WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate embraced the Christmas spirit for at least a few hours Tuesday evening as members exchanged “Secret Santa” gifts in a rare moment when partisanship was set aside.
Arkansas’ two senators displayed some home state favoritism in choosing their gifts.
A selection of jellies from House of Webster in Rogers went to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., courtesy of Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, received a Bluebird of Happiness sculpture from Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., made by Terra Studios in Fayetteville.
About two-thirds of the Senate participated in the gift exchange. They were to spend no more than $15 for that lucky colleague whose name was drawn by lot.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., drew Boozman’s name, and turned to a play-on-words for inspiration: Chocolates and barbecue from Bozeman, Mont.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, drew Pryor’s name, and found gifts for him from: Cleveland (beer from Great Lakes Brewery), Cincinnati (chocolates from Graeter’s), Bryan (Dum Dum lollipops from Spangler Candy) and Orrville (Smucker’s Jam).
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., started the Senate Secret Santa exchange three years ago as a way to build bipartisan relations among his colleagues.