BEND, Ore. -

Holiday season means parties -- including your office holiday party.

Christmas parties are on the upswing on the High Desert, a sure sign of the economic rebound.

The past few years have been hard on businesses.

"Yeah -- the last six, pretty much," A.J. Cohen, owner of Local Joe in downtown Bend, said Wednesday with a laugh.

But this holiday season, there is more reason for laughter.

"Things are a little bit brighter now -- nothing to dramatic, but a little brighter," Cohen said. "We've been in business almost 20 years and we've had a holiday party almost every year."

Some years have been harder than others, but this year isn't one of them.     

Jackson's Corner had such a good year they are are able to forgo a day of business for their holiday party.

"This year, we're closing down for the whole day and letting people take the morning off, and then we're meeting up downtown for the party in the evening," said Ashlee Larkin, assistant manager at Jackson's Corner.

"I mean a whole day for us... it's a breakfast, lunch and dinner," Larkin said.

It could be a lot of money, missing out on three different rounds of customers.

"We feel like it's worth it to celebrate that, and it's been a great year," Larkin said.

Bend's Blue Bites Catering is in the same upbeat boat.

"Every single month just keeps getting bigger than the one before, and this year to date will be our biggest year yet," said Janie Thornton, sales manager at Blue Bite. "We're seeing a pretty nice-sized profit increase."

They are especially seeing it this holiday season.

"We are just going crazy with holiday parties," Thornton said.

More companies are actually renting venues.

"A lot of the larger companies are starting to have parties, and the parties are a little larger," said Rocky Adrianson, manager of The Riverhouse.

As the economy slowly rebounds, there's more to celebrate.

"I think companies are feeling a little more comfortable celebrating year-end success," Adrianson said.

"We're just grateful for the community for making this a place that we can thrive," Larkin said.