holiday parties and unseemliness
The Boston Globe and Every Major Web, Print, and Broadcast Outlet are running stories on the cancellation of holiday parties this season.
I can't vouch for the quality of the Globe's data, but the survey seems about right to me: parties are down 15% since last year and cost is not the primary reason for cancelation.
I suspect that the "other reasons" responsible for cancelling parties are symbolic. It is just unseemly to party immediately before or after the layoff notices are sent, even if there is a little money in the budget for a gathering.
I understand that folks are in a somber mood, but I suspect that regular community-building rituals are especially important in tough times -- particularly when they draw attention to the good work that colleagues have completed under challenging conditions.
I've been told that my department celebrates with greater frequency than others in the Minnversity, as my dean often asks, "what manner of bacchanalia goes on in Sociology this week?" There won't be any bacchanalia at tomorrow's li'l holiday lunch, but I'm looking forward to sharing food and camaraderie with my very good friends and colleagues.