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Wall Street Holiday Party Watch 2010

Tuesday, 14 Dec 2010 | 3:39 PM ET

It's party time again on Wall Street.

Burke | Triolo Productions | FoodPix | Getty Images

For the past two years, the Grinch has reigned on Wall Street. Obviously no one was in the mood for parties in 2008, the year Wall Street supposedly died. And in 2009, many firms cancelled their official holiday parties for appearance's sake. No Wall Street firm was willing to risk the public getting hold image of bankers sipping Champagne at the Museum of Modern Art while the country sunk into the Great Recession.

This year, however, the parties are returning. They are smaller and less extravagant than they were before the crash of 2008. But they are definitely happening.

The wealth management division of Goldman Sachs is hosting a party tonight. It's being held in the cafeteria, however, rather than in a swank hotel or major cultural center. But don't feel too bad for the Goldmanistas. The cafeteria in their new building is a site to behold, with stunning views of New York City.

Our spies tell us that tonight's event at Goldman won't be a traditional party at all. Instead, members of the wealth management group will gather to wrap 2,000 gifts that will sent to the families of overseas service men and women.

Bank of America's Merrill Lynch is not having an official party. But the managing directors of many desks have been holding quieter parties around the city, typically renting out a bar for a few hours.

Barclays Capital has an official party—for the children of employees. Gone are the wild parties that once took place in the Lehman Brothers era.

Blackstone threw a combination holiday party/25th anniversary party last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a decidedly tame affair.

DE Shaw, which used to throw lavish parties that included entertainment from the likes of the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, is having a party in the New York Public Library later this week. One person familiar with the matter said the word had gone out that it would be a "low-key" affair.

The private client group at UBS threw a party last week at the Renaissance Hotel. "Low key" was again the watchword as most guests were gone by 10 pm.

The hedge fund Kynnikos is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a holiday party that is restricted to employees and their spouses. "Probably not even worth crashing," one person familiar with the matter said.

JP Morgan Chase has bucked the trend. It held a holiday party last year in its cafeteria. But this year the cafeteria is under construction, so the party has been cancelled. Nonetheless, many of the business units in JP Morgan are throwing parties of their own.

We're still researching holiday plans at Morgan Stanley , Deutsche Bank , Credit Suisse , and Citigroup . Also digging into plans for hedge fund parties. Help us out! Send an email to netnet@cnbc.com or a text beginning with the words NetNet to 26221.

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