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Lavish office parties are as distant a memory as mimeograph machines for most workers. This year, as companies cinch their belts a little tighter than usual, how are you handling the holiday office party?

Administrative professionals weighed in on our Admin Pro Forum:

“Starting this year, we are going back to the old traditional office party. Instead of it being at some venue or restaurant, it will be at the office. It will be a potluck, so there will be the same variety of food as there would be in a restaurant. The only cost for us will be decorations. Some are disappointed, but all realize that times are different now and things need to change regarding cost control.” — Mark

“I think the best-received alternative to a huge holiday celebration was the year my company gave the entire company Christmas Eve off with pay, in addition to Christmas Day. It was a gift from the company that everyone enjoyed.” — Kim

“We used to go to the country club and have a nice meal and games. And we even went to an entertainment place once, where we teamed up for bowling and laser tag. Then we’ve started having lunch catered in, with tables and chairs set up all around the office. Some departments have set up music and games. We have a holiday decorating contest and award first-, second- and third-prize gift cards. The owners let employees leave at 2:30. Everyone has enjoyed this scaled-down option, and they seem quite appreciative.” — Janet

“For the event’s entertainment, search for talent within your company.  Check at the local high schools for choirs or bands that can come to entertain. Even small local bands, disc jockeys or karaoke outfits can be reasonably priced.” — Debbie

 “We just have a party within our department. We hold a door-decorating contest and a white-elephant gift exchange. We all bring a dish to share for a potluck lunch, block out an hour-and-a-half and categorize the time as a team-building event. For the contest prize, we typically give $20 to whomever wins.” — Anonymous

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