November 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts November 2001 Current Issue
November 2001
Short Cuts:Party plans revisited

image Holiday parties are symbolic events. They allow companies to give back to the people who work for them; they let employees know that management values their contributions. This year, the message conveyed will be especially pertinent. With the economy in flux, the layoff rate rising and the shock of September's terrorist attacks still fresh, many firms are rethinking their planned year-end celebrations. In many cases, glitz and glamour will give way to an emphasis on family and a more sober tone of remembrance, says Jacklyn Bernstein, president of Empire Force Events, a destination management company in New York City.

"Companies will have to be more sensitive in pulling together their parties," says Bernstein, who worked for days at the lower Manhattan disaster site, ferrying and distributing supplies and helping to set up triage centers. "It is hard to celebrate when there are layoffs and lost business. But more than ever, employees need something to look forward to." Budgets earmarked for big-name entertainment or high-priced dining, she suggests, should be scaled back, to allow employees to invite their family members. Another option: The savings realized from a downsized bash can be donated to a foundation to benefit lost colleagues or to a charity devoted to victim relief.

• C.A.S.

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