My grandmother was a wonderful person. And, she was blessed with many grandchildren. It created a bit of challenge for her at Christmas time, especially as we all got older. Then, she hit on a solution–all the girls would get scarves; all the boys would get ties. After a couple of years, the pattern was set. As soon as we spotted the familiar long thin box under the tree, we all knew the giver!

Now, I don’t for one second miss the fact that it was the thought that counted. We were always sincerely grateful even if her scarf or tie never donned our necks. Yet, my memory of her predictable generosity makes me think about how innovative service can help in how you celebrate your customers this holiday season. The bank always sends me a calendar; the dry cleaners always sends me a Starbucks card. It is as foreseeable as my grandmother’s holiday ties.

Innovative service is to a customer’s experience what sprinkles are to a cupcake. Sprinkles are not only colorful; they are random–as if thrown, not placed, on the top of the icing. It is that whimsical randomness that makes it a delightful treat and not just a tasty one. What if this year your customers got an original poem, your favorite holiday recipe, a unique home remedy, a holiday card drawn by your child, a greeting card filled with colorful confetti or a balloon? What if you sent a photo of a flower growing in your yard or your pet doing something laughable?

Ties and scarves are nice, just like calendars and Starbucks cards. But, this year create a memorable, sprinkles-like experience in how you celebrate the loyalty of your best customers. Boldly do something this year that creates a buzz, not just a smile.