Category Archives: Summer

Take Our Cue…Unique Gifts for Dad’s Barbecue, That Is!

Smokin’ low and slow is the way to go for dear ol’ Dad this Father’s Day. It’s the endless quest for finger-licking, bone-sucking BBQ, good enough to make everyone’s mouth water.88539_1000x1000

We suggest Dad start slow and easy, with a meat marinade or dry rub ideal for smoking. The Only Kettle Grill Smoker Converter turns an ordinary kettle grill into a smoking pit, so Dad can cook his meats to juicy, pink perfection. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the insert rests atop a grill’s charcoal grate and provides a perforated platform for briquettes, woodchips, and water to work together to generate a dense, flavorful smoke.88516_1000x1000

Dad’s carefully planned ballet of rubbed meat and slow smoke can be monitored with timed, digital precision using The Smartphone Alerting Barbecue Thermometer. This device lets dad monitor his brisket while playing a game of softball, taking Mom for a stroll, or engaging in a game of lawn darts. The wireless transmitter sends real-time data to an iPad/iPhone app or Android app, alerting the cook when a pre-selected temperature or optimal cooking range is reached…Dad relaxes and has fun with the family in the meantime.88310_1000x100087471_1000x1000

And for the finest 14-hour smoked brisket that may take Dad into the hours past sunset, The Best Cordless Grill Light lets him baste his rib roast and plate those succulent unique gifts of burnt ends for the family soirée. This light earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the brightest, most expansive light and was the only model with a timer.

Perhaps the Dad in your life is not one for manning the grill. No problem…we have plenty of other ideas for the perfect Father’s Day present. Our easy-to-use, online Father’s Day Gift Guide is available to help you choose just the right unique gifts for him.

Plant the Seeds for a Great Garden

Do plants wither just from your glance? Do cactuses die from neglect under your care? You might be afflicted with a chronic brown thumb. We have some suggestions to help turn that brown thumb green…soon you, too, can enjoy the unique gifts of nature’s bounty and be the envy of the neighborhood.87084_1000x1000

Start with this easy-growing vertical garden. It displays five planters in only four sq. ft. of outdoor space and is set on casters for easy relocation. Ideal for balconies, patios and decks, the garden’s vertical post supports two large and three small pots for growing herbs, vegetables and flowers. The pots are at staggered heights to maximize sun exposure and each planter has drain holes to prevent overwatering…the common gardening mistake that sends many plants to an untimely end.88489_1000x1000

Like many brown-thumb gardeners, you may have no problem growing lush patches of dandelions, crabgrass and creeping thistle. This lawn and garden steamer helps control common weeds with ordinary tap water rather than harmful chemicals or backbreaking labor. A squeeze of the steamer’s trigger unleashes a weed-wilting blast of super-heated steam. With just a 5-10 second treatment, unwanted vegetation immediately discolors and shrivels, then dies in 24-48 hours. This steamer makes the ideal unique gift for any organic gardener, too.84647_1000x1000

Proper, deep watering in the heat of summer will keep both your garden and your lawn looking good. The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute tested leading lawn sprinklers and this model earned The Best rating because it watered the largest area and was the easiest to use. It was the easiest to connect, thanks to a specially designed adapter that attaches to a hose and simply plugs into the sprinkler without twisting. A built-in timer can automatically turn the sprinkler off after five minutes to two hours of watering.

You can also promote your green-thumb status by following the basic rules of gardening: pay attention to how much light specific plant varieties need. If the tag says “full sun”, don’t put that plant under a tree. Water deeply to promote root growth, but with less frequency. And use a good organic, time-release fertilizer to ensure your plants get the vitamins and minerals they need. Be good to them and they’ll reward you with the unique gifts of steady growth all summer long.

Unique Toys for Imaginative Play

Kids are born copy-cats. When children play at imitating adults, it’s more than just cute…it’s an important step in cognitive development, helping a child learn traditions, customs, and socialization.

