It's mid November, the time when many businesses start looking to book their Christmas do.

Business Argus has been asking the local business community if they are ahead of the game and if so, what they have planned for the festive season.

Liz Maher, director, Centurion VAT Specialists, Langstone

Centurion always aims to have a Christmas lunch with the whole team. It's important in any business to have an opportunity to get your team together outside of work, to share a laugh and thank people for their commitment and support over the year. In planning where to go we like to pick a venue for lunch so that the team feels it is time that the business is giving rather than an evening event that comes out of their own time. There's always a debate on where to go but it's the draw of good food and a place where we can chat rather than a "dinner and a show" venue. This year with the fantastic range of new restaurants on our doorstep in Newport we are going to Mojo's in Clarence Place. I've tried it for lunch and the good food combined with a fantastic cocktail menu, relaxed and friendly environment got the team's vote.

Nikki Thomas, HR officer, Harding Evans, Newport

We are counting down the days until our Christmas party on December 23. We are very lucky to have a social committee, made up of employees from various areas of the business who have been busy planning our party throughout the course of the year. Our partners take the Christmas party as a chance to say thank you to our staff for their hard work and dedication over the last 12 months. We hire out a venue and provide our employees with a meal, drinks, entertainment and free transport to get everyone home safely. With a workforce of 120, and still growing, it is a great way to get all employees, new and existing, to ‘down tools’ and mix together socially while enjoying the festivities. It is also the time of year which sees the unveiling of the highly anticipated Harding Evans annual calendar which, with some clever use of photo shop and some IT wizardry, keeps the laughs continuing through the year.

Ed Gooderham, Green & Co Accountants and Tax Advisors, Cwmbran

December and January are especially busy months in the world of accountancy, so taking time-out from the work environment for a festive get-together is particularly enjoyable for us. Every year we take our staff out for a hearty lunch and a few drinks, to celebrate not only Christmas, but also another successful year in the practice. We have fun (and sometimes embarrassment!) opening our Secret Santa gifts, before taking over the microphone in the bar to prove that accountants can sing too (well, maybe not all of them!). Thoughts of teams, managers, bosses and deadlines are put to one side for the day, but spending away time like this can be a great bonding tool for working together successfully in the New Year.

Az Ashraf, A2Z Computing, Newport

For more than 21 years A2Z Computing has always been a team player looking after the staff. Every year we have team building events away. We feel it is important to always look after our staff, and as the saying goes, if you look after them they will look after you. Normally, we book tables at a Black Tie Event in the Celtic Manor and treat everyone to food and drinks. This year A2Z Computing will start the celebrations in a new venue, still to be decided. Some lucky venue will be looking after us!

Kate Richards, Territory Manager, Budget Vets

We love a good party and have a few throughout the year. We've already planned our Christmas party at the Millennium Centre in Fresh Restaurant. It’s a three course meal, wine on the table, and we are having a ceilidh band, so lots of dancing! Then out to Cardiff Bay until the early hours. It's all paid for by the company for each member of staff and their partner. It's expensive but we do this as we appreciate how hard our staff work all through the year and it’s a lovely way to thank them for their hard work and dedication so we like to see them let their hair down and enjoy themselves!

Fiona Weaver, Hutchings and Thomas Chartered Surveyors, Newport

For this year's ‘The Estates Office’ Christmas party we will be making full use of the opportunities now available at Friars Walk and booking somewhere very soon! It will of course be a Christmas jumper themed. It is an important event and a good excuse for all our tenants at The Estates Office to get to know each other.

David Pell, owner, The Ridgeway Bar & Kitchen, Newport

As I’m sure you can imagine, Christmas is our busiest time of the year and we are flat out hosting Christmas parties for private and business bookings from the last week of November until January 2. There has certainly been a significant increase in the number of bookings being received this year compared to previous ones. I would suggest this is due to two factors, one being the upturn in the economy with people and businesses being more confident to treat themselves and their staff and the other being the growing reputation of the Ridgeway as a venue for good food and drinks.

David Barnes, managing director, DB Public Relations, Newport

For the last couple of years independent and sole trader South Wales creatives like me have gathered for an 'Independent's Day' Christmas dinner at The Lamb, in Newport, with some of us, Claire Broome, of Parade Design and Ian Hall, of Hall Photographic, for example, then going on into town for a drink or two for an excellent end to a fine festive evening in the 'Port.

John Newell, owner, Kingston Newell Estate Agents, Newport

It’s been a very successful year for the business and I want to thank the team for their hard work and dedication so we will be heading out somewhere although it is at present to be decided. Do we try one of the new restaurants in Friars Walk and head back to the Ridgeway where we went last year? I’ll also be attending a few business networking Christmas meals which provide a great opportunity to informally mix with clients and contacts.

Tristan Lewis, business development manager, Howells Solicitors, Newport

It is so important to reward our staff and thank them for their hard work over the year. We have booked a local hotel and will be enjoying a three course meal, DJ and bar. Howells has grown significantly, and the Christmas party is a great opportunity for our Newport team to join up with staff from the other five offices to socialise together. So often they speak to each other on the phone that it is nice to get together as a company. We also have a summer party where all the staff are invited for food/drinks .

Natalie Poynton, director, Xpress Recruitment, Newport

There will be three full time members of the team at Christmas and we will be celebrating a very strong start for Xpress Recruitment. We haven’t booked anywhere yet but having already visited Friars Walk twice since it opened, I think we will certainly be visiting one of the new restaurants there. We think it is very important for businesses to reward their staff for their efforts during the year. There is no harm in letting your hair down but employers do need to be sensible both when planning and during the party otherwise things might not turn out as intended!

Stephen Thompson, partner, Darwin Gray, Langstone

The lead-up to Christmas will involve taking delivery of a real Christmas tree, competitive pod decorating and then a drinks night out starting in the office with Christmas quiz, secret Santa, food and then into town. We are having our sit-down meal at The Bistro Penarth in January when it is a bit quieter – as we have done over the last few years. Christmas parties are about morale and also providing a nice seasonal distraction from work.