New tradition: Senator Santa?
December 3rd, 2011
08:30 AM ET
10 years ago

New tradition: Senator Santa?

(CNN) – Republicans and Democrats in the Senate may not agree on everything, but 58 of them are teaming up for one measure that doesn't involve tax policy or budget showdowns: Christmas presents.

In what's billed as the first-ever Senate "Secret Santa" gift exchange, the lawmakers are engaging in a rare bipartisan effort meant to bring a little more "jolly" to the halls of the chamber.

The terms?

Republicans drew names of Democrats - and vice versa - when the participating senators kicked off the tradition before Thanksgiving.

More Democrats (37) than Republicans (21) signed up, however, leaving some Democrats to give to each other when the participants exchange presents and reveal their identities at a holiday party in mid-December.

Gifts must be wrapped and cost no more than $10.

The effort was launched by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, who recalls becoming friends with a bully after drawing his name for the traditional gift exchange in grade school.

"I thought 'Secret Santa' would be a good way to cut through the partisan divide here in the Senate," Franken said in a statement. "And who knows, maybe it will create some unlikely friendships."

A handful of other senators helped kick off the exchange, including Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), and Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas).

Filed under: Senate
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. JulesT

    They should give each other "integrity", would cost nothing but pride, and would be a gift to all.

    December 3, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  2. petena

    ...more Democrats than Republicans signed up............. What does that tell you? Republicans don't change. Not even at Christmas.

    December 3, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  3. CurryVA

    Great idea! We used to do this in school, work, and many other places. We're going to do this for my non-profit organization as well.

    Good Luck and Merry Christmas!

    December 3, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. Calling them as I see them

    It appears Al Franken's total contribution to the Senate is the Secret Santa idea based on his grade school experience. What in heck were the voters of Minnesota thinking when they voted this clown into office??? A really BAD JOKE played on the rest of the country.

    December 3, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Keith in Austin

    Harry Reid will be getting a lump of coal!

    December 3, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    They should probably all give each other lumps of coal.

    December 3, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Steve, Chicago IL

    The smell of stinkbombs is going to be very difficult to wash out, but at least the GOP is used to their own smell already.

    December 3, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |