It began with an insult.
Something snide, an affront from a co-worker, the negative so needless, the jibe one that festered.
For Crystal DeCoursey, the cruel comment in question proved hard to shake during the difficult days that followed.
If nothing else, it sure got her thinking.
This Christmas, Crystal is determined to take a bad experience and put it to good use.
You see, keen to touch lives in a manner more positive, Crystal is on a mission.
It’s one that she calls the Twelve Days of Christmas Random Acts of Kindness, a project designed to highlight that the festive season is, above all, a time for giving.
There are no partridges or pear trees involved in this and, like all the most precious gifts, hers are ones that cannot be bound in paper and ribbon and stacked beneath the tree.
This Christmas, Crystal is giving the most valuable thing of all: Her time, her service, herself.
The challenge, to devote 12 days during the festive period to doing good deeds.
On the first day, a single act, on the second, two.
On the third, three and so on and so forth, until, after 12 days, 78 such kindnesses have been completed.
Given our interest in reaching out, touching lives and making connections, it’s little surprise that this project has made us sit up and take note.
To quote Crystal, who in recent days has embarked upon her quest in Richland, Washington, ‘I’ve found that being nice to people makes me feel better myself … it (the insult that prompted the project) affected me all day, later I thought how much different it would be if, instead of people making snide remarks, they were nice …. we forget sometimes the effect that our words or actions can have on someone else’.
The acts themselves, Crystal says, don’t need to be grandiose: Bringing in a neighbor’s garbage can, for instance; enquiring as to someone’s well-being and taking a genuine interest in the response; sweeping a driveway, returning a book to the library, taking a parcel to the Post Office.
In some respects, the more mundane the better, for it’s not about the act itself, it’s about making the effort and doing the little things that can make such a big difference.
It is this, the simple stuff, that so moves us here in Saunderstown, the things that underpin our efforts and influence our OMs.
The most inspirational aspect in all this, though, is that Crystal is not acting alone this Christmas.
You see, having told her Facebook friends about the 12 Days of Christmas Random Acts of Kindness, she has been joined by 40 others keen themselves to spread a little more good in their own communities.
Should each complete their 78 good deeds, that’ll make almost 3,200 kind acts that have been carried out in less than two weeks.
In Crystal’s own words, ‘That’s some serious positive influence, karma, blessings.’
It sure is and, having drawn renewed inspiration from this heart-warming Christmas tale, we’ll be certain to redouble our own efforts over the festive season.
It might not be quite as structured as Crystal’s, but our own mission is one that bears countless similarities.
The challenge, of course, is to keep it going beyond Christmas, because to achieve true connection in our lives, this kind of thing has to become a full-time occupation.
It’s something that we’re striving for here and something that Crystal and her peers have all figured out.
To give our festive friend the final word, ‘I don’t think it’ll end there (at Christmas) … it doesn’t take that much time and I’ve come to realize that, when you do these good deeds, it’s a gift to yourself … you’re surrounding yourself with good, not negative, feelings.’
That speaks loud and clear to us all here in our studio and also, we hope, to you, wherever you might be and whatever you might have planned this Christmas.
Here’s to random acts, here’s to kindness and, above all, here’s to Crystal.