Companies not Abandoning Holiday Parties

November 22, 2011 ( - Nearly 70% of companies plan to hold holiday parties in the coming weeks, according to an annual survey of human resources executives conducted by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The percentage of companies hosting parties is about the same as a year ago, but remains well short of a pre-recession 2007, when about 90% of companies surveyed held holiday festivities. The non-scientific survey of approximately 100 human resources professionals found that the overwhelming majority of companies holding parties (95%) are budgeting about the same amount for their events as a year ago.  

“For many employers, the holiday party is a way to demonstrate appreciation for employees’ hard work throughout the year. Others see the parties as a relatively low-cost morale builder. For smaller companies, the holiday party is simply an extension of a more family-like relationship that often exists between these employers and their employees,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “The nice thing about holiday parties is that they do not have to be full-blown extravaganzas to be meaningful to employees.”  

Only about 30% of companies surveyed are holding their parties on company premises – down from 53% of companies that did so a year ago. Sixty percent of companies are limiting attendance to employees only, perhaps excluding spouses or significant others in an attempt to save on cost. More than half (55%) are holding the party during the workday or near the end of the day.  

More information on the survey, as well as guidelines for office holiday partygoers, is at