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A white gift tag reading HAMMER MUSEUM on a yellow background

Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Hammer Staff Picks

– By Hammer Museum Staff

As 2021 nears its end, it's time to gift our loved ones things they deserve for enduring the last couple of years. Per tradition, we've asked our staff for things they've found in the store that have brought them joy- hopefully these too will bring you and your loved ones joy, if only temporarily. And you can find plenty more beautiful and carefully-selected objects on the Hammer Store website!

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Le Feu de L'eau Candle

A pink candle sits next to a cardboard box that has the text "Le Feu de L'eau - Le Feu Peche" on it.

"Artfully crafted with a one-of-a-kind, top-secret, process, Le Feu de L'eau candles cultivate a special vibe. It translates to 'the fire of water,' (dubbed after their unique underwater formation) the countless scents they offer can transport you from the French countryside to the smoky hills of an exotic locale you didn't even know existed. Take my advice, save yourself a masked airplane ride and buy one of these breathtaking candles instead."

—Kyndal McLyn, Hammer Store Clerk

The Art of Simple Food II

A book cover with the text 'Alice Waters. The Art of Simple Food II. Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden."

"In The Art of Simple Food II, Chef Alice Waters shares some of her favorite recipes for different produce in the order of their growing seasons. She also provides gardening tips, including growing from seed and even vermicomposting! Alice encourages the reader to try growing their own fruits, herbs, or vegetables. 'Plant wherever you are.' says Alice. This is a wonderful book for someone looking to start a garden or learn how to cook good, simple food."

—Angeline Sun, HR Specialist

Children's Books

A book cover with the text 'Tove Jansson. The Book About Moomin, Mymble, and Little My. Enfant."

"The Hammer Store's collection of beautiful and charming kid's books, pruned as painstakingly as a bonsai tree to yield maximum delight, is my go-to when shopping for my two-year-old. The gems we've discovered on these shelves have opened her mind to new vistas of consciousness and jabbed fruitlessly at my own sluggish synapses. Here are some of our favorites:

Tove Jansson's The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My and Who Will Comfort Toffle? are a lovely introduction to the magical Nordic world of Moominvalley, where I myself spent many a prelapsarian afternoon as a child, reading about Moomintrolls, Fillyjonks, Hattifatteners, and all manner of warm-hearted Scandinavery. Illustrated in Jansson's unmistakable style and translated into English by poet Sophie Hannah, the books are lyrical and enchanting for kids of all ages. Toffle in particular has become a naptime staple; matter of fact, it's the reason my darling daughter is asleep as I write this, and not sneezing directly into my face.

We've only recently come to know Kaya Doi's Chirri & Chirra series, but the eponymous tykes - a pair of identical, bicycle-riding little girls - have already pedaled their ways into our hearts. The stories are simple, but they give you everything you wanted in a story when you were five: the girls discover an enchanting new place, gorge themselves on treats, find some hidden treasure, and ride back home. Nothing bad or scary ever happens. Doi's illustrations, rendered in delicate colored pencil, give each book a dreamlike quality, and the paper feels like damn butter in your hands."

—Philip Leers, Project Manager, Digital Initiatives

Amber Pour Over Carafe

Orange, glass, tall, hourglass-shaped carafe.

"The Amber Pour Over Carafe has become part of my daily coffee routine as well as a beautifying piece in my coffee bar. It is just so cute and functional, I also really like that I can use it with multiple filter types! This carafe brought a pop of color to my living room, now I am turning into a total coffee connoisseur. So easy to use and clean. Love this piece."

—Flor Campillo, Associate, Development Events

Hammer Enamel Mug

Cream colored mug with the text 'Hammer' on it.

"I have been using my Hammer enamel mug for my tea almost everyday and I love it. It is sturdy, but lightweight and not fragile like a ceramic mug. It's good for hot and cold drinks, and is even wide enough to hold snacks or yogurt. Would make an especially great gift for someone who likes camping or hiking because it is easy to take along."

—Eliza McDonough, Assistant, Director's Office

"This mug has been with me through everything - from late-night studying to early-morning camping, it keeps my drinks warm and keeps me cozy. Through it all, it hasn't endured a single scratch - I recommend it for its reliability and comfort."

—Sachi Cooper, Student Educator

Three packaged Good Mix Bar chocolate bars arranged like a fan

"As an extremely picky eater but also avid chocolate lover, I've had fun trying out all the different chocolate bars we sell at the store, and
Good Mix Chocolate Bar has become one of my favorites. It's a dark chocolate bar with a mix of nuts and seeds and other flavors like vanilla and sea salt that just melt in your mouth. The bar itself is a good size too, not too small and more than satisfying."

-Hailey Rosenblum, Hammer Store Clerk

Dub: Finding Ceremony

A book cover with the text 'Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Dub: Finding Ceremony."

" The book Dub: Finding Ceremony by Alexis Pauline Gumbs is exquisite and brought me to tears. It was a healing experience and it felt like my own ancestors were talking to me. A favorite quote of mine from the book is, 'When you think it's time to come up for air, go deeper. When you think your heart will break, stay there, stay with it. But at the same time, when you think you gotta hold onto something (like who you think you are), let go.'"

—Jasmine Alvarez, Emerging Museum Educator Fellow


Two golden hoop earrings, one with a crescent moon charm and the other with a star charm.

"In medieval cosmology, the Empyrean was the place of the highest heaven. The Empyrean Hoops by jewelry maker While Odin Sleeps are a classic hoop with added iconography of the night sky. The earrings measure 1.2" in diameter and feature gold-plated crescent moon and star charms. These will make for the perfect accessory as my family makes a toast with a warm glass of Glögg in celebration of the Swedish winter solstice Santa Lucia Day. Skål!"

