due to the huge popularity of these ads, an urban myth that Coca-Cola created Santa’s image sprouted. This urban myth is untrue. Prior to these ads, Santa wore different colours. He was also seen wearing red and white even before Coke was invented.

Santa’s favourite reindeer was a product of successful marketing

Original copy of 1939 "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" distributed to all the children who visited Montgomery Ward
Credits: americanhistory.si.edu
Original copy of 1939 “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” distributed to all the children who visited Montgomery Ward

Another Christmas myth you probably heard of would be Rudolph. Santa’s ninth reindeer Rudolph was the product of a successful marketing campaign. Montgomery Ward is an American retail enterprise which still operates today. In order to attract consumers to the Montgomery Ward department in 1939, Robert L. May wrote a poem about Rudolph. As seen in the marketing collateral above, red booklets containing the poem was distributed to children who visited Montgomery Ward. This was all part of a marketing effort to attract children and their parents to visit Montgomery Ward. And Rudolph did ‘go down in history’! Even till today you still hear ‘Rudolph the red nosed reindeer’ every Christmas.

Gift giving on Christmas

Christmas  Gift
Credits: pixabay.com

Today, you might purchase Christmas gifts as early as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales! Consumers today also spend less on food for Christmas, opting to divert their expenditure towards their children. The convenience of online marketplaces means that as a consumer, you are more likely to purchase Christmas presents online than in physical stores.

Dead weight loss of traditional Christmas gift giving

While the main idea behind gift giving is lovely, giving gifts may not necessarily convey our intended messages. Economist Joel Waldfogel’s research on gift giving showed that a gap exists between the money spent on a present and the value ascribed to it by the recipient. This means our gift recipients may not have valued the physical gift we gave them as much as we hoped they would. Waldfogel feels that to minimise wastage of resource allocation, we can change the forms in which gifts are given. Forms of gift giving which he suggested included giving gift cards or donating to charity in your gift recipients’ names.

Changes in trends of Christmas gift giving How Christmas might change in the future

Interestingly, current trends for gift giving are headed towards investing in shared experiences of holiday getaways or short-term hobby classes. In essence, this trend is in line with Waldfogel’s suggestions. It is not hard to see how this trend came about –consumers are more environmentally conscious and inclined towards unique experiences than their predecessors are. Paper & plastic wraps and gifts which aren’t utilised do not fall in line with millennial aspirations to be more environmentally conscious.

How Christmas might change in the future

It will be interesting to see how Christmas celebrations will change in the future. Factors of such include: increasing income disparity across developed nations and aging European population.  You may also see changes in cuisine served during Christmas. This is because people react to changing financial budgets and dietary needs as times change. Certainly, the types of gifts given will also change accordingly to the change in dynamics of the population. Additionally, new viral material might also lead to changes in Christmas traditions as you once knew.

It will be interesting to see how Christmas celebrations will change in the future. Factors of such include: increasing income disparity across developed nations and the aging of European population.  We may also see changes in cuisine served during Christmas. This is due to the changing financial budgets and dietary needs as times change. Certainly, the types of gifts given will also change accordingly to the change in dynamics of the population. Additionally, new viral material on social media might also lead to changes in Christmas traditions as we once knew.

Regardless, Christmas is a time for us and our loved ones to enjoy. Keeping our homes clean is definitely one of the biggest priorities for the holidays. Sendhelper is a platform on which you can book all cleaning services you need within the palm of your hand. Catered to your budget and preferred timings, you can book cleaning services on our app now!


The lifesaver checklist for your last minute party

Christmas Party!

The month of December is almost synonymous with party, parties and more parties. For some of us, the year passed us too quickly and before you know it, it is already the end of the year! Some of us may not have the habit of planning year-end parties in advance, others might want to hold last minute parties in response to cancelled plans. Whichever is your reason for planning your party last minute, we have come up with a simple comprehensive checklist for you to help you cope with the flurry of last minute preparations.

