Christmas parties more rare during economic downturn, others stick with tradition

Click to play video 'More and more companies opting out of the annual office Christmas party' More and more companies opting out of the annual office Christmas party
WATCH ABOVE: As the economic woes continue, more and more companies are cancelling the large office parties, but it’s not only finances that play a factor, as more employees are showing a disinterest in the festive gatherings. Ryan Kessler reports.

Love them or hate them, annual workplace Christmas parties may be on the decline amidst a rocky economy and changing attitudes toward the event.

Despite hosting a traditional Christmas party in Saskatoon last year, uranium producer Cameco won’t deck the halls company-wide in 2016. The company’s smaller family parties aimed at young kids will go ahead in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

“The first thing to go is obviously the frills, and [a holiday party] happens to be one of the frills,” said Anne-Marie Cey, owner of Wow Factor Event Design.
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Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) hasn’t held a corporate company-wide holiday party for several years due to a difficult economy and reduced interest from employees.

SRC now holds small, less formal events compared to their previous corporate predecessors.

“It seems that companies are going away from the traditional large party at a hotel,” Cey said.

A recent independent survey of 1,000 adults in the United Kingdom commissioned by go-kart company TeamSport found one in six people “dread” their Christmas party.

Another 19 per cent have lied to try to avoid their workplace Christmas gathering. Only 24 per cent consider the event a good way to socialize with colleagues.

There are some exceptions.

Crystal MacLeod, who owns RSVP Event Design, said she hasn’t been harmed by the economy or Christmas party scrooges.

“It didn’t happen last year and fortunately, it hasn’t happened with any of our clients yet this year as well,” MacLeod said.

AREVA Resources Canada, which also produces uranium, is proceeding with its Christmas party as usual. Officials said it’s a way to lift spirits and show appreciation for their employees during tough times.