DEAR ABBY: I work for a small company with 25 employees. Four of us are in the office all day -- all women. To put it mildly, I have never felt accepted by these "ladies." During this past year, they've been especially hateful to me. Other employees tell me it's pure jealousy.
My problem: The holidays are now here. What should I do about participating in the traditional gift exchange at the office? Should I buy each gal a gift out of the spirit of giving, even though I have no desire to do so? Or should I make it clear that I do not wish to exchange presents, which could make matters worse? I feel stuck, Abby. Please help me out. -- TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE: Buy a lovely pastry or some other treat that everyone in the office can enjoy. Include a card with it that reads: "My budget this year does not allow me to give individual gifts to each of you. -- Enjoy! Merry Christmas." That way, you'll have participated "in the spirit of giving" without feeling hypocritical.