Decide on the theme ASAP

As with all parties, it is important for you to decide on the theme of the party that you want ASAP. You might want to create a Pinterest board to visualise how you would like your party to be like. This would make it easier for you to plan the party faster and troubleshoot for possible problems, coming up with back up plans in the event of these issues happening.

Send out your calendar invites immediately

Once you are done with deciding on the theme, decide on the date of your party fast. It is better to leave at least 2 weeks’ minimum before the party for your guests to RSVP to. However, if it is really last minute, try your best to leave at least 1 week for your guests to respond to, sending them a google invite and texts concurrently to remind them to check their emails for the invite. As you send out google calendar invites, remember to schedule reminders for 2-3 days before the party, to remind your guests of the party.

Alternatively, you can also create an event on Facebook and invite friends to keep track of your party’s attendance list. You can also post and receive updates on the event page. Doing this also leaves you some buffer time to respond should any of your guests have to pull out last minute because of various reasons.

Plan your food and beverages

Snowmen cupcakes
These snowmen won’t melt in aircon temperature!

For food catering, you would need to inform catering companies 2-3 weeks prior to your event. For parties planned last minute, this is often not an option. While you can still call restaurants to bulk order food, restaurants are usually very busy closer towards Christmas and year-end. Fret not, it is still possible to have yummy food for your party!

 These are categories of food which you can easily prepare:

  1. Dips like hummus and guacamole to go with crackers.
  2. Different toppings like bruschetta to go with bread
  3. Food on skewers
  4. Nut mixes in bowls
  5. Meats/ cheese/ fruit platters

These are some fancy drink ideas which you can easily prepare on a budget:

Fruit punch!
Keep it cool with some fruit punch!
  1. Big-batch punch
  2. Fruit infused water 

When you are planning your menu, it is also important to have a vegan and gluten free option. This is respectful of friends with different dietary needs. It is essential for you to buy the ingredients at least 3 days in advance. This  allows you some buffer time to get anything last minute if need be. Furthermore, you might also want to prepare or buy a lot of ice for the drinks too. 

If you are looking to throw a barbeque party, you can easily get helping hands for cooking up the grill and serving your guest. Just email Sendhelper.com at info@sendhelper.com and we will send you a seasoned pro to help you out. 

Show your hospitality through the small touches

The devil is in the details – express your hospitality through small details which are usually overlooked. Plan your seating plan of the party such that it is conducive for interaction between guests. Also, you might want to note that more people would be using the toilet than usual. As such, it is advisable to prepare extra paper towels in your bathrooms and some feminine necessities should some female guests require them during your party. 

Set a reminder to turn on your aircon

Set a reminder for yourself to turn on your aircon an hour before your guests visit. It is easier for your aircon to cool the room when there is less people. You might want to consider servicing your aircon units or perhaps have it go through a chemical wash before your party. Unknowingly, we tend to leave our aircon unit servicing till a longer time than recommended. By then, dust would have accumulated in our aircon units and might trigger allergic reactions. 

You can keep your air conditioners in top shape by getting it serviced regularly. Available on iOS App Store and Google Play Store, Sendhelper is a platform where you can find a variety of home services including aircon services at your convenience and at an affordable rate. 

Of course, the list is non-exhaustive. Having these points addressed would at the very least ensure that your party is well functioning. Furthermore, having the party planned out as such would give you more time to have fun during your party as opposed to panicking to get things you have missed out during the party. Remember to enjoy your party and happy holidays!

Dress sustainably this December!

Dress sustainably this December!

Did you know that ‘Deco’ in December actually meant the tenth month in the calendar proposed by Julius Caesar? It was a reminder to people that what is sewn is reaped. However, we currently follow the Gregorian calendar with 12 months now. December today is an emblem of resolutions and new starts. It is no wonder that across the globe, December is a month of crazy celebrations and festivities!

According to Straits Times, the month of December is the hottest period for couples to get married! You’re happy for your loved ones enjoying the big day of their lives. While you’re happy for the couple, the process of dressing up for your loved ones’ special days is also a fun one as you can wear clothes you normally don’t wear. Furthermore, your friends’ wedding can also be a good reason for you to update your wardrobe.

