Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where’s My Holiday Party?

By Gamal Hennessy

Last year I was offering advice on
how to survive your office holiday party. This year the question is “will your office holiday party survive?” As companies fail and the market sinks, the lavish holiday party seems out of place this year. How can you keep the recession from ruining your holiday?

No one is surprised that companies are cutting back on holiday festivities. Event planning firms claim that
81% of all firms are planning an end of the year event. While this is a significant majority of all companies, it marks a 20 year low in end of the year activity, worse than both the period after 9/11 and the bursting of the internet bubble. This decrease in entertainment spending parallels a drop in bottle service that hit the nightlife industry this year as finance firms (one of the largest consumers of bottles) began to fail. Corporate perks are being cut on every level by large and small companies. It is only natural that the holiday party also gets hit.

While the majority of firms are planning a party, that party will not have the same level of extravagance as last year’s party. Many
venues that host corporate parties are offering substantial discounts in order to lure budget conscious planners through their doors. Last year I was hired to be the DJ at an ad agency party. I spun in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton on 6th Avenue, ate like a dog and made more money in a couple hours than I do playing all night at a bar. Something tells me that this year I’ll only be making bar money…if I get hired at all. And all those parties I wandered into even though I didn’t work there…that probably won’t be happening very much either.

But our recession does give us the chance to rediscover a fact that all nightlife natives intrinsically know; the price of the party has no relation to having a good time, and having a good time is the point of the party. Maybe you can’t drink so much free Grey Goose and Cranberry that you pass out in your cubicle, but can still enjoy time out of the office with your co-workers and friends. You can still appreciate the things you have instead of regretting parties of the past. And maybe this year you’ll be able to remember everything the day afterward.

Have fun.

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