Nothing says Merry Christmas like a holiday card from a member of Congress.
After a long year of chasing Democrats down the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a comment on the government shutdown, or hanging around for hours in the dark, dingy basement outside the room where Republicans are debating immigration reform, it's slightly surreal to find a fat envelope on your desk, containing a holiday card from that same politico, usually posing with a broad smile, surrounded by his or her family and a dog or a cat.
These jolly pictures of politicians and their families and pets are produced and paid for by campaign funds, as ethics rules forbid even sending out holiday cards with members' free franking privilege. They're stuffed and printed off site. House ethics rules state: "such materials.. may not be produced or sent using any other House resource, including office equipment or staff while on official time."
Rules have been relaxed about what goes into those cards, so politicians can now offer a "simple holiday salutation" such as Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah without getting in trouble.
Anaheim Democrat Loretta Sanchez sends out the most famous cards - most of them involving her beloved white cat Gretzky posing with the lawmaker on a motorcycle or on a fireplace mantle. Humorless Washington always makes a big to-do about them, debating whether they're serious enough for a member of Congress. This year, the Congresswoman and her Prince Charming posed in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland. Gretzky went on to that great catnip farm in the sky several years ago, but still shows up - this year on the back of the card.
House Speaker John Boehner insists he reads every Christmas card that comes to his office. But he sent out a video version to me.
LA County Supervisor Don Knabe also took to YouTube to send greetings. The Supervisor suggests we all "take a moment during this hustle and bustle" to enjoy the holiday season with our family and friends.
Congressman Paul Cook used YouTube to send holiday wishes as well.
KPCC's Frank Stoltze shared one he got from L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, which you can view in the slideshow above.
Do you have a political holiday card you care to share? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add it to our collection of photos.