Category Archives: Holidays

Distinguished Award Salutes Aviation’s Heroes

What better time than Independence Day to think about some of our greatest national heroes, our military veterans.

Ninety years ago tomorrow, the Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by Congress as a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguished himself or herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Thus, it is America’s oldest military aviation award and is the only medal conferred by all five military services, in all wars and campaigns from World War I to the present.

The design of the cross includes a four-blade propeller, superimposed on a 1½” bronze cross pattée. In each angle of the cross are five sun rays, typifying the glory of the deed for which this unique gift was awarded. The back side of the medal is blank so that the recipient’s name and rank can be engraved.

The government kept no detailed records of DFC recipients, so it is not known in total how many medals have been awarded through the years. Among those who have received the honor are Charles Lindbergh, Commander Richard Byrd, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, George H.W. Bush, Amelia Earhart, and Orville and Wilbur Wright. Earhart and the Wright Brothers are among the few non-military persons to ever receive the medal, as an executive order in 1927 decreed the Cross should not be conferred on civilians.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society was founded in 1994 to bring together those who have received this honor. Currently, there are more than 6,000 members, with 21 chapters nationwide.84340_1000x1000

As you plan your July 4th festivities, please take a few moments to reflect on those who have served our country. May we suggest The Army Air Corps Leather Flight Jacket as the ideal unique gift to honor a special veteran in your life? First issued to the U.S. Army aviators in 1931 and worn by flight crews throughout World War II, the A-2 flight jacket was reissued by the U.S. Air Force in 1987. This jacket, a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, is made by Cockpit USA, the current supplier of leather jackets to the Air Force. Presented in our signature gift box, it’s a perfect way to say “thank you”.

May the Fourth Be with You

Tomorrow, avid Star Wars fans around the world will celebrate Star Wars Day and their rallying cry with a hearty “May the Force be with you” to one and all.

This date-driven play on words began May 4, 1979, when Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of the U.K. The London Evening News placed a congratulatory ad saying, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie.” It took off from there and in 2015, even the International Space Station celebrated far, far away with a showing of Star Wars for the astronauts.87707F_1000x1000

Why not celebrate Star Wars Day 2016 here on Earth with one of these unique gifts for yourself or for your favorite fan of the franchise.88225_1000x1000

These Star Wars Steins impart intergalactic intrepidity to your imbibing. Made from high-quality ceramic with pewter lids, each 32-oz. stein is crafted in the likeness of R2-D2, Darth Vader, Chewbacca or Boba Fett. Each stein is available individually, so a collector can choose a favorite as a unique gift or get the whole set.

You’ll have the best breakfast contraption in the whole galaxy with this Darth Vader Pancake Maker. Ensuring every iteration of the Sith Lord’s iconic visage is forged with the efficiency of an Imperial clone processing factory, its 10-setting thermostat and weighted lid yield tender golden “chewies” or crispy brown morsels, depending on your desired level of doneness.87114_1000x1000

A sure hit with kids and adults alike, this R2-D2 Bubble Generator automatically spews hundreds of bubble clusters in different directions. Faithful in detail to the original ‘droid, it speaks in the synthesized lexicon of boops and beeps and projects extraterrestrial blue light from its radar eye. It can be set to spray bubbles continuously or at random intervals, much in the spirit of the feisty original character.

We have over two dozen unique gifts that will delight any Star Wars fan on May the Fourth or any day. Check out our entire collection today!

Santa…Coming Soon to a Chimney Near You

The colorful, twinkling lights are up, unique gifts are wrapped and under the tree, and now millions of children are counting down the days till a visit from the fat, jolly guy in a red suit.

No matter your age, Santa Claus is an image as closely associated with the holiday as a Christmas tree and the brilliant star. The earliest origins of Santa come from the Byzantine Empire, what is now Turkey. St. Nicholas, a 4th century bishop, was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Over the centuries, St. Nick evolved through European folklore in variations such as Sinterklaas and Father Christmas.75754_1000x1000

In 1823, the poem we now know as ‘Twas the Night before Christmas was published in Troy, NY. New Yorkers embraced the child-centric story. Now, you can own an authentic hand-painted figurine designed by renowned artist Thomas Kinkade that recites this beloved poem in the artist’s own voice. The figurine stands a foot tall and depicts amazing detail, with toys under the tree and a miniature version of Kinkade’s Cobblestone Christmas painting behind Santa. 84639_1000x1000

