I was a little surprised by the results of a study that recently came across my desk: Fewer companies plan to host holiday celebrations this year than at any time in the past 22 years, according to Amrop Battalia Winston, which has been tracking holiday party trends since 1989. Seventy-nine percent of businesses surveyed this year say they will hold some type of holiday celebration, down from 81 percent in both 2009 and 2008. What\u2019s the reason for the Scrooge-like attitude on the part of some businesses? It\u2019s not all about money; just 27 percent are nixing the party to cut costs. But more than half (55 percent) of those who aren\u2019t planning a party say it\u2019s \u201cnot appropriate\u201d to celebrate in today\u2019s economy. In contrast, 37 percent of those hosting an event are doing it to celebrate a good 2010, 33 percent to boost employee morale, and 29 percent to show their optimism about 2011. Personally, I think making it through these past few challenging years is reason enough to celebrate. So if you can afford it, it just seems foolish to me not to host some type of holiday event. I\u2019m a big believer in letting employees know how much you value them. Especially in today\u2019s economy, when your staff is working long and hard to help your business succeed, what\u2019s more \u201cappropriate\u201d than giving them some type of reward? While a holiday party may seem like a small thing, it\u2019s an important occasion for bonding, team-building and looking forward. Worried that your staff will criticize you for spending money on a holiday party when they\u2019d rather have cash? If that\u2019s a concern, use the money you would have spent on a caterer for bonuses\u2014but don\u2019t skip the event altogether. Have everyone chip in to hold a holiday potluck or cake baking contest. Get your employees involved in planning, and it just might be one of the most fun times you ever have. Celebrating sends an optimistic message. And in fact \u201coptimism\u201d seems to be key here. In announcing the results of the survey, Amrop Battalia Winston CEO Dale Winston noted, \u201cThere remains a deep divide in organizations\u2019 economic outlook and how they perceive their 2010 performance.\u00a0 Fundamentally, those having holiday parties this year are much more optimistic about the year ahead, while those not having parties are more pessimistic.\u201d There\u2019s an old saying every salesperson knows: \u201cFake it till you make it.\u201d In other words, it\u2019s important to present a good face to the world\u2014and that includes your employees. If you don\u2019t feel confident enough to host some sort of holiday celebration, what does that say about your business\u2019s future?