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Company Christmas parties making post-pandemic return


COVID-19 made company Christmas parties a thing of the past, but in 2022, they are happening once again.

Byrun Stedmann is looking forward to next Friday’s company Christmas party. His work held one last year, but it was limited by pandemic precautions.

“At some point in time, life does have to get back to normal,” said Stedmann.

In the kitchen at Truffles Catering in Central Saanich, it’s all hands on deck. More staff have been added to keep-up with demand.

“We’ve seen a big rebound,” said Alistair Eason, the company's general manager.

On Thursday night, the company catered an event for 600 people.

“I think a lot of companies are looking to celebrate their teams, so we’ve seen a full return of event catering,” said Eason.

“It’s really important for businesses and government offices to get together as a group,” said Joel Chudleigh, sales and catering manager at the Strathcona Hotel and Sticky Wicket Pub.

The hotel and pub is sitting at around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic Christmas party bookings.

“If I answer my phone this afternoon, I’ll have three more requests for parties today,” said Chudleigh. “Groups of 15, 20, 25, 30, trying to fit in something for the last minute … That will go on, all the way until about the 20th.”

“Hotels are steady and busy on weekends,” said Bill Lewis, General Manager of Magnolia Hotel and Spa and Chair Person of the Greater Victoria Hotel Association.

Meanwhile, hotel occupancy rates are sitting around 50 to 60 per cent, which Greater Victoria Hotel Association chair Bill Lewis says is good for the offseason.

International travel is still down, with many rooms being filled by domestic or U.S. travellers. Recently, on weekends, it’s people looking for a night away from home after a staff party.

“I think one of the terms we like to use is 'pent-up demand,'” said Lewis. “I’m going to have that family event. I’m going to have the Christmas party.”

Stedmann said he's is still cautious about mingling in a group setting, but knows getting together with coworkers during the Christmas season is important.

“It’s nice to be out and it’s nice to have a life again,” said Stedmann. Top Stories

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