Kinkade also designed this snowglobe, inspired by a classic Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover. Like Rockwell’s original, Kinkade’s Santa surveys a magical globe with a magnifying glass, putting the finishing touches on his “naughty or nice” list. The village within the globe lights up with four golden LEDs as a blower mechanism swirls snow through the sphere. At the touch of a switch, the globe plays a medley of eight holiday favorite tunes. This keepsake is the perfect unique gift idea for anyone who collects snowglobes or is an aficionado of Kinkade or Rockwell. 12165_1000x1000

For the younger set, this personalized heirloom story book traces the journey of a child’s letter as it travels to the North Pole and recounts Santa’s dutiful delivery of presents on Christmas morning. Told from Santa’s point of view, a child’s first name appears on all 10 spreads, both in the book’s rhyming verse and across 10 illustrations.

At Hammacher Schlemmer, we love ol’ St. Nick. He lives in our hearts through the spirit of generosity, the power of love, and the joy that comes from giving to others. No matter how big or small the present, whether simple and homemade or a unique gift that becomes a conversation piece, share the magic, the hope and the happiness that comes from Christmas.

Home, Sweet Home

The concept of the gingerbread house began in Germany in the early 1800s, evolving out of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. German immigrants brought the tradition to America, and now we even celebrate Gingerbread House Day every December 12. 12753_1000x1000

We can help you create your own gingerbread neighborhood. If you’re not inclined to work construction, Hammacher Schlemmer features pre-assembled gingerbread homes that make unique gifts with personalized names or messages. 12754_1000x1000

Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer and reviving the craft of the lebkuchler from medieval Europe, this classic gingerbread house is crafted with the highest quality ingredients using a renowned German recipe. Seven sheets of gingerbread form the roof, walls, and floor. An assortment of sweets is used to construct other details, including white icing shingles, peppermint stick corners, green icing conifers and a gumdrop door arch. 12723_1000x1000

Perhaps your gingerbread dreams desire a home with a bit more square footage. The Gingerbread Estate is a more stately version, with larger walls to devour. Each window is decorated with frosting flower boxes while the roof’s ridgeline features hard candy finials. Like the smaller house, personalization can be added. 12722_1000x1000

Round out the scene with this one-of-a-kind gingerbread train. Found nowhere but Hammacher Schlemmer, this locomotive version uses gingerbread cookies stacked with green frosting to make its engine’s boiler. A Christmas tree-toting coal car follows, and a frosted roof caboose comes last. An assortment of sweets decorates each piece, including peppermint wheels and gumdrop landscaping.

And for some hands-on, DIY action, this Christmas Cookie Coloring Kit gives you 10 frosted sugar cookies in five classic holiday shapes and a set of edible ink markers. Arriving fully baked and ready to color, each crunchy cookie’s white frosting provides a blank canvas for creating a unique Christmas card, a colorful stocking stuffer, or a personalized holiday treat.

Spend Black Friday in Your PJs

Getting up at 3 a.m. to go holiday shopping? Preposterous!

This Black Friday, we highly recommend sleeping in. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, nobody goes to the malls anymore, they’re too crowded. The most unique gifts are easily found online. At Hammacher.com, we have easy-to-use gift guides so you can conquer your holiday list in your pajamas.

With our exclusive online gift guides, you can tailor your shopping to find items that suit each individual on your list. Our gift guide filters let you narrow down criteria so you can zero in on that perfect unique gift. Are you looking for something for him or for her? For a child, a pet or something for the home?

You can add a filter for the type of gift: something personalized perhaps? Favor the flavor of gourmet gifts? Maybe you’re looking for just a little stocking stuffer. We offer those, too!

Layer on another filter for the recipient’s interests: choose categories for traits such as foodie, exceptional dresser, or a globetrotting traveler.

Finally, you can narrow your choices to suit your budget. Whether you want to spend less than $50, or the sky’s the limit, filtering by price will keep your selection wallet-friendly.

And for the easiest choice of all, we offer gift certificates in denominations from $25 to $200 that let the hard-to-shop-for find a unique gift of their own.

