International Free Hugs Day, 2015

Hi Folks: As you likely know, last Saturday (July 4) was a pretty special day. Not only is it our son’s birthday, but it was International Free Hugs Day! (the first Saturday in July every year). As we’ve done for the past six years, we took our Free Hugs posters downtown to the Homecoming Statue at Ship Point and shared hugs with an amazing group of people.

Marcia's Hugging Stance

Basic Hugging Attire – Poster, Sun Hat, Winning Smile…!

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2014: The Year of Hugging Exuberantly

Hi Folks:

Well, this is our fifth year of hugging Victorians (and others); mid-July and we’ve already had six free hugs sessions this year!

Marcia's Hugging Stance

Basic Hugging Attire – Poster, Sun Hat, Winning Smile…!

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Would You Accept a (Free) Hug?

Hi Folks:

On September 2, 2012 there was an article by Elizabeth Day in the Guardian Observer about ‘Juan Mann’ – a pseudonym for the man who started the ‘Free Hugs‘ movement in New Zealand.  There were 42 comments to the article (including ours), and comments are now closed, but in reading through the comments they seemed to be polarized between those who had participated in sharing free hugs and those who were adverse to the idea.  While Marcia and I would never try to take someone beyond their comfort level (we wait for people to come to us and those who aren’t interested get a smile and a wave) it seemed to me that those who were repulsed by the idea spoke up for one of a couple of reasons.  I thought I’d explore those reasons here, and as always, others are welcome to join the conversation! Continue Reading →

Marcia’s Meanderings – Ladybugs and FREE HUGS!

Hello Dear Ones!

It’s been my hands meandering today – over poster board with glue and markers, 3″ diameter paper ladybugs and brightly coloured flowers.

Tomorrow, June 8th, 2010, Mike and I celebrate the eighth anniversary of the day I proposed to him. Yes, I did! Down on one knee, rocks and all, by our favourite river. June 8th, 2002.

In honour of the day, Mike and I shall be down at what is referred to as the Inner Harbour here in Victoria, British Columbia at 4pm …. the same approximate time that I popped the question and Mike responded with a resounding YES!

Mike and I are both dolling up these placards to say, simply, FREE HUGS. Yet they are decorated by each of us individually – so each is unique – as are we! Mike’s has a butterfly, hearts and bright colours. Mine has ladybugs and huge flowers.

We’ll be giving out free hugs to any willing participants and we certainly hope there may be a few daring souls. Should you happen to be in the neighbourhood, come join us – even if it’s just to watch two mature adults make absolute fools of themselves – enjoying and savouring every single moment of it! There’ll be ample supply of laughter, hugs, smiles and yes, even free hug certificates as giveaways.

If you’ve not yet checked out our Hugs Certificates page, take a moment to do so here. Mike and I carry a stock of these business card-sized certificates which we delightedly give out to: cashiers; people we see sharing hugs with a friend; as bookmarks in magazines and books in the stores we frequent; on the seats of buses; anywhere we happen to go and someone either gives us a reason to smile or really needs one of their own – which we happily oblige by giving them one of ours. What a joyous adventure this has become – such fun!

An exceptionally BIG thank you to Mike for this marvelous idea, for providing the materials and for the inspiration to make this a play day! A lifetime supply of HUGS, just for him and him alone …

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

BTW: we’re not the first to do this and hopefully not the last! Check out the Free Hugs Campaign that inspired us to do the same.

Update:

We had a great time, and we gave/ received over 200 hugs in 3 hours.  Our friend Aaron came by as well and made some photographs.  Here are a couple of the best of them (more are available here):

Anticipation Group Hug

P.S. Be sure to check out our International Free Hugs Day 2012 and International Free Hugs Day 2011 posts!

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:

front

back

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!

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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!! 🙂
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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?

Hugs,
M&M.

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!


Update!

Free Hugs Campaign – Official Page (music by Sick Puppies.net )

and

Free Hugs Campaign continued….

The official site: Free Hugs Campaign
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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

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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…

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P.S… III!

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!

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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!!