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Sway Away – It’s Hammock Day!

There may be no other item that better symbolizes a summer afternoon than a hammock. And fittingly, tomorrow is National Hammock Day!

The hammock was originally developed by natives of Central and South America for sleeping elevated above the ground. The hammock provided protection from snakes, biting insects and other tropical creatures, giving rainforest dwellers the unique gifts of a good night’s sleep. Today, we use hammocks simply to enjoy the unique gifts of a lazy afternoon.

The best way to celebrate National Hammock Day is to while away substantial amounts of time in one. If you don’t already have a hammock, we are happy to suggest some styles that will complement y72116_300x300our porch, deck or garden.87255_300x300

A great addition to any backyard is The Pawleys Island Hammock — the sturdiest, most durable and most well-made you’ll find anywhere. It’s handcrafted on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, the ancestral home of Captain Joshua Ward, who designed the original in the late 1880s. Unlike ordinary hammocks, it is woven instead of knotted, and contains twice as much rope as most models.12664_300x300

Nothing spoils an outdoor lie-me-down faster than pesky flies and mosquitos. This hammock is covered by a canopy with four sides comprised of super-fine, nylon netting that keeps out flying insects while still allowing cooling cross breezes. The roof provides shade and prevents light rain from entering your personal oasis.

You’ll likely have more fun than rest in this Paul Bunyan-sized hammock that comfortably accommodates a herd of children, five 200-lb. adults or a single oversized axe-wielding woodsman. It supports up to 1,000 lbs. and spans a size larger than two king-sized mattresses.12452_300x300

Finally, if your style is more on-the-go, this dual hammock sets up on a trailer hitch, giving you a place to relax in a reclined position, adding an element of comfort to any tailgate party. The hammock chairs hang from a three-piece stand that assembles and attaches to any 2″ trailer hitch in just 10 minutes. And then, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the unique gifts of that lazy afternoon.

Banish Bugs with the Three “B”s

The summer’s storm season has renewed its annual deluge of rainfall nationwide—a unique gift of nature for most, but sometimes a harbinger of pesky mosquitoes for others.

If sharing your space or your life-giving bodily fluids with biting insects is a turn-off, there are three ways to combat these flying pests: block them, bait them, or blast them!

87255_300x300Blocking these determined blood suckers offers the most gentle approach, so we offer these unique gifts for those who feel that insects need to eat, too. One can seek refuge within The Mosquito Thwarting Hammock, an enclosure that fits over an integrated hammock and allows cross breezes to keep you cool while mosquitoes are losing theirs, unable to access your person. For the active gardener or mosquito-season outdoors adventurer, we offer mosquito thwarting apparel made from 1.2-mm netting that blocks pests without the need for harmful chemicals.

81846_300x300Those who prefer a more passive-aggressive approach may consider The One Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap, which lures mosquitoes 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.

87134_300x300When one will not countenance the wearing of nets nor suffer the fixture of a trap in the yard, we offer perhaps the most unique gift for the would-be mosquito slayer: The Bug Blasting Blunderbuss. It requires a steady aim (as well as the unshakable trust of one onto whom an insect has alighted), but if delivered within two feet, the salty discharge from this skeeter scattergun will obliterate even those species rumored to stand flat-footed at 3′-tall.

Blocking, bait, or blasting — these three methods and the products that provide them will at least create the perception that you have taken the annual mosquito abatement chore seriously.

Is This the Year You’ll Win it All?

There are two ways to enjoy the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which begins today.

The first is to simply appreciate the young players’ unique gifts of athleticism, the coaches’ leadership and the pure excitement of viewing one game after another over the next three weeks. But our favorite way is to craft a bracket and be captivated by the suspense of how far you’ll go in the office pool and by the dream that this could be the year you win it all.

Here are some bracketology tips to help you build your bracket with winning picks:

  • Don’t pick a team seeded lower than four to win – sure, a school with a low seed could always be a Cinderella spoiler, but this comes down to simple odds. In the tournament’s history, there have only been three years in which a number 1 seed didn’t advance to the Final Four.
  • Look for experienced teams and coaches – statistically, nearly all winning teams played in the previous year’s tournament and nearly all of the winning coaches have been to the Big Dance at least five times.
  • Power conferences do better – generally, the winner comes from the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big East, the Big 12, the Pac-12 or the SEC.
  • High-scoring teams – winning teams have typically scored an average of 77 points or better in games and won their games by at least 10 points.
  • Momentum matters – Look at how a team has done late in season rather than their overall record. And put more weight on teams’ away games records. After all, the Big Dance is actually a series of away games.

If you’re not the gambling type, we have some other unique gift ideas to help you and your friends enjoy basketball at this time of the year when talk of the game is everywhere.