Here’s a Better Way to Decorate for the Holidays

Who wouldn’t enjoy the holidays more if setting up a Christmas tree was fast and hassle-free? Forget heading out in the cold and traffic to hunt for a good-looking tree, drag it home, untangle lights, and fuss with water and messy, dropped needles. You’d have so much more time to enjoy the unique gifts the holiday season brings. 86591_1000x1000

Sounds like heaven, right? The World’s Best Prelit Christmas Trees deliver on the promise. Molded from a live fir and available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, these trees feature three-dimensional branch tips that replicate the exact growth patterns, needles, and branch silhouettes of a freshly cut live tree. Prelit with more lights than typical trees, their beautiful glow remains throughout the season, even if a bulb burns out. These trees are available in a variety of heights and widths to accommodate any space. 87516_1000x1000

The Thousand Points of Light Tree is suitable for indoor or outdoor use and generates 23 dancing displays of multi-colored or bright white lights. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, this tree features 1,165 fiber optic tips powered by a controller that allows you to select any of the 23 display patterns, as well as the speed at which they change. It has an automatic timer, too, so you can set it and forget it. 87492_1000x1000

If you really want to save time festooning your home, The Instant Fully Decorated Christmas Tree sets up in just seconds. Available nowhere else, the tree consists of two sections of realistic branches that simply attach to the center pole. The tree is prelit and decorated with a beautiful mix of ornaments, holly berries and leaves, pinecones, red bows, and a tree topper. This is a unique gift idea for a person who may not have the physical ability to decorate a tree, too.

All of these trees come with the Hammacher Schlemmer Lifetime Guarantee and will be delivered right to your front door. A beautiful and Merry Christmas truly was never easier!

Irish I Had These Unique Gifts

The luck o’ the Irish falls upon us all this month when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. It’s a day of commemorations, festivals and parades in many countries around the world, with celebrations in such diverse locales as Malaysia, Switzerland, the Caribbean island of Montserrat and even on the International Space Station.

In Ireland, March 17 primarily remained a religious holiday until the mid-1990s when the Irish government began a campaign to use the day to highlight the unique gifts of the Irish culture. No, not green beer; rather elements of Celtic life such as the beautiful Gaelic language, Irish stepdance and the influence of today’s Ireland, a creative, sophisticated and innovative country with international appeal.

At Hammacher Schlemmer, we’re celebrating the traditions of the Emerald Isle with these genuine Irish goods, ideal unique gifts for anyone with an appreciation for the Old Sod.78855_300x300

This genuine walking stick is handmade in Ireland and bears the same name as the town traditionally known as the source of its origin centuries ago—Shillelagh. Made from blackthorn, the wood species used exclusively to make each shillelagh, this wood is selected for its superior weight-to-hardness ratio. Sold only through Hammacher Schlemmer, no two sticks are identical, so each one made is unique.

84392_300x300Perfect for staying warm while curled up with a good book, this lady’s reading shawl is made in County Kildare, Ireland. The shawl features traditional wide patch pockets useful for tucking away a paperback or e-reader, as well as a pair of glasses. Its enveloping design covers the full back, chest and upper arms while leaving the hands free to turn pages.

79264_300x300This genuine Irish tweed patchwork quilt is handcrafted in County Donegal, Ireland by an 88-year-old bespoke tailoring firm. Tweed patchwork’s appeal lies in its superior heat retention, durability, and charm. Each tweed square is woven from the fine coat of purebred Suffolk and Texel sheep, breeds renowned for yielding a dense, warm fleece. Each quilt is truly the only one of its kind, and a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive.

So don your shamrocks, tuck into a plate of corned beef and cabbage, and raise a toast of Irish whiskey or good stout beer to the Emerald Isle!

Presidents Day Shopping for the Chief of Stuff

On Monday, we will honor the men who have led our country with giant sales on mattresses, marathons on our favorite cable TV channels and, for many folks, a three-day weekend.

Presidents Day is perhaps the quirkiest of all federal holidays because we can’t all agree on who it honors or even on how to spell it. The U.S. government officially lists the day as honoring George Washington’s birthday. Many states include Abraham Lincoln in the celebration, some include Thomas Jefferson, and several states list it as a day to honor all presidents.

Nor is there agreement on where to place the apostrophe. Sometimes it isn’t used at all (Presidents Day), sometimes in the singular (President’s Day) and often in the plural (Presidents’ Day).

