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Published 08 December 2023
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Fewer Than One in 10 Employees Want a Christmas Party This Year

Employees aren’t excited about Christmas work parties this year, according to a new NerdWallet survey. Find out what they’d prefer instead of a work do.

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Fewer than one in 10 (9%) employees would like a Christmas party, and many (39%) would prefer a voucher or gift card.

Key findings:

What would employees prefer instead of a Christmas party?

With just 9% of employees saying that they wanted a Christmas party this year, we asked them what they would prefer instead. Here’s what they said:

A voucher or gift card instead of a Christmas party39%
A day off instead of a Christmas party29%
A gift from my employer instead of a Christmas party21%
None of the above (including a Christmas party)14%
Budget for training instead of a Christmas party9%
None of the above, I would like a Christmas party9%

The percentage totals more than 100% because respondents could select all the options that applied to them.

Only two-fifths of employers are definitely having a Christmas party

The economic landscape remains tough, which may mean that holding a Christmas party isn’t high on the agenda for many UK businesses – with only two-fifths of employers definitely organising one. Hybrid and remote working may also be influencing employers’ decisions around Christmas social activities.

Even though fewer than one in 10 employees surveyed want a Christmas party, the majority (69%) plan on attending if their employer is holding one.

Just over two in five employers are covering the full cost of their party

Some employees planning on attending their Christmas party will have more to worry about financially, as 14% of workplaces won’t be covering any cost – from travel to alcohol and food.

This may reflect the challenging environment for UK businesses and in turn, increases financial pressure on some employees over the Christmas period.

Here’s what employees told us when we asked whether their employer was covering the cost of the party:

My employer is covering all the costs, including, for example, travel and other expenses41%
My employer is not covering costs outside the party, such as travel and other expenses28%
My employer is covering part of the cost, (e.g. food but no drink)13%
My employer is not covering any cost (e.g. alcohol or food)14%
Not sure3%

Is workplace Secret Santa in decline?

Fewer than one in three (29%) employees will definitely be participating in a workplace Secret Santa this year. The majority of those surveyed said they won’t be taking part, with almost one in five (19%) saying they can’t spare the money.

Here’s what employees told us when we asked why they weren’t planning on participating:

We don’t do Secret Santa54%
I don’t wish to participate25%
I can’t spare the money19%
I don’t celebrate8%
Other4%

In the tables above, the percentages may not total 100%, because of rounding. 

Methodology

A survey was conducted of 1,203 UK employees aged 16 and over during November 2023. It was carried out on behalf of NerdWallet by Censuswide following the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and ESOMAR principles.

The survey asked respondents about their attitudes towards workplace Christmas parties and celebrations, as well as whether their employers would be paying for these activities.

Image source: Getty Images

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