Holiday Parties

Company holiday parties are notorious for generating enough embarrassing moments to last well into the New Year. Despite this, they continue to be seen as morale boosters. And it seems more morale will be boosted this year than last. According to a survey by Hewitt Associates, 75 percent of U.S. companies are planning a holiday bash this season, up from 68 percent last year. And these soirees can be expensive—almost half of the companies that plan on partying say they’ll spend more than $20,000 on the event (see the chart). On the downside, some of that money might be coming out of a stash that was once earmarked for individual holiday bonuses. Only 37 percent of companies say they continue to give such bonuses, while 16 percent say they have discontinued the practice. Gift certificates, cash and food (hams and turkeys, mostly) top the list of types of bonuses awarded.