Hammacher Schlemmer has a presidential history of its own. Numerous Chief Executives and their families have been known to shop with us for unique gifts.

12191_300x300Herbert Hoover favored our bar supplies. Likewise, we suspect any president or CEO or even a retired person with oenophilia would appreciate this unique gift: a dual-temperature wine credenza that stores both reds and whites at their proper temperatures.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt liked to shop our kitchen supplies during his time in office. Today, he might appreciate all we have to offer in a selection that’s bigger than ever.

John F. Kennedy purchased an electric bed from us, a unique gift for the White House. Happy birthday, Mr. President, indeed.

83455_300x300And Lady Bird Johnson consulted with us while renovating the White House closets. Should another First Lady (or First Gentleman) undertake a similar project, she/he will find that we have several options for closet organization that would address the LOTFW’s* sartorial needs.

* Acronym for Leader of the Free World

Finishing Touches Make Your Holiday Display the Best on the Block

In some neighborhoods, friendly competitions wage during the holiday season. Which house is the most brightly lit? Who has the best choreographed display of lights and music? What family’s decorations are the most unique?

As you put the finishing touches on your prize-worthy holiday display, we have some ideas for unique gifts that will allow your house to stand out from the crowd.86290_300x300

This Candy Cane Archway, illuminated with 350 built-in incandescent mini-lights, will transform your home’s entrance into a candy cane-themed spectacle. With sparkling tinsel that covers sturdy metal frames, two 7′-high candy canes flank a walkway while their connecting arch invites guests to pass beneath an illuminated red tinsel bow.86209_300x300

Add Yuletide mirth to an indoor or protected outdoor display with this pre-lit Darth Vadar Santa. Decked out with a crimson stocking cap that transforms the Sith Lord into an impressive—most impressive—likeness of Saint Nick, he is lit with a small galaxy of 50 incandescent mini-bulbs. An activated lightsaber reminds visitors his seasonal holiday bearing should not be mistaken for permanent affability.

For a more traditional look, The Lighted Holiday Horse Drawn Sleigh84050_300x300 evokes the “one-horse open sleigh” dashing famously through the snow. The 6-ft. long trotting horse and its trailing sleigh are strung with 270 long-lasting bulbs and sculpted with lifelike details, including the horse’s silky tinsel mane, perked ears, and raised hoof.

Plan your display now and maximize your enjoyment of the holiday season’s unique gifts of fun, fellowship and friendly competition.

Unique Gifts to Inspire the Inner Mixologist

Among the many holiday traditions, enjoying a celebratory libation with family and friends ranks high on most people’s list. We especially appreciate (and secretly envy) the mixologist whose spirits are always precisely measured, artfully displayed in the proper glass, and served with diamond-clear ice. In this “spirit” of the holidays, Hammacher Schlemmer offers unique gifts to toast a favorite barkeep or to perhaps inspire your own inner mixologist.

Recalling the covert cocktail shakers developed during prohibition, this Art-Dec86799A_300x300o airplane shaker surreptitiously serves up chilled libations. The fuselage-shaped shaker rests horizontally on the winged stand with two propellers, evoking an executive’s desk ornament. At the launch of happy hour, the fuselage removes from the stand, and its rounded Art Deco lid opens for adding your favored cocktail’s ingredients.

For imbibers who prefer to enjoy their spirits neat, The Spirits Aerator instantly enhances the aroma and flavor of scotch, cognac, brandy, and other fine libations. Along these same lines, The Non-Diluting Whisky Cold Stones keep distilled spirits chilled without watering down the flavor as melting ice does. Two stones can lower the temperature of a 3-oz. pour by as much as 25 degrees, and keep the liquid cool for a half hour.

12540_300x300On occasion, the home bartender may want to relax and just enjoy his own cocktail party. Enter The Robotic Bartender. This is the computerized mixologist like those found at country clubs, stadium luxury suites, and fine hotels that automatically makes perfect cocktails at the touch of a button. The touchscreen interface allows users to select drink categories or start by choosing a spirit, and it searches its 600-drink database for matching cocktails. The unit holds spirits and mixers, ice, and even a built-in garnish tray that keeps blue cheese olives and lemon twists close at hand.