Thirty-five ceramic artists at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis decided to use their talents to spread goodwill by giving away handmade mugs. Last Saturday, they took more than 200 mugs to locations throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. What was surprising was that many people who were offered these free gifts were suspicious.

"What is the catch?" several asked. Some rushed by just saying "no, no, no" without even really hearing or seeing what was being offered. When offered a gift, one couple responded, "Do we look interested?" and stalked away. This behavior is so not Minnesota. What has happened?

On the other hand, there were people who, when they took the time to learn that we just wanted to spread goodwill in this season, happily accepted their gifts and even noted that the experience "made their day." We ultimately gave all the mugs away.

In 2013, we hope to meet more people who believe that there can be random acts of generosity without a catch. Look for us about this time next year, or come visit us anytime at the Northern Clay Center.