Holiday office parties return as economy strengthens

Holiday office parties return as economy strengthens

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Love them or hate them, the office Christmas party is making a comeback. A recent study shows that after many companies canceled holiday parties when the recession started, many are feeling festive enough to hold the gatherings again.

"Holiday parties are a luxury in a company. I also think when we look back to 2008-2009 and we saw a lot of companies had to cut back on staffing , its really hard to sit there and say we've just cut staff back but lets have a holiday party," said Neal Greene, owner of All Occasions Catering.

Greene says slowly but surely the holiday party is making a comeback.

"We're seeing the holiday business be better. Where people haven't done anything they're at least going back to some limited service, or even drop-off catering, we're seeing some bring back a little more upscale parties," said Greene.

A recent study shows this year 83%of companies surveyed are hosting a holiday party. That's up from 68% in 2011. The survey found most  company festivities are still shy of the pre-recession 90%.

Marianne Greene (no relation to Neal Greene) says it's a trend coming back. She owns The Foundry and has witnessed the comeback firsthand. 

"We're seeing a much bigger group coming this year, not so much bigger parties, mostly smaller, but more of them," said Greene.

While catering and event spaces are seeing more holiday parties this year, they say companies are doing them in a more modest way.

"We used to have 300 to 400 at a party now well have 100 to 150 people, certainly not as big as they were," said The Foundry owner as she set up for a party, one of more than 60 they will host in December.

For Neal Greene, the first two weeks of December are the busiest of the year and he says while his clients aren't throwing the lavish events of the past, they are hosting parties and bringing back the Christmas spirit.

"I think we've stabilized, saying let's do something, even if it's modest for our employees," Greene explained. "Let's do something for them, they're working on hard, we've survived the last four years, we're still here."

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