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Xmas DecoSo the days of having 400 people at a corporate-sponsored Christmas party have been long gone since the recession hit in 2008.

But while some companies still have a little more festivity planned for their party, the typical office holiday party has gotten downsized, say local businesses.

Amanda Gain, director of Racine Civic Centre and Festival Hall, said she really didn’t see a drop off in the number of corporate-hosted holiday parties. But those parties are structured in a different way. Corporations don’t hand out drink tickets, or may ask employees to foot some of the cost of the party while others are just having holiday parties for employees’ children.

“But even the company that didn’t offer the employees drink tickets last year went back to it this year,” Gain said. “Bigger companies are still doing them, but the dynamic has changed and it’s not a free for all anymore.”

Denise Henson, associate director of sales Racine Marriott, said businesses looking to book holiday parties are coming back, but on a smaller scale.

“There for a while we didn’t see anything during the height of the recession because for couple years companies were taking a hiatus,” Henson said. “Some that used to host a party for 400 people, we’re still not seeing that.”

However, some company departments and smaller companies are starting to host parties on a smaller scale.

Corey Oakland, owner of the Racine-based Red Onion Cafe and Catering By Chef John, said he too hasn’t seen a rebound in corporate events. Still, his business is as busy as ever with smaller parties. The catering side of the business has been doing smaller holiday-themed lunches and scaled down holiday events.

“We have to accept some smaller events because it keep things spinning,” Oakland said. “We put together a 30 person event and we might break even on the whole thing, but it keeps staff employed.”

Oakland look at his business as a long-term investment.

“I like to think we do a good job whether it’s a large or small event,” he said. “We may only have 30 people, but 4-5 people may think of working with us down the road.”

Is your company hosting a holiday party? Is it smaller, bigger or staying the same? Tell us in the comments section below.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.