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  • Writer's pictureRachel Kodanaz

Season of Receiving

Last week I was very fortunate to spend time with many of my friends and family members during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Like many of you, we spend Thanksgiving reflecting on how thankful we are for each other, the abundance of food we consume in such a short period of time, the warmth of sharing stories of our loved ones who have passed and how grateful we are for waking up every morning when the sun rises. As a family, we have experienced many untimely deaths and unfortunate diagnoses, yet we have found the ability to bring joy to one another even when the cards have not been favorable.

As I was pondering my holiday message for my 2019 holiday newsletter, I asked my siblings and their families if they considered themselves to be “givers” or “getters” during the holiday season. While my family was a small sampling size, one would think our geographical differences, family dynamics and external influences would skew our beliefs. In fact, the general consensus was that we all would rather give than receive in all aspects of our lives. My questions generated ongoing curiosity about why the majority us were uncomfortable with the act of receiving while conversely getting so much pleasure from giving.

Think about that for a minute. Individually we love giving to others; yet we struggle when others give to us – isn’t that unfair to those that want to be givers? Don’t they have the right to feel the same joy and excitement as we do when we have the opportunity to provide a gift or helpful gesture to someone we love? Are we taking away their excitement and pleasure of gift giving? As a giver, regardless of whether the giving is physical or experiential in nature, we find great joy in someone’s reaction when they receive a meaningful gesture.

Since the demographics of my blogs are usually those who have experienced a loss or are diagnosed with an illness, what if this holiday season we opened our hearts to receive from those around us, on their terms. What if we sit back allowing others to truly help us. What if we engaged with the people who continue to ask if they could help. Just think how they would feel knowing they are providing love and support. What if we provided them with a list of what we need, both physically and emotionally, in support of the season and allow them to fulfill our needs in a meaningful way. What if we opened our hearts to receive the care others wanted to provide us and not just be the “givers.”

This season, I challenge myself and my readers to accept the 2019 holidays as a season of not only giving but a season of receiving. We can accomplish this by accepting the offer of a dinner guest to bring an appropriate dish to add to the menu, by accepting a gift from a loved one without worrying how much they spent, or welcoming a gesture from a neighbor who would like to help with shoveling the snow, running an errand or baking a treat. Maybe we could respond by just saying “thank you” rather than “you shouldn’t have” or “that wasn’t necessary.” Just let the heartfelt gesture warm your soul and take a few minutes away from your own personal challenges to feel the warmth and love around you, offering a much-needed break from the tenderness of a loss or illness.

This fall as I embarked on the launch of my latest book, Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time, I was fortunate to travel to communities of friends, families and strangers. I found myself personally uncomfortable with the generous giving of others who sponsored my events, spread the word and supported me on my own personal endeavors. As a person who is rather reluctant to be a “receiver,” I often hesitated as others offered their genuine support. Each night, I ended my day wondering how I would repay those who were supporting me on the launch of my book. Later, a dear friend reminded me to consider that I was providing a “pay-it-forward” for all that I had given her and others over the years. And, she thanked me for the opportunity to give. Her words reminded me how special it is for others to have the opportunity to give. I had to just hug her and appreciate the joy she felt by hosting my book event in her neighborhood with her friends and family.

As I create my list of giving for 2019, I will be extremely conscious of accepting and honoring others’ wishes to give to me and my family, whether they are gifts, experiences, or just spending time together. I will graciously accept the gesture with a heartfelt, genuine “thank you.” My message to you is to spend the season acknowledging the offering of love from others. Embrace being the recipient of gifts, assistance, support and positive gestures from others as a form of healing, and become a “receiver” for the season’s offerings.

Rachel Kodanaz is a heart-minded professional helping her audiences to Embrace Life’s Challenges. Rachel has been speaking passionately to national audiences of all sizes for over 20 years, addressing all aspects of change, growth, and acceptance that comes with life’s transitions. Her style inspires, informs and persuades audiences to be self-aware, take action, and continue to thrive.

Rachel has published numerous articles and has appeared on Good Morning America.  Her published books Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time, best-selling Living with Loss One Day at a Time, and Grief in the Workplace have received international acclaim. Learn more at

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