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Smaller Celebrations

Despite cost, many employers still having holiday parties

December 13, 2009
By JOEL DITATA, The Leader-Herald

Alpin Haus in Amsterdam plans to have a holiday party for its staff this year, but General Manager Andy Heck said it will take place on the company's property to save some money.

"We're trying to be more prudent with our money for the holiday season," Heck said.

He said keeping the party on company property has other benefits, too.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Joanne Gedney, left, a bartender at Harold’s Restaurant in Gloversville, and waitress Ann Waite set a table for an upcoming party at the restaurant on Thursday.

The manager of the RV and boat store said because the party will take place during the work day, more employees will be available to attend.

"Employees really like the Christmas parties. They all have a good time," Heck said.

Alpin Haus is not alone in trying to save a little money on holiday parties this year during the nation's economic recession.

According to the 21st annual survey conducted by New York-based Battalia Winston Amrop, an executive search firm, the worst holiday party slump in the past 20 years is continuing this year, with 81 percent of businesses conducting some type of holiday celebration.

The low of 81 percent surpasses the former low mark of 83 percent after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and 82 percent during the 1991 recession.

Although the number of holiday parties did not decline from last year, more than half have indicated the recession caused businesses to either cancel their party or downsize the event, the survey showed.

Still, many local companies and organizations are planning holiday parties this year.

The Raindancer Restaurant in Amsterdam expects to host many company parties this month.

Margie Schulve, a manager at the restaurant, said she expects to host approximately 75 parties ranging from 10 to 175 people each.

"We have office, churches and personal parties all throughout the holiday," she said.

The only noticeable difference from years past that Schulve has seen is a decrease in the number of people attending the parties, she said.

Harold's Restaurant & Bar in Gloversville plans to host company parties as well this year, and it's also planning its own party for its staff.

"We have a small gathering out of the restaurant for dinner and some drinks," owner Harold Bell said.

In addition, Harold's will host holiday banquets for businesses.

Bell said he has 12 parties reserved. From 40 to 60 people are expected to attend each party.

Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville will allow employees in its various departments to schedule their own departmental holiday celebrations this year.

The hospital has not held a holiday party for the entire staff in years because some employees work around the clock, said Susan Kiernan, vice president of marketing and development at the hospital.

In lieu of a holiday party, each employee will receive a turkey to share with their families.

Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Wally Hart said he hasn't noticed any significant changes in holiday parties among local businesses.

"A lot of parties are just low-key dinner parties. They're not enormous events," Hart said.

Hart said a lot of local businesses have always had small-scale events that are unaffected by the downturn in the economy.

Joel DiTata can be reached at



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