Bring out the wassail and eggnog. It’s time for many local employees to celebrate at holiday parties hosted by their companies.
Many Northwest Indiana businesses are continuing this tradition even during a sluggish economy. Local banquet halls say business this holiday season is about the same as last year.
“Celebrating with co-workers in the form of a unit, department or division, a Christmas party is a longstanding tradition, which continues unabated,” Franciscan Alliance CEO Gene Diamond said. “Each hospital also sponsors a Christmas party for its medical staff and a traditional Christmas dinner is served to all employees on every shift in mid-December. These traditions are, and have been, a vital component of our culture for years. They define who we are.
"Everyone looks forward to celebrating the unchanging joy of the season," he said. "The form of the celebration may have evolved over time, but it remains essentially the same: we rejoice in the coming of a Savior born in poverty who will save the world."
Prime Real Estate President Joshua Lybolt said this year’s party will be a “blow out event” celebrating a great year of sales and expansion. All employees receive presents and are being treated to a Dave Matthews Band concert.
“When the economy shrunk back in 2008 and 2009, we hosted the parties at our office,” Lybolt said.
Vice President of Human Resources at Methodist Hospitals Alex Horvath said even though the economy is down, Methodist still celebrates with a large party for all employees in the cafeterias, serving special meals and featuring entertainment by the volunteer hospital choir. In addition, a party is held at Villa Cesare for the hospital’s physicians and holiday meals are served to employees on all three shifts.
“Everybody really looks forward to it,” Horvath said. “Like many employers, we place a lot of value on our employee relationships. It’s an opportunity for us here to thank them for the work they do throughout the year.”
NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer said large fancy parties are a thing of the past for the company from a cost standpoint. He said there are many small gatherings bringing in lunch or having shared pot luck meals.
At Avalon Manor, Owner/Manager Peter Kaiafas said that holiday party business has neither picked up nor slowed down.
“We’re not seeing what we did a couple of years ago when companies cancelled at the last minute because of layoffs,” Kaiafas said.
Patio Manager Debra Batistatos agreed, saying both the number of parties and menus are similar to last year. However, she said the Patio is seeing an increase in the number of off-site holiday parties they are catering.
Also, Batistatos said the parties average 40 to 50 people unlike the corporate events for 200 in past years.