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Christmas spirit ?

The question

Construction firms can rightfully celebrate this Christmas, with the industry buoyant and a bright looking new year ahead.

But will this joy reach the man on the ground? We ask: How much festive cheer will there be at your firm's Christmas bash?

The details for this year's office party seem to be a closely guarded secret, but the good news is that there will be free food and drink. It will have to go a long way to compare to the last two years' Christmas parties while I was based on site. The funniest memory I recall was the contract manager's secretary - who'd organised the event - trying to track down the hotel manager to make a very drunken complaint while barely being able to stand.

She was furious that we'd paid a substantial amount of money to see a Beatles cover band playing at the party and that they hadn't shown up. She was determined to get a refund. The thing was that the band had been there and played a superb two-hour set to which she had been dancing away merrily, but she had been too plastered to remember anything about it!

Nic Luker, 28, engineer, London

Every year for the past four years we have, as the contractor for the underground structures of the new Bangkok mass transit, had a party in our plant yard. This may not sound particularly special, but we did have 400 guests, live bands, catering, booze flowing into the small hours and our own dance troupes who practise for months.

Everyone joins in, even the project management consultant's 20strong team of singers who ruin a perfectly good German drinking song most years. Bizarre occurrences are plentiful in Bangkok, but I remember a few years ago the photos of the night came back from the developer and there were a number of female impersonating gatecrashers captured on film. Sadly, no-one could remember them.

Unfortunately this year we are cutting costs and having a party for 200 in the local four-star hotel.

Ah well, at least I still have the photos. . .

Julian Lord, 35, senior estimator, Bangkok

As a freelance working from my front room, I shall have a small glass of sherry on Christmas Eve.

Hugh Collis, 55, independent consultant, London

This is my first year with a new firm, but I don't expect the party will be any more exciting than any previous one. It came as bit of a disappointment when we were asked to pay £20 for it, but I understand it's usual. Still, there are free drinks at the end of every month, so things could be worse. If nothing else, it will be a chance to get to know people better.

John Park, too old to party, senior engineer, Glasgow

I'm still feeling a little delicate after our Christmas party on Saturday.

I'm glad to say that Crown Castle made a very healthy contribution towards our food, accommodation and bar bill. No real scandal - although a few people had more of the 'falling down juice' than their bodies could cope with. Oh well, that's the warm-up over. Where's the next party?

Bob Lyall, 28, build manager, Scotland

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