What's out: Office parties. What's in: BYOB parties at work.


The global economic crisis has spurred new rounds of layoffs, home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies. It's also hit an annual workplace rite – the office holiday party.

Many large companies -- American Express, Disney and Viacom – among them, have cancelled big holiday bashes as the economic gloom deepens. Lavish bashes held at swanky hotspots replete with entertainment, open bar and buffet tables groaning with goodies are out. In fact, executive search firm Battalia Winston Amrop reports that 2008 will mark the lowest percentage of office parties in 20 years: The firm reports that as the financial crisis deepens, nearly one-firth of U.S. businesses have decided not to hold their holiday parties.

Battalia's annual report indicates that only 81 percent of companies are throwing a holiday party this year – that's a lower percentage than the holiday season directly following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Of the holiday season of the parties that are going forward, only 71 percent of companies will offer liquor, according to the report