This year, Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 1. By my calendar that's a little over two weeks away, which gives managers time to plan ahead. Ha ha ha, who are we kidding! Your direct supervisor is going to forget again, just like he or she did last year, and the year before that and the year before that. That is just the way it is, especially in this unenthusiastic economy. Maybe your boss hasn't remembered Employee Appreciation Day since we started celebrating it in 1995. Here's to all your years of no appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day, now get back to your pop-up office and make ten cold calls. Bummer.
On that note, perhaps it would be scarier if your direct supervisor actually remembered to "save the date" after all these years of not remembering. Why is she suddenly giving you a nice, signed card and a gift card to Chili's? Oh no, this can't be good. What is she planning behind the scenes!? Maybe Chili's is hiring? In this economy, it is important to appreciate employees' sense of impending doom.
If you're thinking, "Hey, enough with the manager bashing because I'm going to surprise employees on Friday, March 1 by appreciating them somehow!" then there are many ways to mark the occasion with food, gifts, frivolity and the like. Spring for the good sandwiches this time. Your over-worked employees sandwiched between deadlines will appreciate the upgrade in quality. It's been a long recession.
Or you can simply thank employees for their hard work and then refrain from asking for another status update or "emergency" meeting all day long. Nothing says "we appreciate you" to employees quite like leaving them alone to get the work done. No, really. Try it. It works.