That’s why unique gifts for children are so often designed around adult professions or hobbies. Hammacher Schlemmer has a selection of toys to entertain kids for hours, while exposing them to creative, imaginative play.86458_1000x1000

The littlest grease monkeys will be thrilled by this little car engine. It lets aspiring mechanics pop the hood, change the oil, and tinker with the engine. With a removable cowling, spark plugs, wing nuts and other lifelike car components, children can practice testing the brakes, changing the air filter, and using the dipstick to check the oil levels. The car has a working horn and headlights, and the set comes with a screwdriver, wrench, and other tools sized to fit little hands. 86931_1000x1000

What better unique gift for a child during BBQ season than this kid-sized replica of the classic Weber kettle grill. Young grill masters fire up creativity when they add plastic briquettes and light them with the included “lighter” that makes authentic clicking sounds. The charcoals emit a red glow of burning embers and make sounds that simulate crackling charcoal. Children can grill the included porterhouse steak, jumbo prawn, salmon steak, and vegetables, just like mom and dad.12500_1000x1000

This toy farmers’ market stand comes stocked with fruits and vegetables to teach young growers and shoppers about local sourcing and healthy eating. Appropriately sized for little customers and vendors, the shaded market stall is made from colorfully painted wood and includes nine removable plastic bins and a selection of “fresh” produce. The cheerful striped awning reverses to convert to a lemonade stand.

Of all unique gifts for a child, the best thing you can give them is the gift of your time. Be there for the children in your life, side-by-side, letting them learn from the most mundane “adult” activities you do every day.

Gentlemen, Start Your Burners!

It’s time to fire up the grill! Properly done, grilling is a healthy way of cooking. Fats drip off meat, plus the high heat of this method helps grilled meats and veggies alike retain more vitamins. That’s a unique gift we’ll accept any time!

No wonder 80 percent of American homes own a grill or smoker. And while summer is the most popular time for a barbeque, about 60 percent of backyard chefs report using their grills year ‘round. So if you’re looking for unique gifts for a homeowner, a grill accessory is practically a sure bet.83709_1000x1000

To maintain grilling as a healthy method of cooking, the grates should be kept clean of carbon deposits. This grill-cleaning robot automatically cleans your grates, removing burned-on bits of food and grease in just a few passes. The device can be set to operate for 10, 20 or 30 minutes, so you can get an extra-deep cleaning for the first barbeque of the season, or following a steak-heavy Father’s Day meat fest.88516_1000x1000

Freeing the grillmaster to relax or fraternize, this innovative thermometer wirelessly sends alerts to a smartphone or a tablet. Unlike typical thermometers that require personal inspection, this model’s wireless transmitter sends real-time data to an iPhone/iPad or Android app from 160′ away, alerting you when a pre-selected temperature is reached. Its water-resistant transmitter receives data from the probes and transmits directly to the smart device. It works brilliantly in an indoor oven, too.87471_1000x1000

Those who grill all year long likely do their share of cooking after sunset…and here’s the ideal unique gift for those folks. This cordless grill light earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the brightest, most expansive light and was the only model with a timer. The Best model has 18 LEDs that produce crisp light six times brighter than lesser models. Its beam illuminates the cooking surface and a grill’s side table simultaneously. This light can be mounted to any vertical, horizontal or angled surface.

Memorial Day—one of the most popular days for grilling—will be here in less than three weeks. If you’ve not yet dusted off your favorite kettle cooker, flat top grill or smoker, now’s the time. Fill the propane tank or stock up on charcoal and get ready for the wonderful aromas and delicious flavors of outdoor cooking.

Make Summertime Livin’ Easy

Have you logged some lounging around time yet this summer? Whether by a pool, on a beach, or simply in the backyard, doing nothing in the great outdoors is one of the unique gifts of summer.

As we launch into August, it’s prime time for beach bums and we have some recommendations for lounge chairs that will add to the pleasure of a proper afternoon of delicious laziness. 12425_300x300

This is the lounger that does everything while you do nothing…and it does it all powered by the sun. The Solar Powered Entertainment Lounger features built-in misters, speakers, and a USB charging port. Two solar panels on each side of the chair’s base provide power for all the extensive entertainment features. A control pad on the armrest reclines or raises the back and the fingertip-adjustable nozzles atop each armrest emit a refreshing mist. Integrated Bose speakers sync wirelessly with any Bluetooth-enabled device. 87254_300x300

This all-weather lounger folds into an extended cube for easy storage. The lounger’s aluminum frame splits into two wedge-shaped sections that stack to form a box. The box can also serve as a convenient end table for a patio, deck or a sun room when the outdoor season has passed, and its comfortable one-piece, 2″-thick cushion folds and stores inside the box. 84738_300x300

Recommended by physical therapists, the Ergonomic Beach Lounger provides optimal support and comfort while you lie on your back or stomach. Available exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer, it has three pillows engineered to relieve spinal pressure and provide support. A massage-table style face opening allows you to lie prone and read in comfort without neck strain. The built-in canopy tilts to provide customizable shade. This lounger would make an ideal unique gift for any avid reader who loves being outdoors.

