This year more and more companies are spreading holiday cheer by treating employees to office parties.

Research conducted last month by Battalia Winston found that 105 companies have committed to throwing a holiday party this year. This is a 17 percent increase from the 74 percent of companies that threw holiday parties last year.

Many executives are finding that a holiday party is just what their company needs to raise morale in recovering from difficult economy.

“It seems that companies are moving back to a state of normality,” said Dale Winston, CEO of Battalia.

However, nine of the companies surveyed said they would not be hosting an in-house holiday celebration. According to a study published in Forbes, some companies find that their employees are more interested in holiday bonuses rather than celebrating the season with a party.

Some companies such as law firms, drug-makers and health care companies have finished the year on the up and up are willing to spend more money on an extravagant affair.  While companies who did not fare well this year are not so fortunate.

Matt Ostroff, a partner at EBE Events & Entertainment said one of his health care clients threw a holiday party for only 100 employees last year. This year, however the company is set to celebrate with 700 attendees.

“Business definitely is better,” said Ostroff. “Companies are back to having celebrations.”

He believes that employers want to show their appreciation to their team for their efforts in achieving this year’s accomplishments. Ostroff said this applies to both small and large businesses.

“At mom-and-pops and at the major corporations, parities sort of disappeared when the economy collapsed a few years ago,” he said. “The mom-and-pops didn’t have the money; the corporations didn’t want to be seen as spending. Both are back now, strongly at both ends of the spectrum.”

Ostroff helps companies plan their holiday parties by booking entertainment such as DJ’s and live bands, which he said took a hit when the economy weakened.

This year one of his clients is taking great measures to get into the holiday spirit.

“It’s an event being held at a casino. There’s a great dinner and a dance party, then everybody’s staying overnight. They’ll give cash prizes at the door-a couple of $1,000s and some $500s,” said Ostroff.

However, there are companies that are cutting back on their holiday party spending by using in-house event planning services and having their parties at restaurants rather than lavish locations.

New York party planner Linda Kaye said many companies are swapping holiday parties for team building exercises. She believes the exchange ultimately serves a company’s core purpose: “To bring your firm together in a very positive and creative way.”

Kaye said that several New York companies are uniting to raise money and provide relief to Hurricane Sandy victims.

She finds that rich people within her clientele are willing to spend more money on events such as company parties, birthdays and children’s parties.

“There was a period when everyone was holding back, no matter how much money they had.” Each day’s news brought new reason to worry about the economy or the stock market. Now, things seem to have leveled off,” said Kaye.

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