Gratitude Switcharoo: Give the Reason To Be Grateful

by Christie PErkins

Don’t just look for a reason to be grateful, give someone the reason to be. (3)Typically the month of November is a time we focus on all of the things that we are grateful for. I love it. It’s so nice to evaluate the good things in our lives. To recognize all those things that have been squished against our noses but somehow failed to see.

So typically we find reasons to be grateful. We list them on construction paper turkey feathers, die cut leaves, or more permanently- in our journals, etc. We display them somewhere (well, maybe not the journal that could be… intrusive) so we can remember all the goodness that life offers. Regardless, it’s a snazzy little thing that softens our complaint list in the month of November.

It’s nice. It’s needed.

But this month I’m suggesting something a little different. Try it with me. This month we become the hands that make others grateful. I call it the good old Gratitude Switcheroo.

Instead of just looking for a reason to be grateful, we give someone the reason to be.


The Cinnamon Roll Surprise

I have been the recipient many times of grateful acts in my life. But, I’ll never forget my cinnamon roll surprise.

So, they were more than just cinnamon rolls. They were the antidote to a bad day. The exact details of my disharmony are now fuzzy to me but the gratitude I felt on that day is very clear- even after all these years.

I was in high school. My mom and I were experiencing an emotional downfall. We were unified in our heartbreaking and tears showcased the heartache we felt. Yes, I know, everyone has a bad day here or there.

So, whoop-de-doo-dah, right?

Often the world does not cave in or explode- nothing overly drastic on this particular day- but inside we were struggling. No one may notice it on a perfectly calm face, yet the troubles chewing inside are enough to grind up our insides into a raw hamburger viral infested mess.

On this day our troubles erupted into a warm stream of tears.

I turned to my mom and said, “Do you know what would make this day better? Cinnamon rolls.”

Cinnamon rolls? Yep.

It sounded so good. I don’t know if it was the warmness of a cinnamon roll that would melt the cold inside or the sticky glazed fingers that were a perfect finishing touch to a bad day. All I know is that Mom and I decided together that yes, this was what we needed.

And somehow these words penetrated our walls and landed in the kitchen of Janet Baldwin. The best cinnamon roll maker on the planet.

Shortly after expressing our desire to each other we hear a knock at the door.

I know you know the end of this story because we have all experienced something like this before. You know the situation when you just needed a friend or an extra hand and someone happens to hop by or a text tumbles in. But there are plenty of times when all remains eerily quiet. Too often, I’m guessing.

So Janet is standing at the door with a plate of cinnamon rolls- yes, the coveted cinnamon rolls- and that glittery smile of hers. A special order from heaven from a special lady who heard a little something inside of her to take cinnamon rolls to a couple of gals who I’m sure “seemed” fine.

She didn’t even realize how much we needed that. How grateful I was that she listened to a little thought. And how often do we forget to tell people that they made a difference? I’m certain way too often.

So, here it is a gazillion days late: Thank you so much Janet for being the hands that gave us the reason to be grateful. This month I’m going to try a little Gratitude Switcheroo and be the hands that make another person’s day.


How To Set Up Your Month of Gratitude Switcheroo: 

Grab a sheet of paper or if you are techie guy- go that route. Get planning an incredible month of Gratitude Switcheroo, here’s what you do (totally rhymed that.. on purpose):

1- People. Create a simple list of people you want to serve. Think outside the box. Maybe think of the kinds of people you want to serve: a stranger, a school employee, a public service worker, the dump truck man, a child, an older neighbor, a relative you don’t connect with as often. Whoever.

You can be specific. Write down exactly who you want. Maybe think of someone you don’t know well but wouldn’t mind getting to know better, a friend, an enemy, someone you idolize. Just come up with a list.

Write down at least 10 people that you want to give a reason to be grateful. Kids could focus on fewer, you can help them decide. But, definitely include the munchkins. Now that you have a list to work from give at least 5 of them a reason to be grateful.

2- Action List. Ponder what you can do to for each individual. As you think about it don’t neglect the little thoughts that come to your mind. You may think that it is incredibly small and dumb but I assure you that it may be just what they need. I once took a pineapple to a random person. I felt like an idiot with a pokey pineapple plant in my arms. I’ll be honest, I just grabbed it off the counter last minute. But, they were so delighted when they answered the door and said “Pineapple is yo-Joe’s favorite! He has them all over his room.” I had no clue. You don’t have to think big, think incredibly small. That’s all.

Create your action list of things that would make others grateful. Sweeping a driveway, writing a thank you note, doing a family members chore, making a treat just because, make a coupon for helping your mom clean out her storage room for an hour, sending a card in the mail, offer babysitting so someone can go out, sending a little cash in an envelope. Whatever.

Include at least one of each of these: a big thing, an itty bitty thing, and shhhh! an anonymous thing.

3- Schedule It. This is so incredibly important. It won’t happen if you don’t make time for it. I really don’t need to talk your ear off about this just trust me. But, P.S. be willing to change your plan if a thought directs you another way.

4- Reward Yourself. The biggest reward will be the happiness you feel from making a difference in the lives of those that make a difference in yours. Don’t expect a thank you but expect to feel a genuine smile growing inside. If you complete your list of 10 people by the end of the month come up with a reward. Buy that book you’ve been wanting, give yourself a time out, go out for ice cream, make that dessert you’ve been dying to try, or shake up your routine and do something you’ve been wanting to do. The reward doesn’t have to be enormous it just has to be enjoyable.

Decide your reward now. Then, get to work.


Get Going!

It’s time to recognize why the people in your life are important to you. Now give them a little token of your gratitude by serving them.

Don’t just look for a reason to be grateful, give someone the reason to be.


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2 thoughts on “Gratitude Switcharoo: Give the Reason To Be Grateful

  1. Great job Christie! It is SO important to tell the ones around us how much we love them and appreciate all they do for us. Give some a reason to be grateful! Great advice that will not only bless the live of those around us but will greatly bless our own lives too!

  2. That is a great thing to do Christie!!! You r a great example to everyone. Think about u often and all u r going through. U are a special sweet lady. Love Bev. (Pans mom)

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