I am against giving the boss big group gifts altogether. Gifts, if any in the workplace, should come from the top down. It's one thing to give a small token gift, but a large gift that requires many people to put in $12.50 is, IMHO, inappropriate. I'm glad you did your own thing and am glad you refused to participate. I wonder if anyone else refused as well.
I am sooooo against this. I remind my managers every year that gifts go top down and they should not spend their time and money on me
. I gift to them and it is always a visa gidt card. I tell them - I could take you all out to a fancy $$$ lunch or give you the money and you can go out with your significant other or spend it on lottery tickets
. They all laugh and are appreciative. We work closely with each other every day and I know we would all see a fancy lunch ( for just the four of us as a chore ) .
My secretary is married to a very successful business owner, no children , loves to shop and is very fashionable. She has exquisite taste, loves to buy gifts and every year gets me a stunning scarf - I always accept it graciously - because she loves doing it. ( and I wear them all the time ) .
You are absolutely fine and you boss should really put a stop tp big departmental gifts. ( Token smaller things are fine - one of my managers went to a Portuguese bakery and brought me a dozen donts to share with my family, another always buys me a paperback romance novel ( kind of a joke between us ) .