SINGAPORE - As people spend more time at home this year, they are forking out more on interior furnishings and accessories.
Retailers here have reported up to a 50 per cent spike in demand for such items since early November. And in the first week of December, Christmas trees - fir and fake - flew off the shelves. Shoppers are perhaps spoiling themselves after a difficult year of travel restrictions and other disruptions amid the pandemic.
And this is a healthy trend, says Dr Geraldine Tan, director and principal psychologist of The Therapy Room in Orchard Road. "To say certain products are crucial for mental health may be too presumptuous as no research has been done to determine this."
But she adds: "If we look at it in terms of how they might make one feel more comfortable, energised and positive, it can be said to be impacting one's mental health - albeit indirectly."
Here are seven gift ideas to end the year on a healthy note.
Game for a massage
Osim International has designed what it claims to be the world's first gaming massage chair - the uThrone.
The home-grown maker of healthy living products says the seat features its proprietary massage technologies, which are engineered to deliver greater ergonomic comfort for users who spend long hours in front of their desks.
The V-Hand massage technology mimics the massage techniques of a professional masseur and targets deep-seated knots from the user's neck and shoulders.
The chair, which allows users to recline 90 to 145 degrees, also has two built-in Bluetooth speakers.
Info: $899 for pre-orders at the Osim website. Delivery from the end-January, 2021.
Voila! Craft a feature wall
You can now change the look of your walls with local start-up Vwalla's (pronounced "voila") 3D wall panels. There are 25 designs ranging from soothing wave styles to sculpted geometrics in pleasing textures and hues.
The modular squarish panels, which come in a box of 12 ($129), are easy to mount on wall surfaces. All you need are steady hands and the firm's recommended adhesive to bond the panels to surfaces.
To celebrate the launch of the do-it-yourself concept, Vwalla is offering a 50 per cent discount on the second box of panels until Jan 3.
Info: Available at their website
Support local design at Supermama
The home-grown lifestyle brand's Singapore Blue collection comprises blue-and-white porcelain homeware inspired by Singapore's heritage and transformation.
They are designed by Singaporean personalities - such as restaurateur Willin Low and award-winning illustrator Lee Xin Li - and made by Kihara, a Japanese ceramic company with a 400-year porcelain-making tradition in the town of Arita in Saga prefecture.
Supermama, founded in 2010, won the President's Design Award in 2013 when it first launched a collection of porcelain ware with a distinctive Singapore theme.
Prices for the Singapore Blue pieces range from $12 for a saucer to $120 for a Kebaya Bleu plate.
Straits Times readers get an exclusive 10 per cent off the store's Bento Porcelain Workshop Kit ($60) by showing this page at the Supermama store at 265 Beach Road.
Info: The collection is available at the brand's flagship store at 265 Beach Road and on their online website.
Palette for the palate
Launched in May, the Passifolia range by French luxury maison Hermes features verdant foliage and blooms on tableware that are not only soothing to the eye, but also help whet the appetite.
The French-made tableware comprises 32 colours and took more than 2,000 hours to create on Limoges porcelain using a technique called chromolithography.
A Passifolia soup plate starts at $260, a soya sauce dish costs $145 and a tray is priced from $350.
An appliance that works harder and smarter
British home appliances brand Vax, exclusively marketed in Singapore by electronics and furniture retailer Harvey Norman, makes products with high-tech features that combine vacuuming, washing and drying of hard floors - all at the same time.
Its hard surface cleaner, the Vax Glide, claims to halve the work by eliminating multiple steps, as well as extracting dirt and killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria (when used with the brand's multi-floor special solution, $29).
It is now going for $527.12 (introductory price $599), after a special 12 per cent discount for Straits Times readers till Dec 18.
Scan the QR code and apply the promo code "HNxST" when checking out online.
Get rid of post-workout aches and pains
Hydragun is a made-in-Singapore post-workout tool that claims to reduce the impact of delayed onset muscle soreness (Doms), a medical condition that afflicts gym enthusiasts who push themselves to meet their fitness goals.
The device is shaped like a gun and delivers a soothing massage through percussive therapy, with high power and speed settings to target muscle soreness.
Launched in August, it has garnered glowing testimonials from the likes of football legend Fandi Ahmad and mixed martial arts exponent Angela Lee.
Info: Priced at $399, Hydragun is available at their website. There is a promotion of $50 off each Hydragun till Dec 25.
Score 12.12 deals at Gain City
Long before 12.12 became a global sales event, home-grown electronics retailer Gain City developed an affinity with the four numbers.
In 1981, executive chairman Danny Teo started out modestly in retail with his first paging device, which came with a business number that ended with "1212". He then adopted the digits as a form of branding for Gain City.
The first store in Towner Road has retained its telephone number - 6464-1212 - for almost 40 years. And today, all the main lines for Gain City stores have "1212" as the last four digits.
This year, Gain City is launching its first omnichannel 12.12 promotion with storewide discounts and vouchers at all 14 outlets and online at gaincity.com. Shoppers also get an extra $12 off today with a minimum spending of $120.
For instance, you can use the discount on the Sharp Air Purifier and Humidifier, which is going for $599 instead of $899. It claims to reduce mould spores, which may cause irritation. The result is fresher air which is constantly circulated and optimal humidity that does not dry out the skin.
Those with an active lifestyle can get the Fitbit Versa - a smartwatch with features such as activity, sleep and heart-rate tracking as well as guided breathing lessons - for $298 (usual price is $358).