Time to start planning company Christmas party

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Although Thanksgiving is not yet here, and Halloween still lurks a few weeks away, area businesses are already in various stages of planning Christmas parties.

"Yes, we're having one," said Dru Reeves of Horizon Screen Printing in Cape Girardeau. "We'll have a lunch catered here between Thanksgiving and Christmas. "We invite our employees, customers and vendors. There's usually 75 to 80 people here."

Reeves said the planning is done by Rhoda Reeves, who is semi-retired from the company she founded. He said she will probably begin thinking about the date by the end of October.

"It's a little too early for her to think about the details," said Reeves. "But we're planning on having a party."

Van de Ven Certified Public Accountants in Cape Girardeau is an established business with a new name, and a Christmas party is in the works.

"We plan on having a party at Deerfield, a banquet hall," said office manager Annette Ressel. "I already called Robyn Hospice, who is an entertainer with Mike Dumey. I know the food will be catered. I'll be talking to Robyn again."

Ressel said it's her job to plan and coordinate the party.

At the Standard Democrat newspaper in Sikeston, receptionist Dana Copeland said the company will have a catered dinner for the 50-some employees. She said the publisher will be picking the date for the dinner.

The date of the Christmas party for Kaelin Dental Group in Cape Girardeau has already been picked. It will be Dec. 9.

"We always rent a place, and we go to different places most years," said the office manager. "We're a small office so organizing is pretty easy. We don't follow a certain protocol, although we do get together and talk about dates, then we vote on the date and the majority rules."

The business averages 12 employees, and there is a gift exchange.

At Technology and Networking in Scott City, president Jason Eftink said he's sure there will be a Christmas party. Eftink said he planned the parties when the business started about eight years ago. In recent years, marketing manager Timbra Hampton has been in charge.

"I know she hasn't started planning it yet, but we might hold it at Dave and Buster's in St. Louis," said Eftink. "It's a big arcade place. We'd give everyone game tokens and there's a big buffet."

Eftink said he'd reserve a block of rooms in a hotel for employees who wanted to spend the night.

Ashley Robinson, marketing coordinator for Big River Telephone in Cape Girardeau, said this year's Christmas party "will probably be bigger and better than before."

She said that parties in the past few years have been held at Harrah's in Metropolis, Ill. Employees traveled by bus to the riverboat where there is entertainment such as gambling.

"It has a great buffet," she said. "But this year we might do something different. The managers will brainstorm and take a vote."

Terri Foley of Cape Girardeau, a special events planner, advises companies to start planning their Christmas party eight months to a year in advance. She said companies should be careful not to choose a date that would conflict with a large public event, because it could affect attendance.

"Since Christmas is such a busy time, caterers should be booked at least eight months in advance," said Foley. "Ask caterers to provide at least three menus to choose from, and sample the food before selecting the menu for your party."

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