Hug Certificates

Hi Folks:

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 Certificates 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 shortened links allows us, the users to create custom links.  Therefore, we’ve replaced our old link that links back to this page with a new one.  The new link is: The old 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 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!


Free Hugs Campaign – Official Page (music by Sick )


Free Hugs Campaign continued….

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:

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

The Great Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on How to Do “Hugging Meditation”

Remember to put all of yourself into it!!

12 Replies to “Hug Certificates”

  1. Nardine

    BIG smile…

    With arms o u t s t r e t c h e d and my heart beaming, I wrap you both in a warm and fuzzy bear hug!

    Bless you dear ones, your hearts shine as beacons of love, light, and laughter.

    Mucho grande love

  2. AW

    I remember those! We got them in the mail from you guys a few months ago 🙂
    I think I gave two of them to friends, now I get unlimited hugs from them all. Not too sure how that one worked out but I like it 🙂

  3. wolfnowl Post author

    Hi Folks: For Earth Day (every day is Earth Day!) Marcia and I joined in the local parade that wound it's way from the provincial legislature through the downtown and over to city hall. Several people were handing out pamphlets and brochures to highlight attention to this or that cause (more on that here:… so we decided to give out Hug Certificates as well! We gave out something like 50 or more in the space of an hour or two. One person kept coming back to get more! Gotta love it!!


  4. wolfnowl Post author

    Victoria Day parade today. One of the participants was on a unicycle, and wearing a 'Free Hugs' shirt. He got off occasionally to hug people in the crowd, so I chased him down the street, engaged in a body-slamming hug, and left him a 'Hug Certificate'! 'No Way!' he said. Made both of our days a little better!

  5. wolfnowl Post author

    Hi Folks: Today Marcia and I celebrate our 91st Monthaversary of being married, so to celebrate we went to one of our favourite coffee shops. We gave a Hug Certificate to one of the staff, and her coworker asked her where she had received it. It turns out her coworker, A., had received a Hug Certificate from a woman who had received it from a woman while on a bus in another city! We were both surprised and delighted to hear her story, and she was equally surprised to meet the people who had started this!! Hugs all around!!

  6. wolfnowl Post author

    Hi Folks: Yesterday (June 8) was a special day for us, as you can read here:… So, we took our 'Free Hugs' posters and our Hug Certificates downtown, and in 3 hours we figure we gave and received over 200 hugs! We also received many more smiles. The most unique arrivals were the two guys who came across the harbour on their stand-up paddleboards, climbed the ladder to the walkway and ran over to get their hugs!!

    Our thanks to everyone who came by to share a hug, especially the young girl with the white and pink shirt who started it all…

  7. wolfnowl Post author

    Hi Folks: Was downtown the other day and met a young woman who was holding up a handmade cardboard sign that said, "You Are Amazing" in bright, bold colours. Made me wish I'd brought one of our "Free Hugs" ( posters with me! As it was I didn't even have any Hug Certificates left in my backpack, but I gave her a link to this page and in return she gave me a card that said, "Smile. You Are Amazing!" Made my whole day, and so I wanted to say thanks!


  8. Gracie

    In 1974 I made Hug Certificates (hand drawn in pen & ink) as Christmas gifts when I was young and financially restricted. I also gave friends with small children certificates I made up for 24 hours of free babysitting (they were young and of limited financial means also).

    1. wolfnowl Post author

      Hi there, and welcome to our little corner of the ‘net! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!! Especially with this being ‘World Kindness Week’ and all…


  9. Ryan

    This week I picked up a Hug Cert that you left behind at the table next to us in James Bay Starbucks. After it does a few laps around our humble home, I will do the same. Keep up the good, loving work!

    1. wolfnowl Post author

      Ryan: Thanks for the wonderful gift of sharing your story with us! If you happen to be wandering by the Homecoming Memorial on Wharf Street at the right time, we’ll be out there with our Free Hugs posters. Do drop by to say hello!! You can see more in the Free Hugs section of our blog!

      And thanks much for dropping by our little corner of the ‘net!


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