Senators Play Secret Santa for One Night

Courtesy Sen. Al Franken's Office

Twas The Week Before Christmas On Capitol Hill By Arlette Saenz

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the Senate, 65 senators exchanged gifts, including Cruz and Bennet.

Al Franken set up the Secret Santa exchange, For senators to trade presents in the fifteen dollar range

Hatch gave Elizabeth Warren donuts, Gillibrand gave Manchin a bottle of whiskey Manchin gave Rubio a coal statue - in the shape of an elephant and donkey!

Now the Senate must vote on the budget, defense money and Janet Yellen But some in the GOP don't like what the Democrats are sellin'

So soon we shall see if Republicans will put up a year-end fight, Before the Senate says "Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!"

WASHINGTON-On Tuesday night, the Senate turned from its bickering and dysfunction to a Secret Santa exchange to spread some holiday cheer on Capitol Hill.

For the third year in a row, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., organized the official Senate Secret Santa exchange, where 23 Republicans and 42 Democrats swapped small gifts.

"Anything that brings Democrats and Republicans together and builds relationships is a good thing," Franken said. "That's why three years ago I came up with the idea to hold a Secret Santa in the Senate and I've been doing it ever since."

"It's something that we did back in grade school in St. Louis Park and I think it genuinely brings some much necessary bipartisan cheer to the Senate," he added

Senators had a gift limit of $15 and kept their gifts and recipients a secret until Tuesday night. Franken picked Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and gave him a hand drawn map that highlighted states which were important in Donnelly's life.

Many of the gifts were tied to senators' home states. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., bought chocolates from Pennsylvania's Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, which he gave to Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. Casey, in turn, received chocolates and coffee from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, gave Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., donuts and coffee from Massachusetts-based Dunkin Donuts. Warren purchased her favorite lotion from Plum Island Soap Company in Massachusetts for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., while Gillibrand selected a bottle of whiskey from her home state of New York to give to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

Manchin likely had the most creative twist on his gift to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The West Virginia senator, who comes from a coal producing state, gave Rubio a statue made of coal that was in the bipartisan shape of an elephant and donkey.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., wins the award for oldest item given to another senator. Bennet paid $8 for a 125-year-old map from Wyoming which he gave to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

And Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., probably had the scariest gift - fake rattlesnake eggs and a real scorpion lollipop which he presented to Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.

Franken's office declined to provide a full list of senators who participated in the event.

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