Review: Hug-E-Gram

As a long-distance grandma, I'm always on the lookout for products and services that reinforce my bond with my faraway grandsons. Many products promise to bring grandparents and grandchildren together, but few really deliver, it seems. At least with grandkids the age of mine.

Enter the Hug-E-Gram. This unique product does indeed deliver. I was delighted to receive my free review Hug-E-Gram from the maker just before my visit with my grandsons so I could share it with them in person rather than having it mailed directly to them, giving me the opportunity see their expressions as they tried it out.

The Hug-E-Gram consists of two huge soft plush arms with white-gloved hands with French cuffs and cufflinks. The arms wrap around a grandchild to simulate a hug (fastening with sturdy Velcro straps to hold it in place) and includes a personalized 10-second voice message the giver records from her own phone. The message device is detachable for washing.

The message I recorded for Bubby and Baby Mac says, "Love, love. Gramma loves you soooo much!" The "love, love" part is a sing-song phrase Megan started when Bubby was tiny, and it's commonly used in our family when hugging the little ones or encouraging them to hug others.

When I first unpacked the hug for the boys, they weren't quite sure what to make of it. But when I wrapped the arms around both of them—it allows for super-sized hugs and double hugs—and pressed the button for the audio message, their smiles lit right up. They immediately loved it! Bubby played the message over and over and over, all the while rearranging the arms about himself and his brother. A sure hit!

Throughout my stay, Bubby and Baby Mac hugged themselves with the Hug-E-Gram again and again. A few times we even wrapped the arms around all three of us together. The soft, cuddly arms and the personalized message with Gramma's voice brought smiles each and every time.

Bubby especially enjoyed being able to clasp the arms around himself, situating the Hug so he could easily reach the message button.

Baby Mac appreciated the Hug in a different manner, requesting in his non-verbal way to have the Hug wrapped around him so he could play, roam the house, or roll around, all wrapped up in Gramma's arms.

What I loved about the product: It's different. It's sweet and soft and comforting. The Seuss-like design is silly and loveable. And it's personalized—my own voice telling my grandsons how very much I love them, and they can replay it any time they want to hear it. And they can be hugged any time they miss me (or even when I'm right there, which was often the case during my visit). I envision the Hug-E-Gram being something my grandsons use for a long time to come, so the fact it can be machine washed (but air dried) will keep it fresh and clean and ready for hugging.

The Hug-E-Gram costs $29.95, comes in three colors—red, black, salmon—and is delivered in a large floral box with a bow and the words “Someone thought of you and sent you a hug”. For more information and to order, visit the Hug-E-Gram website.