"Everyone is very conscious of the fact that while Rome is burning, we shouldn't be having a great time," said Sean Driscoll, a partner in Glorious Food caterers in New York. "Nobody's ordering caviar as a first course."
ABC News has canceled company-sponsored holiday celebrations this year, while restaurateur Danny Meyer said his catering company lost three "grand-scale" parties when they were canceled by three investment banks, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Those going forward with parties are planning simpler menus, fewer guests, shorter hours and a less glamorous atmosphere, the Times reported.
"It's important to get people together for a little social event at that time of year, especially when it's been as tough a year as this," said Peter Horowitz, spokesman for the Wall Street firm Shearman & Sterling.