For those who are on bridesmaid or groomsman duties, the outfits were often designed for us to wear on that special day. The long chiffon dress which you wore for the special occasion is usually inappropriate for daily wear or office wear. The same applies with the suits worn as that might come off as overdressed for the average day. Such a conundrum is not exclusive to post-weddings; it also happens with themed parties or other formal functions that are organised more in the month of December. Remembering that our clothing consumption is one of the largest contribution to environmental pollution. Here are some things you can do with your outfits to reduce your carbon footprint.

Alter the clothes to suit your daily needs

Males tend to be more fortunate in this aspect as different parts of the suit can be worn in different work settings. However, this is not necessarily the case for dresses or long gowns. For ladies, before throwing your gowns into the laundry, perhaps you can have them altered to fit your daily needs better. Discuss with the seamstress or tailor how they can upcycle your evening wear to one which is more functional for daily wear. Furthermore, the material used to craft these gowns are usually of higher quality than the material used in fast fashion items. This means that your new dress will last through more laundry cycles than the usual store bought dresses meant for daily wear.

Allow the professionals to help you maintain your outfits

Dropping a few hundred aplomb all the time can burn quite a hole in your pocket. These outfits you wear to weddings often have special stitch work or more luxurious materials such as satin and silk, which require extra care to maintain. Such materials or stitch work often require dry cleaning services or professional laundry services to help maintain. After that, you can layer these clothing articles to create a different look for the next event can save you a considerable sum of money.  Available on iOS App Store and Google Play Store, Sendhelper is a platform on which you can book all laundry services in Singapore you need at the tip of your fingers. Catered to your budget and preferred timings, you can book dry cleaning and laundry services on our app now!

Clothing swaps and donations to thrift stores

However, if you really decide that you have too much clothes in your closet after these festivities and clearing out your house, why not donate them? You can even organise a party between you and your loved ones to swap clothes. This way, you and your friends would have an updated wardrobe at a low financial and environmental cost. Throw your friends’ clothes into the laundry and they would be good as new! As for the clothes which no one around you want, you might want to donate them to thrift stores like Salvation Army and New2U.

These tips are not exclusive to just the month of December, neither are they exhaustive. There are many other ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint in this month of festivities. So have fun with your parties and leave the maintenance of your clothing to laundry professionals!

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Terms & Conditions

    1. 30% cashback up to a maximum of $30 on the 4th job completed on Sendhelper. This cashback is not valid with other discounts or promotions.
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    5. Minimum order size of $25 shall apply for Laundry jobs.
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    7. Customers are to provide the 4 completed job IDs for their jobs within the promotion period so as to redeem the cashback.
    8. Credits cannot be used to pay for Qualifying Jobs under this offer as credit packages are bought at a promotional rate and cannot be used in conjunction with this promotion.
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    10. Sendhelper’s decision on all matters relating to the promotion will be final and binding on all participants.
    11. Sendhelper, through the Sendhelper platform, offers information & a method to obtain the above services but does not itself provide these services. The provision of these services is up to the independent professionals, scheduled through the Sendhelper Platform.

Get up to $15 cashback on laundry and aircon jobs for December!

Recurring Customers get 15% cashback on all laundry and aircon (Labour Charges) jobs for all of December 2018! Existing ad-hoc cleaning and cooking customers can convert to recurring and avail this offer too.

Terms & Conditions

    1. 15% cashback up to a maximum of $15 off on each Laundry and Aircon (Labour Charges) job completed on Sendhelper. This cashback is not valid with other discounts or promotions.
    2. The offer is valid only for Recurring Customers with active recurring jobs and cashback is only applicable on Laundry and Aircon (Labour Charges) jobs concurrent with such active recurring job.
    3. Offer valid from 1st to 31st December 2018 only.
    4. Cashback is only applicable to Labour Charges in case of Aircon jobs. No cashback applicable on material charges.
    5. Minimum order size of $25 shall apply for Laundry jobs.
    6. Customers are to provide the job ID for their job so as to redeem the cashback.
    7. Credits cannot be used to pay for Laundry and Aircon services under this offer as credit packages are bought at a promotional rate and cannot be used in conjunction with this promotion.
    8. Sendhelper reserves the right at its absolute discretion to terminate, vary, delete or add any of these terms and conditions from time to time without notice.
    9. Sendhelper’s decision on all matters relating to the promotion will be final and binding on all participants.
    10. Sendhelper, through the Sendhelper platform, offers information & a method to obtain the above services but does not itself provide these services. The provision of these services is up to the independent professionals, scheduled through the Sendhelper Platform.

