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Wed Dec 7, 2011 11:11am EST (Reuters) - Companies planning to spend thousands of dollars for staff Christmas parties, even with open bars, shouldn't bother because most U.S. employees would prefer money.

Nearly three quarters of 2,574 workers questioned in a Harris poll said they would opt for a cash bonus, followed by 62% who would prefer a salary increase and 32% who wanted more paid time off.

Only 4% put a Christmas party on the top of their holiday list.

"Until we see the impacts of the Great Recession further recede, when it comes to what employees want it starts with cash and other financial perks to make sure that ends can be met over the holidays," said Rusty Rueff, of Glassdoor, the jobs listing firm that commissioned the poll.

A grocery gift card, being able to work from home for a year and company stocks or shares were also among the most popular items on the list.

Ten percent of workers wanted a health care subsidy, 8% said gym membership would be useful and 3% said they wanted a commuter subsidy.

Only 2% opted for a gold watch or other accessory.

Nearly three out of four employees said they were eligible for a bonus this year and 58% expected to receive one.

© 2010 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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