If your business generally holds some kind of party at year's end, now's not the time to play Scrooge, advises Penny de Valk of the Institute of Leadership & Management.
Some people dread the annual knees-up -- but cancel the Christmas party and you could have demotivated and mutinous teams to answer to -- as one employee put it, why punish your people for what's going on in the economy?
So what if you can't afford the extravagant, James Bond-themed bash you held in Marrakesh last year? That may be for the best -- restraint is now the watchword and lavish parties (usually a City tradition) wouldn't go down too well with the banks' new shareholders.
But there are ways to curb your party costs without turning into the Grinch, says de Valk. Here are five:
- Join Forces: Team up with other organisations in your building or, if your business is large, with different divisions in your company. Office Christmas has other ideas for shared, as well as private, parties in the UK and Europe.
- Child's Play: Hold a "kid's style" party with home-made sandwiches, crisps and cake, fizzy pop and some games. Get someone to bring in their karaoke machine if you want the requisite red-faced morning after feeling that usually accompanies too much booze.
- Go Local: If you're really hard up, use your office as a venue, decorating a room and ordering food from nearby or picking up snacks at the supermarket. Or find a local bar or pub where you don't need to pay for room hire. Negotiate on a bulk buy of house wine.
- Fair Exchange: Swap old CDs, books, clothes or other stuff an environmentally-conscious way to give presents. Recycle scrap paper for decorations.
- BYOB: Find an unlicensed restaurant that allows you to bring your own booze. Just make sure they don't charge for corkage.