Talking about birthdays my wife went away for a business trip 4 days before her birthday. Someone on the trip had looked up her birthday and arranged that during the evening meal she would be presented with a cake complete with candles and champagne. Imagine her horror when the lights dimmed and a table of telecoms executives sang happy birthday at the top of their lungs. Her boss who knew she was a witness was creased up on the other side of the table. It was tricky since trying to explain JW stand on birthdays to a table of drunken people was not something easy to accomplish. In the end she blew the candles excused herself and felt overwhelming guilt for months.
It is a pity that JWs are in general are so concerned about sinning that they are ill equipped to deal graciously with gestures such as these. In every office there is always someone who pushes secret santas and circulates the Birthday cards there are probably a vast number of witnesses having to deal with the impromptu birthday card or in their eyes unwelcome xmas gift. Some sacrifice a good conscience in order to be polite and not offend the giver. There is not a single person in the halls who hasn't beaten themselves up over some pharisaic edict. When you consider some of the forbidden things it is a wonder any feel worthy to go on the ministry at all for example:
Don't look at horoscopes even if they are months old. Don't drink except in moderation, don't watch programmes with sexual content, don't think about sex, don't read salacious material, don't read books or watch movies about violence, magic or spiritism, specifically don't watch Harry Potter Films, don't associate with people outside the organisation, dress modestly, don't keep up with wordly trends, don't listen to debasing music, don't think bad thoughts. There is no hope for sinners.
Now my wife sees the funny side and although not up to embracing Birthdays or Christmas doesn't feel crippled by the gestures others make with good intentions.