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Despite tough economic times, holiday office parties are worth the price tag: 52% of surveyed advertising and marketing executives say the annual office party is a good investment, according to a survey by The Creative Group.

Nearly one-quarter of ad and marketing execs (24%) say year-end parties are not worth the investment, and another 24% say their companies don't have holiday celebrations.

Folks just want to socialize. Ad execs whose companies hold office parties say the most common reasons employees attend office parties are the following:

  • Socialize with colleagues: 53%
  • Consume free food and entertainment: 29%
  • Professional obligation: 9%
  • Network with higher-ups: 8%

"The extra work employees have put in these past few years isn't lost on the majority of executives," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "Organizing an end-of-year party shows people their contributions are appreciated and provides a chance for staff to relax and enjoy each others' company."

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Fewer Companies to Cancel Parties This Year

Fewer employers plan to cancel office holiday parties in 2010 due to the weak economy, according to separate research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Over six in ten surveyed companies (61%) say they plan to host a holiday party this year, the same level that did so in 2009, but just 12% will cancel due to financial challenges, compared with 20% who did so a year earlier.

Among companies hosting parties, 60% plan to hold their holiday parties off-site in 2010 (vs. 50% in 2009) and 29% plan to hold their parties on-site. An additional 10% of companies plan to hold their parties on-site to save on cost, down from 15% in 2009.

"After a couple years of cutbacks, the traditional out-of-the-office holiday party appears to be making a comeback, though many organizations are still being reasonably cost conscious in their plans," said Mark Schmit, PhD, director of research at SHRM.

This year more organizations reported they do not have a practice of holding parties, SHRM finds, suggesting companies that stopped holding parties due to financial constraints in 2009 are not planning to reinstate the events.

About the data: The Creative Group findings are based on survey of 500 respondents, including 375 marketing execs randomly selected from companies with 100+ employees and 125 ad executives randomly selected from agencies with 20+ employees, conducted in September and October 2010.

The SHRM study titled Holiday Parties in 2010 is based on a survey 472 human resource professionals from SHRM's membership roster conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 19, 2010.

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