My first Christmas was in 1999. I did not know until right before if I would be able to do it. (I had only been out of the WT for a year) But after my first Thanksgiving with Nick's family, I quickly saw that the holidays for most people are no different than how we treated them (albeit a day or so off)...dinner with the family.
So I spent both Christmas Eve & Christmas with Nick & his family. The only presents I bought were for Nick. Some of the presents Nick & I opened between the 2 of us at home. He was so impressed he made me rewrap them so he could open them up at his family's house the next night. He faked surprise! His family was so impressed that I knew how to give gifts.......like JW's never do, right?! Even more impressive was that my gifts for Nick were awesome, above & beyond the stuff people give because they have to. They were esspecially for him!
So I decided then and there that my participation in the holidays would not turn into what I hated seeing in "worldly" people when still a JW. I hated hearing people complain about all the stuff they had to buy for this & that person, just because of the holiday, or just because that person had given them something the year before.
When I give, I still give with the mentality that I was raised with as a JW.......I give out of pure love and the want to please someone I deeply care for. I will never give a gift just because I have to. I don't have to! For those others who I may not particularly be close to I am more than pleased to give a card showing my appreciation for their friendship.
I have even tried to encourage Nick to do the same. Last Father's Day he went crazy trying to think of a last minute gift for his dad. He ended up buying something so stupid just to appease the holiday. I told him that if there wasn't anything he knew his dad really wanted, how much better it would be to spare him of a stupid gift he didn't want and instead write a beautiful letter telling him of your appreciation of him being your dad. Isn't that what the holiday was all about anyway!
The point is, Moxy, do what feels comfortable to you and not what may be expected by other people. Try to find a balance! Don't get caught up in the hype, give because you truly want to give.
Just my thoughts.....
P.S. If you would like to do something for your office but not be forced to buy gifts for each individual person, do something nice that the whole office can enjoy like bring in bagels for breakfast, cookies to snack on during the day or take a couple of guys out for a drink. Gifts don't have to have ribbons on them!