So go ahead and indulge in some lounge time. Come winter’s first flakes, you won’t regret it one bit.

Dive into Summer Enjoyment with Pool Toys

Kids just love to swim. But come mid- summer, even a child aqua maniac may be getting a tad bored. It’s time to kick it up a notch by adding some unique gifts to your pool or favorite swimming hole.

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These pool toys will add playfulness, fun and friendly competition to your family’s aquatic pastimes, adding to memories of enjoying summer around the pool.

Here’s a four-person paddleball set with wearable, waterproof paddles. The four lightweight paddles slip over any size hand like a glove. Both the paddles and ball float, preventing deep dives to retrieve equipment. The game also can be played on land without a net, table, or court. 84646_300x300

Evoking a favorite carnival game, this floating pool version challenges two competitors to displace six plastic balls with integrated squirt cannons. The first player to eject all six balls from a cylinder wins. The game is ready to go in just minutes, following inflation with an air pump. 84898_300x300

For hoops fans, this swimming pool basketball hoop extends your play time beyond sunset. It includes an integrated LED backboard light that provides a reliable shooting target at night. The impact-resistant, structural poly-resin backboard is weatherproof, even in harsh weather…not that we recommend pool use in those conditions. 12210_300x300

Should you find yourself trying to amuse an entire summer camp of languorous kids, this floating raceway course challenges up to 60 participants at a time to navigate its obstacles, balancing, jumping, climbing and crawling.

We all know how quickly summer goes. Be sure to maximize the unique gifts of the season with all this pool fun.

Banish Summer Boredom with Busy-ness

Just as there’s no crying in baseball, there should be no boredom in summer. And to that point, July is National Anti-Boredom Month.

We adults never get bored in summer. There’s always a way to put to use nature’s unique gifts of warmth and sunshine…a lawn to be mowed, a car to be washed, and if we’re lucky, a book to be read under a tree. We’ll fill every minute of these long summer days.

Kids are another story. Without the diversions of school and homework, with friends away at camp or visiting relatives, many a child has complained during summer break that there’s nothing to do. We have some suggestions for summer child’s play, items that would make for much-appreciated unique gifts for any child and their harried parents. 87067_300x300

Fight a tween’s or teen’s ennui with a new variation of a sport they likely already love. The Sidewinding Circular Skates are propelled by leaning side to side, letting the rider glide along as if riding a skateboard without pushing off the ground. Since the wheels are not connected, riders can easily perform 720° spins and turn on a dime. The skates include a connector rod that helps shorten the learning curve for using these unusual skates.
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A whole gaggle of younger kids can be kept busy with this airplane-shaped teeter totter that holds up to seven children at once. A child at each wingtip provides the up-and-down rocking motion. A full flight adds three children sitting in the fuselage with one on each stabilizer at the tail – at its maximum capacity of 600 lbs., the teeter totter remains perfectly balanced. 84057_300x300

Finally, because every summer includes some rainy days, may we suggest Kitchen Table Tennis. Not only does this set include everything you need to turn a dining table or kitchen island into a playing surface, it also reverses to reveal chess, checkers and backgammon boards.

Shake Summer Thirst and Beat the Heat

The peak of summer has arrived. Though many parts of the country have been logging below-normal temperatures this season, hot times and summer in the city are sure to hit us all soon. Here are some unique gifts that will help you keep your cool and stay hydrated with icy beverages.

84432_300x300On the warmest days, you’ll delight kids and adults alike with this machine that makes carnival-worthy snow cones. Its stainless steel blades automatically shave ice cubes into thin, fluffy slivers that, topped with your favorite flavored syrup or beverage, make for a refreshing treat.

76682_300x300Sweet tea is favored for its ice-cold sweetness on sweltering summer days. Our iced tea brewing machine makes up to two quarts of this iconic Dixieland refreshment that originated in the late 19th century. The brewer automatically steeps tea at the proper temperature for optimal flavor extraction and adds your preferred amount of sugar.

