Nine out of 10 companies expect to throw a holiday work party this month, according to a recently released report by the executive search firm Battalia Winston.

“From the beginning the study has been a reliable barometer of both prevailing economic conditions and corporate confidence,” said Battalia Winston CEO Dale Winston in a statement.

As it turns out, confidence seems to be rising. In 2010, 79% of companies polled expected to host a holiday party. Last year, only 74% of companies planned to bring the party to the workplace.

Why the increased nod to office holiday festivities this year? Of the 105 companies surveyed, 42% called building employee morale the main reason for the year-end bash. Another 33% are holding a holiday party to celebrate a good year.

While this year may promise more holiday office parties, they probably won't be as raucous as years past. According to the survey, 43% of company holiday parties will take place during lunch and 21% of the parties will be booze-free.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, it seems that companies are moving back to a state of normality,” Winston said. “Parties are still the last vestige of company sociability.”

That being said, employees can still survive the holiday office party while avoiding any social pitfalls or awkward encounters. But as Inc.’s Geoffrey James explains, “Heck, it’s only one night a year.”