The bleak economic outlook is making for a lean holiday party season in New York, the New York Times reports. Big companies are cutting or drastically scaling back their normally lavish annual bashes. Socialites—especially those close to the finance industry—are throwing lower-key parties, forgoing cut flowers, and serving comfort food. Potluck suppers are suddenly au courant. It's not just about penny-pinching, but matching the mood.
"Everyone is very conscious of the fact that while Rome is burning, we shouldn't be having a great time," one caterer tells the Times. "Nobody's ordering caviar as a first course." Companies are shifting to less-expensive restaurants, uninviting spouses, cutting out showy stemware. "I keep hearing, 'We don't want to be seen as another AIG,' which is code for 'unnecessarily excessive in these times,' " another caterer reports.