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Company holiday parties will still be held

This undated phocourtesy Safeway shows holiday table. Entertaining expert Debi Lilly recommends simple decorating tips achieve classic red-and-green color scheme

This undated photo courtesy of Safeway shows a holiday table. Entertaining expert Debi Lilly recommends simple decorating tips to achieve a classic red-and-green color scheme for a holiday party buffet, including scattered red rose petals, evergreen boughs, red ribbon and red candles. (AP Photo/Safeway)

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Updated: December 24, 2011 8:15AM

Company parties aren’t expected to take a hit this year. Nearly 70 percent of companies still plan to hold holiday parties, about the same as last year, according to an annual survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

But that’s still down from the 90 percent of surveyed employers that held parties in 2007, the Chicago-based outplacement firm said.

Ninety-five percent of those holding parties this year plan to spend about the same as they did last year, the survey found.

Fewer companies will hold their shindigs on company premises. Thirty percent said they would do so, down from 53 percent last year.

For those planning to attend company parties, John Challenger, chief executive officer of the firm, offers this advice on making the most of the opportunity:

† Don’t be a wallflower. Use the occasion to interact with senior executives whom you don’t see on a daily basis or to introduce yourself to other individuals outside your department who might help your career.

† Avoid talking shop with the boss. Instead, find out about his or her interests outside of the office. That personal connection could help you at another time when you have ideas to pitch.

† Broaden your horizons. If invited to other companies’ parties, go. This presents an opportunity to expand your professional network, which is critical in an era when some employers are still downsizing.

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