Power utility Enmax has also cut its official party out of respect for customers facing tough economic times, said spokeswoman Doris Kaufmann Woodcock. The company is instead encouraging its managers to consider low-cost options like potlucks. Some companies, however, had actually ditched the fancy company-funded holiday party well before the downturn. Both Husky Energy and Enbridge are going ahead with their usual employee-funded parties this year, while TransCanada hasn't had a large-scale Christmas party in recent years and instead leaves it up to small units within the company to decide how to celebrate. Pam McCarthy at Five Star Events says that even with the cutbacks, it's important that companies go ahead with some sort of event. "If they don't do it, even in some small way, then that's not good for morale," McCarthy said. "So instead of a massive dinner dance with a band, they might be doing something more low-key, whether it's a luncheon or an after-work at a pub. Very few companies are cancelling their event altogether, they're just doing it on a smaller scale."
"It really isn't the best time right now to be doing an event."
Paddy Sorrenti of Sorrenti's Catering says that he's experiencing cancellations and a lot of downsizing of oil-and-gas Christmas parties, but outside of the sector, business is still looking good. "We have a lot of non oil-and-gas clientele, and most of them are still full-tilt with their parties, but they've never, ever been super-extravagant," said Sorrenti. And while Calgary's oil-and-gas industry may be cutting back, some companies in the city are still throwing big parties. Heather Lundy, director of marketing and communications for the Telus Convention Centre, says she's seen only about a 15 per cent drop in Christmas party bookings, and the companies returning this year haven't cut their attendance numbers or their budgets. --- Follow @ibickis on Twitter
"If they don't do it, even in some small way, then that's not good for morale," McCarthy said.
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