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Christmas party: Can it or keep it?

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“Cutting the Christmas party is a bad idea,” comments Simon Corbett, founder of Jargon PR. “In the past 12 months, staff working for small businesses have had a worrying time as they wake up to headlines full of doom and gloom. Rewarding staff is crucial, especially within a difficult trading environment when I want everyone to go the extra mile for the business. "This year I took the team, and partners, to Dublin for three days," he continues. "Low-cost airlines and hotels with empty rooms to fill mean trips are not as expensive as they used to be. Three days in Temple Bar was excellent and was valued by the staff and partners. The benefits – motivated and hard-working staff – definitely outweigh the costs.”

Mal Barritt, director of £15m-turnover travel firm Cruise118.com, says he’s also going ahead with Yuletide celebrations. “We think it’s even more important to have a Christmas party this year, when people have been working extra hard to ensure the business remains successful.”

Dan Sutherland, CEO of IT group Carrenza, says his Christmas party is “not a negotiable item”: “Entrepreneurs need to understand their business and their employees’ needs if they want to succeed, and this includes the need for a Christmas party. Scrooge.com points to a holding page for a reason."

“The last place to cut costs is where the staff would suffer,” comments Glen Berd, MD of online fashion firm LoveThoseShoes.com. “I would pay for the staff Christmas party from personal funds before I would cancel it.”

“You’ve got to use common sense when it comes to cost cutting,” adds Chris Barling, co-founder of ecommerce and EPoS systems supplier Actinic Software. “Cut items that make a real financial difference, not things that keep staff happy. They still need thanking – and happy staff work harder.”

Not one entrepreneur told us they’d canned Christmas.

[For those business owners who are still having to count the cost of a mince pie, check out this competition from Ping Pong. The London-based dim sum restaurant is offering to host an all-expenses-paid office Christmas party for one SME. To enter, record a short video message outlining why you deserve a free Christmas party this year and upload it here. Alternatively you can submit videos via Twitter by tweeting @pingpongdimsum with a link to the video or by posting it on Ping Pong’s Facebook group. The competition closes at midnight on Friday 11 December with winners announced on Tuesday 15 December. Winners will enjoy Ping Pong’s Luxurious Christmas party package for up to 60 people including.]

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