Staff Appreciation: The Coffee Fairy Mystery

There is an inherent appeal to the human psyche experiencing a mystery. It's in our nature enjoy the feeling of mild uncertainty.


Among the many things we do during a school year is holding appreciation events -- for our faculty, staff, and volunteers. Make an impact on your school's culture by creating thoughtful changes to the morning coffee and snacks appreciation day. Adding mystery to the occasion raised the level of their enjoyment, and they had fun!

The Plan
In the past, our faculty and staff appreciated and enjoyed the morning coffee and muffins appreciation day. Adding the elements of mystery and surprise were the key to this upgrade. 

Coffee Fairy Sign.png
  • Keep the event unscheduled to provide the surprise effect.
  • Arrange for coffee and muffins for entire school faculty and staff.
  • (Bonus Tip: Muffins were homemade, and the teachers and staff felt that the extra effort meant more to them than if they had been store-bought goods.)
  • Plan to arrive at 5:30 a.m. to set up so that it will all be ready before ANYONE comes on campus.
  • Maintain the secret after the event by holding the equipment for the coffee fairy to pick up in the evening after most people have gone for the day.

The Fun
This event was an unscheduled surprise. Faculty and staff learned of the celebration from the signs posted outside of the administration building and at the reception area. In the conference room where the goodies were displayed was a note from the coffee fairy thanking them and inviting them to write a response to the coffee fairy on the whiteboard. They asked about the identity of the coffee fairy -- throughout the day the atmosphere was playful and they enjoyed the mystery.

The Success
Several schools have held a coffee fairy celebration. In every instance, the faculty and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


Recommended Reading: "The Influence of Need for Closure on Learning and Teaching"

In a series of studies led by Tim Wilson at the University of Virginia, the happiness people experienced after an unexpected kindness (such as a gift) lasted longest when the act was anonymous.