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Sherry Martell
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Christmas staff parties still popular despite tough economic times

TRURO - The holiday tradition of hosting staff parties is business as usual for many local organizations despite economic pressures of a global recession.
Laura Lee Marshall, of Wilson's Fuel Company, looks after booking the annual Christmas get-together with her co-workers and said it's a valued part of the holidays.
"It's a chance for you to socialize with the people you normally wouldn't have a chance to socialize with in a work setting," said Marshall. "I think it's really important for employee morale as well."
In the coming weeks she and her co-workers will sit down together, away from the hustle and bustle of work, and enjoy a turkey dinner, dance and karaoke.
Angela Preyde, human resources manager at Stanfield's Limited, said traditionally each department within her organization plans a party of its own instead of bringing everyone together, for logistic reasons, and that will continue this year.
"They've always done it that way and that is how they are doing it again this year," said Preyde.
Donna Tyrrell, sales and catering co-ordinator for Best Western Glengarry Hotel and Convention Centre in Truro, said they begin hosting holiday staff parties from late November until Christmas.
"The numbers are pretty well similar to what they have been in the past," said Tyrrell, adding many are repeat customers who choose to host similar parties year to year.
The Holiday Inn and Convention Centre is another one of Truro's top venues for hosting large office parties.
Sales manager Rich Taylor said they are hosting a similar number of events to last year, however, some groups have changed the way their party is being organized.
In a couple of instances, staff parties are being co-ordinated and paid for by employees themselves so they will have a holiday social gathering, where in the past the employers footed the bill.
The size of parties range from intimate gatherings of 40 people to more than 150, and many of them are buffets or full-course served dinners.
"Yes, the economic consideration is always there, they are watching budgets, but they still want to give their employees the best they can with what they have budgeted," said Taylor.
The Engine Room on the Esplanade
has booked more Christmas parties this year than last.
"Some are repeat business but several others are new this year," said restaurant owner Bernice Rowe.
She said some are booking on nights when entertainment is already planned on location and some are opting to serve finger foods instead of big meals to reduce costs.

Organizations: Fuel Company, Stanfield's, Best Western Glengarry Hotel and Convention Centre Holiday Inn and Convention Centre

Geographic location: TRURO

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