Office gatherings aren't always easy events to plan or attend, because most people act differently in front of their peers, supervisors, and subordinates. Add spouses and dates to the situation, mix together different departments, and you have a challenge. If it's a good party, however, the goodwill created at these events can carry the company a long way. Whether you plan to host a lavish or modest party, be as generous as the company's budget allows. Typical functions involve renting space in a hotel, catering a meal, and paying a DJ (d-j) or band for entertainment. An entertainer can help break the ice and cover the awkward silences at the beginning of a party. An alternative to help make your event memorable might be to select an unusual location, such as an aquarium, art museum, sightseeing boat, rodeo, or ranch. Management should go out of their way to mingle with staff. Make sure there's enough food, and be certain employees are informed in advance about the company's policy on drinking and substance abuse, to avoid any misunderstandings. If you serve alcohol, employees must know that they're welcome to attend and have a good time, but they're expected to act responsibly. In addition, local laws regarding use of alcohol and possible legal liabilities should be determined ahead of time. Provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, as well as alternative transportation. At the end of the event, well-chosen party favors can extend the good feelings after the party's over. These can include such items as gift certificates, gift-boxed food stuffs, or ornaments or fountain pens with the company logo. Post photos from the party on the company bulletin board or corporate web site so employees can share the experience with their families, customers, or others who didn't attend the event.