What to wear to the Office Christmas Party when it has been downsized due to the recession.
Forget the challenge of Dress Down Fridays - In these recessionary times, the new sartorial challenge is what to wear to the Downsized Christmas Party.
Many companies are facing difficult trading conditions in the current global recession, and are looking to cut expenses as a way to survive.
Often one of the most noticeable budget cuts to be made is the staff Annual Christmas Party. Some companies reduce the budget drastically, others eliminate it all together.
For many employees, the annual Christmas Party is an event that is both looked forward to and dreaded in equal measure. One of the main challenges is deciding what to wear. No-one wants to stand out like a sore thumb by being over or under dressed.
So what do you wear to the new Downsized Christmas Party?
I work as a Sales Assistant for a Fashion Shop and in previous years the company that I work for has provided each of its 70 stores with a generous budget for their Christmas Parties.
The budget for each store is usually about £25 a head, so you can imagine that the budget runs into tens of thousands of Pounds.
In previous years, the Christmas Party for the store that I work at has taken place in a nice local restaurant.
Beforehand, most of the staff get really excited or worried about what to wear. We probably spend more time during the week before the party chatting about our outfits than doing any work.
For last years Christmas Party, we all decided to dress up very glamorously. We all had fabulous party dresses hanging in our wardrobes that never see the light of day and last year's Christmas Party was our chance to get dressed up to the nines.
This years Christmas Party was a very different affair.
Due to the dire economic situation, the company slashed its Christmas Party budget from £25 per person to £7.50 per person.
This obviously proved a challenge to the stores and being a creative bunch, the staff at our store came up with the perfect solution - to have the Christmas Party in the shop itself.
With a bit of scouting around, we found a few small tables, pushed theM together and spread out some tablecloths. We all managed to sit around the long communal table on an assortment of stools, deck-chairs and cardboard boxes from the stock room.
We spent the budget of £7.50 a head on takeaways from two local restaurants, one of which was an Indian restaurant. Later in the evening the other restaurants kindly delivered a selection of desserts for us all - all for free.
For drinks, we each brought along a bottle of wine or beer and all had a geat time.
However, as usual, the challenge had been what to wear. The party dresses we had worn last year were too over the top and wearing jeans was just too casual.
Most of us chose to dress in a similar way - a smart / casual skirt or trousers with a casual evening top with a bit of sparkle.
Over the years, I have been to many office Christmas Parties, usually very expensive and dressy occassions, but this years was definately the most unusual one and had a real sense of community spirit. For many of my colleagues who are just starting out in their working life, it was their first Christmas party.
I am sure it will be remembered by everyone for many years to come.