By Kris Kitto - 12/01/09 12:16 AM EST
You’ve digested your turkey and survived Black Friday shopping. You now turn your attention to this important holiday question: What to get the member of Congress who has everything? Here are a few gift ideas for those lawmakers nearest and dearest to you.
• Clothing wrinkle spray — Even the lawmakers who already use this item are probably out after a busy year of trips back and forth from their district to Washington. Not only do members of Congress have to travel constantly, they have to look good doing it — often running straight from the airport to a public event, media appearance or congressional hearing. With a schedule like that, who has time to iron? Pick up a pallet of wrinkle spray at Costco and affix a red bow to it. Your boss will burn through it by March.
• Magnetic reading glasses — These glasses, which detach at the nosebridge and rest on the reader’s neck when not in use, seem to be gaining popularity among lawmakers. House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) was first spotted with this eyewear and can often be seen walking around the House with the separated glasses dangling from his shoulders. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has since become a fan of the magnetic glasses, quickly putting them together when taking a close read on an important document. With a multitude of traditional half-glasses-wearers in Congress — Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) among them — many staffers could score some cool points with their bosses this holiday by helping them upgrade their eyewear.
Lawmakers, you’re not off the hook. Here are some simple holiday gift ideas for the staffers who have served you loyally for the past year.
• ID lanyards — Many aides choose either the hip clasp or the standard-issue beaded-metal necklace to wear their congressional identifications. A few, though, jazz up their IDs with a lanyard from an alma mater or a home-state institution. Why not get your staff ID lanyards from your district or state?
It’s a basic gift but one that will stoke camaraderie in the office.
• BlackBerry protectors — Many of you make your staffers carry their BlackBerrys at all times, so you might as well ensure the devices don’t break when aides are hauling overloaded file-o-faxes and typing e-mails at the same time. Again, go personal with this gift. Your scheduler likes pink? Get her a pink BlackBerry cover.
• Food — The majority of your staffers — your junior ones, anyway — can still be dazzled with buffets of free food. Order holiday cupcakes, organize a chips-‘n’-guacamole day or treat your staff to breakfast at Pete’s Diner. They’ll feel appreciated — and satisfied.