Number of Holiday Parties Drops for 2005

November 16, 2005 ( - Battalia Winston International found that the number of businesses conducting a holiday party this year has dropped for the first time since 2001.

In its press release, Battalia said 87% of businesses plan to conduct a party this year, compared to 95% last year. This is the first reduction since 2001 when the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the resulting weak economy drove down party celebrations to 83%.

Holiday parties are still a valued tradition though. Ninety-six percent of employers view holiday celebrations as a valuable morale booster that shows appreciation to workers. The other 4% of respondents said the holiday party was a marketing opportunity to mingle with clients, according to the release.

In addition, the survey found that:

  • Of those conducting holiday celebrations, 60% will be evening affairs, compared to 40% taking place at a luncheon. More than two-thirds (70%) are conducting their celebrations off-site, compared to 30% celebrating at the office.
  • A clear majority (62%) of respondents say their celebrations will not include gift giving.
  • Exactly three-quarters of the businesses surveyed indicated they will be serving alcohol at their holiday parties, a figure that has remained steady in recent years.
  • Only 17% of companies will conduct more expensive parties this year, compared to last year when 25% of businesses increased their celebration budget. Exactly three-quarters of the respondents say this year’s celebration will cost about the same as last year, but almost a third (29%) say the parties are still more modest in expense than the celebrations of five years ago (2000).
  • The vast majority (87%) of holiday parties will be paid for by employers, with only 5% of respondents indicating that employees are footing the bill. Eight percent of the companies share the expense with employees (i.e. comp/cash bar).

According to Battalia, the study found that the numerous natural disasters of 2005 have impacted some businesses holiday planning, as 18% of the respondents indicated that their companies would be making some type of donation to relief efforts or charity this year in conjunction with their celebration.

Battalia Winston International is an executive search firm headquartered in New York.