Aren't there rules for gift exchanges?

I learned a lesson last night.

We had a Christmas party for all the volunteers who work at los Guizaros. Los Guizaros is the neighborhood where we help out on Saturdays. The party was a lot of fun. I took some pictures. I'll post them soon. I can't post them now, because we lent our camera to someone to use today.

Here's where I messed up.

I took a couple pictures of the group and put the camera away. We then began exchanging gifts. A couple weeks ago, we had all chosen an "amigo secreto" and purchased gifts for that person. The only condition was that the gift had to be more than 2,000 colones (about $4). I got a t-shirt, and Robin got a candle, some earings and some chocolate. We both bought the same gift (a 2007 planner) for the people we had chosen, but that was not a problem. Those all seem like pretty normal gifts right? So far, nothing out of the ordinary for a Christmas party gift exchange. Then, the real fun started. As we opened the gifts, we showed everyone, so they could ooh and aw . . . again pretty standard gift exchange behaviour. Well, one lady opened her gift and held up a nice pair of underwear for everyone to see. I was a bit shocked . . . for a few reasons.

1. Seriously, underwear at a Christmas gift exchange among friends?!
2. She proudly held 'em up for all to see
3. Nobody else thought this was a bit strange

I felt stupid for not having the camera out. That would have been a great picture. I thought about getting it out after that, but surely nobody else would get underwear. Wrong. Three more women (thats right . . . four total) proceeded to open and display their new undies. Robin and I were speachless, especially when one (how do I put this nicely) "not young" lady held up the newest addition to her top drawer. It may take awhile for that image to be erased from our minds . . . and so close to Christmas. A couple of the ladies received rather small underwear (I guess thats the best way to describe it). Robin was sitting next to Estefanie, one of the girls who is often working on Saturdays. She and Robin were discussing the interesting gifts. Estefanie has been studying English and wanted to know what the smaller underwear were called in English. Robin told her, but she didn't quite understand, so she got out a pen and had Robin spell it for her. She wrote out T-H-O-N-G on her hand . . . on her hand!! And still, I sat there with no camera.

The moral of the story:

Don't put your camera away too early. You never know when a bunch of older women are going to start displaying underwear, which would make a great picture for your blog.