Don’t look now, but it’s December, and the latest issue of Jensen’s Healthy Home News is here! Check out the Special Insert in the complete newsletter and find out why you need to act fast if you want to greet your guests with clean carpets and still have some money left to buy stocking stuffers. (As long as you book your carpet cleaning in December–even if the appointment is in 2024–you’ll get our deep December discount of $20 off carpet cleaning plus 33% off Carpet Protection!) The December newsletter also has a bit about Christmas music for everyone, a brief history of Hanukkah, Joel’s tip on getting cranberry sauce out of light colored carpeting, plus a lot more interesting and entertaining stuff. And don’t forget the Mega Trivia Question—the first six people who call with the correct answer will win a $15 gift certificate to The Village Grille. Click Jensen’s Healthy Home News to download the complete newsletter. Here are some highlights:
Q: A holiday guest just spilled some cranberry sauce on my light-colored carpet, what do I do please?!
A: Cranberry sauce can be a challenge, and you’ll want to address it immediately. First use a spoon
to gently pick up any excess residue. Never scrape, or you may damage the carpet fibers. Blot (never rub) using a clean white wet towel, then blot with a dry white towel. If a stain remains visible, use a mixture of a small amount (3-4 drops) of dish detergent with two cups cool water and using a clean white cotton cloth, sponge the stain with the solution. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Continue blotting until the stain disappears and the color and moisture are no longer absorbed into the cloth.
Remember, spots and stains can be tricky, and certain cleaners and techniques can cause permanent damage. Call Jensen’s anytime for a free quote if you’d like us to take a look.
Christmas music for everyone
Christmas carols are beautiful, but sometimes we want to celebrate Christmas with songs that are sentimental and FUN… Here are 9 classic options:
- The rollicking “Jingle Bells,” written as a Thanksgiving song, was created by James Pierpont in 1857. He had no idea that it would become popular!
- The sentimental favorite, “White Christmas,” was written by Irving Berlin in 1940. Introduced in 1942, it was a song of peace in a time of war. Bing Crosby’s rendition is still famous.
- In 1934, Eddie Cantor almost declined to record “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” because he thought it was too much of a kiddie song.
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by Johnny Marks for a Christmas book given as a promotional item to Montgomery Ward Christmas shoppers in 1939. Gene Autry sang it.
- More recently, a modern style of Christmas music has produced new classics, including: “I saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus,” was composed and first sung by Reba McEntire. At the time, she was a little-known gospel singer.
- “Jingle Bell Rock” composed and sung by Bobby Helms is another holiday classic. Helms died in 1997.
- “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” was composed and sung by Randy Brooks in 1977.
- “Santa Baby,” with words and music by Joan Javits, is a hit as sung by Eartha Kitt. Others who have recorded the song are Patti Labelle, Vanessa Williams, and Gregory Hines.
- “Rocking around the Christmas Tree” was composed by Johnny Marks. Sung by Brenda Lee and others, it continues to be a holiday treat.
The History of Hanukkah
Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. The Greek-Syrian ruler Antiochus IV had forbidden Jews to practice their religion and forced them to worship Greek gods instead. The Greeks seized a Jewish temple and dedicated it to the worship of Zeus. This incited a rebellion led by Judah the Maccabee. Even though the Maccabees were vastly outnumbered, they were victorious. When the Jews reclaimed their temple on Mount Moriah, they relit the menorah, or candelabrum, which ritual dictated should burn throughout every night. But there was only enough oil on hand to last one night and preparing new oil would take eight days. Miraculously, the light burned for eight days. Today, Jews light a candle each day for eight days to celebrate the event. According to Rabbi Mark Diamond, Hanukkah is considered a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish tradition. However, its proximity to the Christmas gift-giving season has increased its visibility and importance to many Jews. This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
The origin of the candy cane
Candy canes go back over 350 years, when candy-makers both professional and amateur were making hard sugar sticks. The original candy was straight and completely white in color. Around the seventeenth century, European-Christians began to adopt the use of Christmas trees as part of their Christmas celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy.
The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services.
The clergymen’s custom of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The canes were still white, but sometimes the candy-makers would add sugar-roses to decorate the canes further.
The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.
The stripes? About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.
Legends: There are many other legends and beliefs surrounding the humble candy cane. Many of them depict the candy cane as a secret symbol for Christianity used during the times when Christians were living under more oppressive circumstances. It was said that the cane was shaped like a “J” for Jesus. The red-and-white stripes represented Christ’s blood and purity. The three red stripes symbolized the Holy Trinity. The hardness of the candy represented the Church’s foundation on solid rock and the peppermint flavor represented the use of hyssop, an herb referred to in the Old Testament. There is no historical evidence to support these claims, but they are lovely thoughts.