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December 24, 2021

Did you have to pay for your office party this holiday?

We’ve all heard the Scrooge-inspired horror stories that went down in Canadian office buildings this year.

They took away our water coolers. They don’t even give us pens to use anymore. We pretty much need an order from the Prime Minister to use the workplace printer.

But for all the crap you took, there was always that holiday office party, the one slot on the calendar where you could stuff your face and get liquored up on the company’s dime. It was only one night, but – damnit – you earned it. It made everything worthwhile.

Only, wait a second, they wouldn’t take that away too, would they?

According to the Budgets Are Sexy blog, a disturbing amount of companies yanked the “complimentary” tag from their holiday parties this year.

Citing numerous Twitter feeds complaining about the change (“@yousuckatkijiji: Same deal at my company, ‘til the ‘staff association’ helped fund it. $25 per, plus cash. Times have changed…”) it’s become apparent that businesses weren’t about to stomach an office bash in this economy.

“Wow, that’s wrong,” Tweets @nicoledixon. “Isn’t the point of a holiday party to reward employees for their hard work through the year…GEESH!”

Now, we know what you’re immediately thinking. Of course they canned the free office parties. Those things cost what, $20,000-$30,000 each? That’s money that just isn’t around right now.

Problem is, we’d be a lot more accepting of that logic if cutting the food/drink holiday handouts helped keep people off the layoff list this year. Which, by most accounts, it did not.

So should workers be miffed they have to foot the bill on a party they likely don’t want to be at anyway? Yeah, you could certainly say they have a case.

What do you think? Did you have to pay for your office’s party this holiday, and were workers upset if they did?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...