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Is a holiday bonus better than partying with your colleagues?

The tinsel is strewn by the cubicles with care, in hopes that guzzling drones soon will be there.

The annual office party is upon us, along with cheap booze, Costco platters and door prizes of gift-wrapped promotional swag (not to mention the occasional drunken grope in the loo).

But despite its long and proud tradition, most employees would choose cash over a Christmas party, Reuters reported.

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Nearly three quarters of 2,574 American workers surveyed in a Harris poll said they would rather get a holiday bonus than carouse with their co-workers. Only four per cent put a holiday party at the top of their list.

"Until we see the impacts of the Great Recession further recede, when it comes to what employees want it starts with cash and other financial perks to make sure that ends can be met over the holidays," said Rusty Rueff of Glassdoor, the jobs-listing firm that commissioned the poll.

But are tough economic times entirely to blame?

After all, not everyone wants to see their co-workers let their hair down, especially if it means watching them do the Macarena too.

In a recent survey by non-profit Caron Treatment Centers, more than half of those who had attended work-related festivities said they'd witnessed the following indiscretions committed by colleagues who had been drinking:

1. Flirting with a co-worker or supervisor (30 per cent)

2. Sharing inappropriate details about themselves or a co-worker (26 per cent)

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3. Arguing or becoming aggressive with a colleague or supervisor (19 per cent)

4. Engaging in sexual activity with a co-worker or supervisor while under the influence (9 per cent)

If that doesn't dampen your holiday cheer, consider the prospect of a dry office party. As Lisa Burrell, a workplace relations manager in Melbourne, Australia, pointed out to the Sidney Morning Herald, there are no rules saying bosses must supply alcohol.

Instead, she recommended that employers book an inspirational speaker or a comedian to perform in-house. Or take staff out for a big breakfast at a local café.

Afterwards, presumably, everyone would head straight back to work. Scrooge would approve.

Do you look forward to the annual office party or has the tradition had its day? Would you choose cash over a holiday bash?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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