11255_300x300Somehow, soft drinks always seem colder out of an old-fashioned soda chest. This authentically detailed replica of the Westinghouse Junior Coca-Cola cooler combines all the hallmarks of the original with modern refrigeration technology. The side-mounted bottle opener and cap catcher, swiveling wheels, and lid chain recall the ubiquitous self-serve chests favored by mom-and-pop stores in the 1930s. The interior holds up to 80 12-oz. cans or 60 8-oz. bottles of your preferred beverage.

Once you have that Coke in hand, you’ll want it to stay cold. We offer several styles of chill-maintaining glassware. The double-walled glasses have a viscous cooling liquid between both layers that freezes in one hour, enabling the glasses to keep a beverage chilled between 32° F and 36° F for 30 minutes or chill a room-temperature libation to 36° F in just 2.5 minutes. These hand-blown glasses would make an ideal and unique gift for a housewarming or as a hostess gift for any summer party.

So enjoy these hot days while we have them. Keeping a cold drink close at hand will help you feel more comfortable all summer long.

Simple Tips for the Best Backyard BBQ

On the subject of friendly neighborhood competitions, the question came up on how to throw a better backyard barbecue.

There are fundamentals that should be observed, of course. If you’re serving steaks, buy the best cut you can afford. Better yet, grill a roast. A simple formula of 15 minutes per pound will yield a beautiful medium-rare presentation, and you can relax a bit and enjoy your guests and the unique gifts of their camaraderie while the meat cooks.

79824_300x300The flavor of your roast, as well as pretty much any meat, fish or fowl, can be made even better with smoke. This wood chip smoker box generates taste-enhancing smoke without producing flames, resulting in a more concentrated, robust flavor.

Try not to use lighter fluid to avoid a chemical after-taste on the food. If you’re using charcoal instead of a gas grill, light the coals using a chimney-style starter. Not only will the food taste better, this method is better for the environment, too.

86925_300x300To keep uncooked meats chilled till the coals are ready or to keep cold side dishes chilled until serving time, this food-chilling platter is ideal for BBQs, buffets, or picnics. The unit’s removable stainless steel platter is chilled by an included freezer pack that keeps cold meats, cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, sushi, or desserts chilled below 45° F for 50 minutes. Its plastic lid ensures protection from insects both indoors and out.

To throw a great backyard barbecue, you’ll need plenty of ice on hand for drinks and coolers. This portable ice maker earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most efficient at producing ice. This model’s 1.8 lbs.-per-hour output was 80% more efficient than other models. The Best model also produced its first batch of clear, well-formed cubes in just under 10 81846A_300x300minutes.

Finally, make sure your guests won’t be eaten alive by mosquitoes. The One Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap lures pesky skeeters within one-acre by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration. You can give your friends and family the unique gift of an evening under the stars, without the next day’s itchy reminders of uninvited flying pests.

Let the Mid-Summer Games Begin!

At last, summer has arrived! Celebrate these mid-summer nights with bacchanalian block parties, bonfires, and friendly competitions among family, friends, and neighbors. With our unique gift ideas, you can plan a neighborhood competition on a grand scale: your block vs. the next street over. Here are some truly different ideas to help you “settle the score” with as much fun as possible.12120_300x300

This inflatable human bowling game challenges players to assume the “roll” of the ball in knocking down a set of pins. A player simply runs forward inside the 7-foot ball, generating momentum to knock over six foam pins that yield easily at the point of collision.

12683_300x300Buy the world’s longest backyard water slide and you’ll get a 76′-long slipping, sloshing ride for children and adults. Buy two and you can have downhill, side-by-side wet slide races. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, three inflatable segments fit together to form a run that works optimally on declines when a garden hose wets the slide. The slider is deposited at the end of a run into a 10′-long catch pool, which can be left off when the run ends in a lake or pond.

12412_300x300Should the whole neighborhood turn out, you may need extra seats. This is the inflatable outdoor sofa that provides instant, comfortable seating for up to 30 guests. The sofa inflates via the included air pump in just minutes and provides a firm yet comfortable place for party goers to relax and converse during a block party, family reunion or a Gatsbyesque summer soiree.

12110_300x300As evening falls, party-goers can gather ‘round this handcrafted replica of the fire pit displayed at the Athletes’ Village during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The distinctive globe-shaped design, with cutouts in the shapes of the continents, evokes the international spirit of the Olympics and served as a gathering place for competitors from around the world. It makes a great centerpiece for awarding medals to your block party games’ winners or for the presentation of unique gifts to the neighbors.