Carlos is gearing up for Hug a Bear Day

November 1, 2022
National Hug a Bear Day - Jennifer Shorter hugs Carlos the Bear at Grandpa Shorters in Petoskey

You’re probably familiar with our handsome mascot—Carlos—the moderately tall, dark, and handsome black bear who stands outside our door and greets you. Carlos, whose name comes from Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts patriarch Carl Shorter, aka Carlos to his friends, has been with us for nearly two decades. 

And if you haven’t noticed, Carlos is pretty popular with our younger clientele–he receives many high fives, gets included in photo ops, and is regularly hugged. Of course, it’s easy for kids to wrap their arms around Carlos because, unlike adults, kids don’t have to bend or crouch down. But, regardless of age or size, hugging—whether you’re hugging Carlos or someone else—is beneficial to all parties involved.

According to, hugging can or may do the following:

  • Reduce stress
  • Keep you healthier
  • Boost heart health
  • Make you happier
  • Reduce fear and make you feel less alone
  • Help reduce physical and emotional pain
  • Help you communicate with others

With all those benefits, you should be hugging Carlos, or your friends and family, more often! Specifically, you need four hugs per day to survive, eight for maintenance, and 12 for growth—that’s a lot of hugging!

For those 4–12 daily hugs, you could hug a parent or sibling; embrace a friend; snuggle a baby; gently hug a child; or bear-hug your bestie, complete with a ferocious grip, squeezing, and maybe picking them up off the ground. Carlos would be so proud!

National Hug a Bear Day - Jennifer Shorter hugs Carlos the Bear at Grandpa Shorters in Petoskey

Another option for meeting that hug quota would be to hug a bear—a teddy bear, not a real bear out in the woods, no matter how cute and cuddly they appear. Teddy bears—aptly named after 26th president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt in honor of his decision to not inhumanely shoot a black bear tied to a tree—have been popular since the early 1900s. The preferred stuffed animal is almost synonymous with toddlers and children because they are often depicted as carrying, dragging, snuggling with, or hugging their teddy bear tightly in that perfect bear-hug hold. Because of this, children are probably the healthiest among us, far exceeding the 12-hug per day requirement for growth. Perhaps that’s one reason children grow so quickly!

Now, of course, you can hug Carlos on your way into Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts—he’d love it—and there are stuffed versions of Carlos to hug inside the shop too, but there are also other fun bear items to enjoy. Unfortunately, they just might not be the best things to hug.

Nestled on the racks and shelves inside our shop, you’ll find bear cards to mail loved ones, bear-themed games, contemporary artwork featuring bears, and, of course, Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts merch featuring Carlos, like branded oven mitts. Aside from the oven mitt–which is technically huggable due to its softness–the other items are a bit pointy, hard, or crushable. Ten out of ten would not recommend hugging. 

Then, as you know, Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts has online shopping options too, but these you definitely can’t hug until they’re in your possession–hugging computer screens isn’t recommended.

Online (and in-store!), you can find mugs, decals, and puzzles showcasing burly bears, and even Minnetonka Moccasins featuring Carlos himself–what can we say? Here at Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts, we love bears. 

Now, with all this talk about bears, hugs, and bear-hugs, you’ll want to know that today–November 7–is National Hug a Bear Day. We hope you’ve been practicing your hugging so that you’re sure to get your required 4–12 hugs today and every day. Remember, you can always count on Carlos for at least one or two!