Is Your Boss Springing for a Holiday Party

office-holiday-party-madmenWhat with layoffs, post-Recession blues, and a less-than-rosy recovery, lots of employers have junked the annual Holiday Party in recent years as a way to save money. I just heard a great story about a law firm where a senior partner used company funds — which otherwise would have been spent on the Holiday Party as well as, gak!, year-end bonuses — to start an office across the country for his mistress, an associate at the firm. No party, no bonuses: everyone who wasn’t sleeping with him got screwed.

Regardless of the reasons parties have been canceled in the past, the Guardian sees signs that perhaps the tide is turning:

for some time now many employers have opted out of paying for their staff to have a festive spree, blaming the economic climate. Fair enough, perhaps, in an era of frozen wages and redundancies.

But now we learn that the Financial Conduct Authority, the City watchdog, has what the Times is calling a “fun fund” to spend on its staff parties this year – so is this a sign that the Christmas party is back? It has budgeted a whopping £180,000 for the festivities, which works out at £60 a head for its 3,000 staff.

So is your workplace paying for a Christmas party this year?

Presumably they are, even if they’re not paying £180,000 (~$282,000) for it. Fortune claims that 90% of offices are planning parties in 2014. Some of them will be racist or at least super suspect. Sounds like fun! Get out those reindeer headbands and/or harem pants, everyone! 

Some holiday parties are better than others. I was at a tequila-themed one once in the secret downstairs dungeon of La Esquina; an intern got so drunk she ended up falling down the stairs at her apartment, breaking her ribs, and ending up in the hospital. We only found out when she didn’t come into work the next day and we called around to find out why.

For the most part, though, the ones I’ve been to have been exceedingly tame affairs, nothing like the expensive mid-century shenanigans portrayed on “Mad Men” or The Apartment

My best chance to go to a swank affair was when Ben worked for the law firm. Sadly, though, for financial reasons, they didn’t invite spouses to attend. I did get to go to an office party with him one summer, sponsored by a senior partner and featuring an all-you-can-eat lobster buffet — so I can only imagine what I was missing.



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