Prior to the financial crash, Christmas parties in the banking sector were the stuff of legend.
Decadence, opulence and excess on a grand scale were the norm and if your party didn't feature a lot of alcohol fuelled hedonism, it wasn't considered to have been a success. So how do today's top earners celebrate Christmas?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
In the aftermath of the global economic meltdown, over-the-top Christmas works parties were outlawed. City traders no longer placed their Gold Cards behind the bar and ordered expensive champagne. The city's top earners did not want to be seen flaunting their wealth while the rest of us scavenged out of the bargain bin at Aldi and sales of Cristal champagne plummeted. Instead Christmas parties were dramatically scaled down and held out of the public eye so as not to attract criticism. Some big institutions even cancelled Christmas altogether – bah humbug!
The Good Times are a Rolling
With the economy now in recovery, the good times are rolling once again and Christmas parties are slowing returning to the excesses of the pre-recession years. Last year, investment bank Goldman Sachs flew 450 of its top bankers to Manhattan where they partied the night away at a black tie gala dinner held at exclusive Pier 36 on the Lower East Side. By all accounts it was a lavish affair.
In London, things are not much different and more is always better. Popular venues are booked up months in advance and many big firms hold their Christmas parties as late as February in order to secure a suitable event venue.
Planning a Themed Party
Theme is all important when planning a Christmas party and if a themed venue is available, so much the better. Legend has it that a well-known finance firm held its Christmas party at Madame Tussauds and after the event had finished, two of their famous waxworks had lost their heads and poor Jennifer Aniston was missing one of her fingers.
Winter Wonderland is apparently a popular theme over the Christmas period and those in the money have no compunction in paying event management firms to create a snowy wonderland in the middle of central London.
Private dining is also popular amongst high fliers in the city, with many private members clubs offering discretion as part of the service. Small groups can book a private room in an upmarket venue such as the Dorchester and celebrate away from the rest of society.
Christmas Breakfast… Lunch and Dinner
There is also the option of a low-key Christmas breakfast, although this doesn't always go according to plan. In theory a Christmas breakfast held somewhere stylish like the Savoy or Claridges is healthy and cheaper. However, by all accounts some Christmas breakfast bashes end up becoming all-day benders with a very messy end.
Whatever your budget, forward planning is essential if you want to enjoy a successful Christmas party, visit Venue Search London for more information on the best Christmas party venues in the capital.