While some companies are cutting spending by eliminating teambuilding outings and seasonal celebrations, experts see real value in gathering employees outside of work. Smart Meetings makes the case here and here; US News and World Report outlined the five best employee bonding activities in August. Our favorite? Shared meals. “From celebrating a colleague's birthday to marking a long-time employee's retirement with a happy hour, breaking bread is an inherently social experience,” says the article. To put these ideas into practice, consider kicking off the new year with a team-building activity, or celebrate 2012 accomplishments with a company holiday party. Hornblower has affordable options for groups – and budgets – of all sizes.