Become a better player yourself with this shot-improving basketball 86797_300x300 featuring built-in motion sensors that provide instant, accurate feedback about one’s shooting and ball-handling skills. This basketball immediately sends data for every shot and dribble to an app running on a smartphone. The app then offers more than 50 goal-based drills for individual practice and competitions for up to five players.

83898_300x300For play that’s more about pleasant diversion, this indoor basketball net automatically passes made baskets back to the shooter who can reload and take another shot. The chute swivels 180°, allowing players to set the direction of the ball return. The unit hangs over a door and includes a foam basketball.

87227_300x300Finally, for the obsessed basketball fan, this is a unique gift they’ll surely love. This fanciful hoopster’s mug has an integrated miniature basketball hoop that lets kids of all ages play with their food. Players can face off in games of hot chocolate H.O.R.S.E. using marshmallows, slam dunk cereal into milk, or launch three pointers of oyster crackers into soup.

World Cup Having a Rio Good Time

During the past month, 32 teams from around the globe came together in Brazil to thrill sports fans worldwide in the 20th FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. And today, it comes down to the final match between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. The two teams are no strangers to World Cup victories, with five wins between them.

Following the host country’s crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-final, one may find it hard to believe that Brazil, with five championships, has won more World Cup titles than any other nation since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Spain, the champions of the last Cup in 2010, didn’t fare well at all this go-round, failing to advance beyond the 32-team round-robin.

The World Cup is the most widely watch sporting event on Earth, exceeding the viewership of the Olympics, the World Series, and even the Super Bowl. Although Team U.S.A. advanced only as far as the round of 16, their performance has resulted in a surge of the sport’s popularity in our country. Viewing parties in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia drew crowds beyond organizers’ dreams. Major League Soccer games have seen a bump in attendance following enthusiasm over the Cup.

The game, of course, has been popular with the nation’s youth for decades. Training techniques have advanced, meaning the U.S. should be a contender in future World Cups to come. If your family includes young future soccer stars who show a unique gift for playing the game, The Ball Returning Soccer Trainer is a two-in-one net that lets a player spend more time perfecting his or her game and less time retrieving balls. When a ball is kicked into the center area, it follows an upward arc before it rebounds with spin and height, requiring the player to trap and control the ball before taking the next kick.

For backyard football fun, nothing beats The Giant 40″ Personalized Soccer Ball. At five times the size of a regulation soccer ball, this inflatable ball is suited for players of less gargantuan proportions. It can also be played with in the pool. Personalize it with a 25-character message printed on one of the panels.

Ultimately, in today’s final match the team that combines the unique gifts of scoring prowess and fancy footwork will prevail. And the whole world will be watching.

Feel the Thrill of Victory When You Find Unique Gifts for Dad

On this day in 1961, ABC’s Wide World of Sports premiered its debut broadcast. Through its 45-year run, many a Saturday afternoon was whiled away with Dad savoring the thrill of victory and grimacing over the agony of defeat.

The show’s first broadcast featured two track and field events, the Penn Relay in Philadelphia, PA, and the Drake Relay from Des Moines, IA. These events helped define the format of the program, which was to showcase sports that usually did not get television coverage in the pre-ESPN days, with a diverse list of events including surfing, curling, badminton and even cliff diving.

Initially intended to be a summer fill-in program until the fall football season began, Wide World of Sports became unexpectedly popular. The show was the first to televise events that are widely watched today, such as the Indianapolis 500 and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.Instant Badminton Court

Today, Dads are just as likely to participate in many of the Wide World-worthy sports as they are to be the armchair athlete. So, as Father’s Day approaches and you ponder unique gift ideas for dad, know that Hammacher.com is spanning the globe to find unique gifts for him.

For the marathon man, The Runner’s Speaker Vest features built-in speakers that allow runners and walkers alike to listen to music while staying aware of their surroundings. A front pocket accommodates a smartphone or music player. The nylon mesh vest includes reflective fluorescent strips on the front and back to alert drivers to your presence making this a safety minded unique gift for dad.

Badminton is a sport that can be fiercely competitive or slow-paced and gentle enough to be enjoyed by almost all ages. The Instant Badminton Court lets a spontaneous game break out on a whim. The easy-to-set-up, freestanding net creates an instant court on a lawn, driveway, beach or any flat surface. This unique gift for dad includes four rackets and two shuttlecocks.

And for the road warrior who won’t let a busy travel schedule get in the way of getting in shape, The Briefcase Fitness Center is the portable gym that provides a rigorous, full-body workout yet folds to the size of a briefcase. A Hammacher exclusive, the compact gym makes a great unique gift for dad. It’s small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin or store under a bed but contains everything needed for intense aerobic, strength, and circuit training. The all-in-one gym includes access to an online fitness community for sharing tips, participating in live sessions with personal trainers, and tracking goals and progress.