Day 17: Pay it forward

Leading up to Thanksgiving, each day I will blog about what I’m doing to be more grateful. I invite you to join me, and to share your thoughts, observations, suggestions and ideas.

Day 17: Give someone a gift that reminds you of your gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

~William Arthur Ward

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Need help with wrapping your gifts of gratitude? Click here for gift-wrapping pointers from eHow.

This week I am looking for ways to share the things I’m grateful for. I guess that’s like the gratitude golden rule? Or paying it forward?

Usually I advocate choosing gifts with the recipient in mind — what would he or she really like?

This is a twist: giving gifts to others to help remind me what I am grateful for. Not that I won’t still think of whether the recipient will like the gift, but I’m starting from my own gratitude then seeking a good receiver for it.

For example:

  • I am grateful I got a good education at Central Michigan University so I will make a donation to the journalism department there
  • I am grateful my colleague, Jay, often treats me to a latte so I’ll be sure to return that favor
  • I am grateful for homecooked meals in our cozy apartment so I recently cooked up a storm for an impromptu Sunday night dinner party to share a homecooked meal with friends. I’ll be looking to do that again soon.

If you’re broke, remember gifts don’t have to be extravagant or expensive. How about giving away a book or CD you already own? Or giving the gift of your time or talents?

Looking for inspiration to get you started on the gift-giving path?

  • If you’d like to make a donation inspired by something you love, Charity Navigator evaluates their efficiency and effectiveness to make sure your money does what you hope it will. Here is a list of their four-star charities.
  • Check out Catherine’s blog, Flamingo Room. Catherine’s been doing 29 days of giving, one of the main sources of inspiration for my Month of Thanksgiving.
  • Catherine was in turn inspired by Cami Walker’s book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life. Check out 29 Gifts to read about how gift giving wasn’t just good for the recipients but transformative for Cami.

I’m also really grateful every time I open our mailbox and find a hand-written letter, so I can combine today’s pay it forward exercise with yesterday’s plan of sending thank you letters. It’s a two for one!

What do you love that you can share with someone else? Have you felt more gratitude when you’ve given a gift to someone else?

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Categories: lifestyle

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3 replies

  1. I love the interconnectedness of this approach. Creates good momentum.

    Thank you for the Flamingo Room shout out! :-)

Trackbacks

  1. Day 23: Share your gratitude and win prizes! « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally
  2. Month of Thanksgiving leftovers « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally

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