COVID & The Holiday Party: Most Celebrations Cancelled or Virtual This Year

COVID-19 Cancels Holiday Parties; 44% Will Not Hold a Party Specifically Due to COVID

One year after nearly 76% of companies planned to hold holiday parties, just 23% of companies are planning a year-end celebration this year, and 74% of those will be virtual events, according to survey results released Monday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

According to the annual survey on holiday party plans, conducted online in October among 189 human resources representatives at companies of various sizes and industries across the country, of those planning parties, 1.3% will hold them in person without any precautions.

“It is no surprise that many companies are forgoing the holiday party this year. It’s difficult to celebrate and implement all the precautions needed to keep everyone safe. The last thing any employer wants is an outbreak due to their year-end party,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Of the few companies that will hold in-person events, 4% reported they will modify the event due to COVID, with 100% of those mandating masks and social distancing. The survey also found 67% will limit the number of attendees, and 33% reported they will take temperatures and hold the event outside.

Overall, 54.6% of companies will not hold an event this year, the highest rate since Challenger began the survey in 2004. Of those, 44% of companies canceled plans specifically due to COVID. Another 5.3% report they are not having a party due to cost-cutting, while 4% report they never hold holiday parties.

Uncertainty is another factor in company plans, as 22.7% of companies said they were unsure whether they will host a party this year or were waiting for state and local guidance before making a decision.

Get the full report