Well, the results of the latest survey show that rampant hugging is sweeping the world! Okay, so we made that part up, but there’s no doubting that hugs are good for you, non-fattening, and won’t cause cavities!
Because of this, a couple of years ago I had an idea to make up Hug Certificates. I designed the original Hug Certificates using CorelDraw, and printed them out using standard business card stock. They look like this:
We’ve given out Hug Certificates to people we’ve met hugging each other on the street, left Hug Certificates in books at the bookstore, on seats on the bus, on chairs in restaurants, and basically everywhere we go during our days. And yes, we’ve also given them out in exchange for hugs we’ve received. We’ve even mailed packets of Hug Certificates to friends in other places, so they can start their own hugging trends… Recipients of Hug Certificates have returned smiles, laughter, happy tears, and more than one hug back to us.
So, in an effort to make hugging a truly global phenomenon, we’ve decided to put up a link to a Hug Certificate file so you can print out and give away your very own Hug Certificates!
Instructions are very simple:
1) Go to your local office supply store and purchase a set of blank business card stock pages. These come on 8½ x 11″ sheets, 10 to a page, usually 300 in a package. Each card is 2 x 3½”.
2) Click on this link: Hug Certificate to download the file. This is a Microsoft Word file, suitable for any version of Word from 1997-2007, and I assume it will work with later Word versions as well. It may work with other word processing software, but I haven’t tried it. Open the file, and you should have a two-page document. Print page 1 on one side of the business card stock, and page 2 on the back side. See your printer guidelines on how to load the paper properly and how to print on both sides of the paper. I find it easiest to print several copies of one side, reload the paper and then print the other side, but it depends on your printer.
3) Fold along the perforations (folding both ways helps it tear easier), and separate the cards into a stack. Recycle the leftover bits and go out on your merry way, giving out certificates as you go!
NB: (May 20, 2010) The new version of bit.ly shortened links allows us, the users to create custom links. Therefore, we’ve replaced our old bit.ly link that links back to this page with a new one. The new link is: http://bit.ly/hugcert The old bit.ly link still works and will lead here, but the new one is a lot easier to remember. I’ve updated the back of the card (above) to show this, and also updated the downloadable Word template. Also, we’ve decided that we each prefer slightly different wording for the backs of our Hug Certificates, so the template now shows five of each style. Feel free to edit the back of the template once you’ve downloaded it to reflect your own preferences, but we’d appreciate it if you’d leave the bit.ly link attached.
Update: After seven years of hugging, in 2016 we had to make new Free Hugs posters (see below for our first Free Hugs campaign in 2010). All you need to make a poster is a pen or marker and a stiff piece of cardboard, but if you’d like the template we used to make ours, you can find it here: New Posters: For the Love of Hugs As of June, 2019, we’ve shared hugs with Ambassadors from (at least) 84 countries!! 🙂
And be sure to check out Marcia’s page: Marcia’s Meanderings – Ladybugs and FREE HUGS! for information on our own ‘Free Hugs’ campaign to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement. More images are available here. Also visit our post on International Free Hugs Day 2011!!
Know anyone who’s looking for a really Big Bear Hug?
P.S. Every time you give or receive any Hug Certificates, or if you find one somewhere, we’d love it if you would leave us a comment and share your experiences!
The official site: Free Hugs Campaign
Update: February 14, 2010
A man from Ohio (unofficially) broke the world record for the most number of hugs in 24 hours: 7,777!
More here: Hug record attempt over Valentine’s weekend
P.S. II, the sequel:
There are a number of ‘Free Hugs’ videos available on YouTube – they’ll definitely bring a lift to your day. Here are a few examples, and from there you can find links to others:
- Free Hugs in Sondrio, Italy
- Free Hugs, Brooklyn, NY
- FREE HUGS IN HOLLYWOOD
- FREE HUGS in JAPAN(Tokyo) part1
And one from Vimeo: Hug Therapy – You can Change the World, One hug at a time…
Hug it Forward is “a movement to inspire people everywhere to live their passion while giving back to make a lasting change in the world.” Click the link to see more!
UPDATE May 2015
Remember to put all of yourself into it!!