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UPBEAT BOSSES FORESEE MERRY CHRISTMAS

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The people who probably have the most to say about how Americans will fare this holiday season - the bosses - say this should be one of the merriest Christmases in years, complete with holiday bonuses, office parties and an optimistic business outlook for 1995.

The annual Cuvee Dom Per-ig-non (a champagne company) survey of some 500 chief executive officers nationwide found that:- 70 percent of CEOs are more optimistic about the nation's business outlook than they were at this time last year. Twenty-three percent feel about the same, and just 7 percent report they are less optimistic as they look ahead to 1995.

- 72 percent of the CEO's are having office parties for their employees this season, and 67 percent are giving holiday bonuses.

- Top executives are in a partying mood as 53 percent say they'll be attending five to nine holiday parties during this holiday season. Twenty-two percent will attend 10 or more gatherings and another 22 percent say they will hit three or four parties. Only 3 percent plan a relatively quiet holiday season with one or two parties.

- Three-quarters of the executives say they plan to spend "about the same" as they did last year on holiday gifts, while 21 percent will spend more. Just 4 percent say they will spend less this year.

- Sixty-three percent of the business executives say they'll be traveling this holiday season. The top destinations for Christmas vacations are Florida (29 percent), the Caribbean (13 percent), Colorado (10 percent), California (8 percent), Europe (7 percent) and Arizona (6 percent).

- When asked about their personal holiday traditions, 61 percent cited parties with friends and family, ice-skating, tree-trimming and opening gifts on Christmas Eve.

- When asked to name the one thing they'd really like to have this Christmas, 18 CEOs asked for "good health and happiness" for their families. Another nine said they just want their families to be together.

On a more materialistic note, the most frequently requested gifts were golf lessons, golf equipment, vacation trips, jewelry (primarily watches or gold cufflinks) and cars, with Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus "or perhaps a red Porsche convertible" heading the list of preferred marques.

Computer equipment, especially "a new laptop," was on a few wish lists, and an altruistic wish, "Peace on Earth," tied with "a little peace and quiet."

Rounding out the top dozen executive gift requests were fly-fish-ing equipment, new yachts, "good business in the coming year," and grandchildren.

Do they expect to actually receive their heart's desire for Christmas 1994? Fifty-one percent said "yes," while 21 admitted there was no way. Twenty-eight percent said "maybe."

Among those who were least hopeful was the CEO who said he wants a "size 46 suit" but conceded he's unlikely to get it because, despite his best efforts at diet and exercise, he'll very likely still be a size 50 come Christmas morning.

Another executive said his wish - for a Republican Congress - already came true in November.