Feel more at home in your humble abodes!

interior design _3

All of us have a strong need to feel safe and secure. Naturally, we look for characteristics of our environments which makes us safe. Psychological and physical comfort are 2 most important attributes which differentiates a home from a house for us. When we feel stressed from work or school, coming home to an inviting and cosy home feels very comforting! Here are ways to increase the homeliness of our homes!

Ensure cleanliness of the environment

Looks are very deceiving – our table tops and surfaces might look clean but a swipe of a finger would reveal some amount of dust. Due to our busy schedules, we often leave cleaning our homes to the weekends or sometimes postpone it till much later when our houses look dirty. When our homes look dirty, our bodies would already have been affected adversely. Home maintenance is important as a dusty environment can cause allergic reactions such as allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis flare ups. Thus for the sake of our health, it is important to consistently wipe our floors and tables every 1-2 days to prevent the build-up of dust in our homes because we are happier when we are healthier. You can always book cleaning services in Singapore with ease on Sendhelper as well as per your needs.

Have house plants

Having plants in the houses can break the monotony of the environment. Plants take in the carbon dioxide from our respiratory processes and convert it to oxygen, freshening the air quality at home. Green, the colour of leaves, is found to be a soothing colour which helps to relieve anxieties in people. Additionally, having plants at home can be a low cost alternative to having a pet while providing similar benefits as rearing a pet will. Also, how our plants grow at home may also reflect the home gets enough sunlight or appropriate amounts of light. If regular watering of the plant has happened but the plant is not as green as it should be can be a signal that something in your home environment should be improved.

Lighting

Looking to diet and lose weight? It is better for you to eat in brightly lit places as it influences you to eat slower and chew better. While it is common knowledge that poor lighting can cause eye damage, most do not know how much the lighting of our environments affect us. The light intensity in our houses is usually consistent through different rooms. However, this is not conducive as different rooms have different energy levels. For example, your living room is where the family gathers to do things together and the energy levels of the living room is higher than the rest of the house. Hence, it is better to have more intense lighting in the living room. On the other hand, too much light will affect our circadian cycles and consequently our sleep. As such, it is better to have dimmer lighting in our bedrooms.

If you have yet to alter your lighting at home, you can engage handyman electrician services and get well-trained electricians to help you install new lights at home. Available on iOS App Store and Android Play Store, Sendhelper is a platform which you can book electrician handyman services in Singapore for different needs such as home repair and electrician services to help you with the installation of different lights.

Play with colours and texture

According to design psychology, textures can signal a welcoming home. We feel more comfortable in wider spaces which has soft textures like flannel. Natural textures which are soft also makes us feel more cosy at home. Additionally, it is better to have soft cushioned seats at home – research has found that sitting on softer surfaces makes us more inclined to listen and communicate peacefully with people around us.

It was also shown that colours can affect our moods. Vibrant and vivid colours increases our energy levels whereas softer pastel tones are calms us down. It is also important to note that how we react to colours is also highly related to our personal experiences. For example, if we grew up disliking the pink paracetamol syrup we had to take when we were sick, seeing the same shade of pink is likely to cause us high levels of discomfort. If you wish to repaint your home or add another coating to give your home a fresher look, you can always look for wall painting services in Singapore on Sendhelper app.

There are many ways in which a calm and comfortable environment can be created. It is important to note our family’s reactions to colours, patters, textures, lighting and shapes when customising our homes. When the needs of each member is met, everyone will feel at home.