—Melissa Swafford, Hammer Store Clerk

"I love a minimalist look for my jewelry, so I regularly check in to see what's new in the Hammer Store. Even with a collection of earrings as impressive as ours, there is one golden pair that stands out like a tree at the center of the cosmos. Or rather, like a one-eyed god of war and poetry. I like to imagine the day the first pair of these earrings were made Huginn and Munin flew back and told the Allfather that humanity had peaked - in these dainty brass earrings us mere mortals had finally found the perfect accessory. As someone who is rarely outside without a plain gold hoop hanging from my ears, I particularly love the added touch of the sun and moon. Lightweight? Reasonably sized? Crafted with skills that surpass those of Wayland the Smith? You bet. Put these on and I dare you to not walk with the confidence of Freyja herself."

—Tara Burns, Specialist, Family & K-12 Audiences

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

A book cover with a painting of a blonde woman in glasses holding two trays of food in front of a barn. Text is on the cover that says 'Food Rules: An Eaters Manual. Michael Pollan. Illustrations by Maria Kalman."

"Now more than ever, the urgent need to reconsider how we eat and make healthy choices in service of body, mind, and spirit calls to many. To help, this simple resource by American author and journalist, Michael Pollan, helps guide individuals on this important journey, transforming our ways of eating. This conscientious approach to food can be extended to all aspects of our lives - how we live, how we manage limited resources, how we can leave the world in a better place for the future generations to come. Incredible illustrations by Maria Kalman make the journey all the more enjoyable and fun. Happy holidays."

—Linda Yun, Registrar, Exhibitions

Bonne Maison Socks

Two cream colored socks with various sized sunflower pattern on them.

"I was struck with excitement and joy when I walked passed the store and saw these wonderful Bonne Maison sunflower socks hanging on display! Without question, I took a sharp turn into the store and immediately bought them for myself. I wore them the next day and felt an extra bounce in my step throughout the day. I was stoked to see how many more unique designs were available too, and thought these would make perfect gifts! I'll definitely be matching a design for each of my loved ones' personalities for the upcoming holidays."

—Alberto Keossian, Visitor Experience Assistant

Key Tags

Four blue metallic keytags with key rings. From top to bottom, they state "My place," "Your place," "No boyfriend no problem," "XOXOXO"

"These keychains are really fun. I myself don't have enough keys to carry around a keychain, but I bought one anyway. I put it on a silver necklace and wore it for a while. I thought the 'XOXOXO' was fun and flirty and said something about my personality. Stylish enough for your keys - or even your neck. Not every keychain can say that. Don't fret, however, if your personality is not fun and flirty. There are enough options to run the gamut from sardonic to silly. 'My Place,' 'Your Place,' 'No Boyfriend, No Problem.' They're all here. I wholeheartedly recommend the purchase of these keychains to all who are in need of a keychain."

—Lionel Deatherage, Visitor Experience Lead

Norden Candles

Glazed, grey, ceramic cup with black speckles.

"I've never bought a candle before but the pandemic changed everything. The twinkling light and soothing scent of a candle kept me company. Norden's candle radiates a scent that soothes and offers solace at the end of my day. A candle presence can help ritualize the time I read and write. Norden's candle also comes in a nice glazed ceramic cup that makes me look forward to turning it into my next tea mug."

—Gabriel Noguez, Senior Media Producer

Nopalera: Noche Clara Cactus Soap

A black box with an image of a woman with a cactus plant on top of her head, standing in front of the sun. Text on the box says "Nopalera Cactus Soap. 4 oz. Noche Clara. Charcoal. 11%."

"It’s 7:34 pm on a Thursday. Driving down Culver Blvd. at 12 mph with Orville Peck’s version of 'Unchained Melody' playing on your Spotify, you slow-pan to a foggy scene of flashing red lights and an overturned car in the wetlands. Earlier that day, you drove past a dog’s remains on the 110, and had been thinking about the precarity and precariousness of life all day. You were driving with a faint rotten stench this entire time. You pulled over, checked your car interior, checked the soles of your Solovair boots, and there you found coyote dung caked in between the ridges (and a little bit of mud on your French painter’s coat that’s 34 years shy of being a century old). It must have happened during your walk up those Silver Lake hills that afternoon. Driving off, now with the windows down, the faint stench in your car is now mixed with crisp cold air, and whatever fumes the Hyperion plant was giving off. It didn’t make sense to scream, but you’ve been dying to wash the entire city off your body. You took refuge in the heat of the water trickling down your chest and your back. You picked up your bar of Nopalera Noche Clara cactus soap with activated charcoal and eucalyptus and sage oils, you rubbed it between your palms, and as you worked up a lather, you inhaled. Deep. Your tiredness prevented you from scrubbing, but the soap doesn’t require you to. The activated charcoal will scrub for you. Face wash seemed like a bother, but Nopalera is gentle enough for the face. You got out of the shower, body still slick, you put on a robe, laid down at the edge of your bed and just stared at a wall. You forgot to moisturize, you thought, but thankfully, the cactus soap does not dry you out. Breathing in sage and eucalyptus, you eventually dozed off, tucked inside the blurred space and time within your robe."

—Ramon Espinosa, Lead Sales/Social Media, Hammer Store

Great Reads

Screenshot of the Hammer Museum Store Homepage on

"Need a book and want to feel good about your purchase? supports local, independent bookstores without having to leave the comfort of your home. And the Hammer Store has an awesome selection of books, with thousands of titles to choose from. So kick back, put on those sweats, and order away!"

—Sara Beattie, Store Operations Manager