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The Senate's 'Secret Santa': Batman snuggies, ice cream, old movies

Is fruitcake all it takes to bring lawmakers together?
U.S. Senators getting into the holiday spirit. (Al Franken's Flickr photostream)
U.S. Senators getting into the holiday spirit.

Is fruitcake all it takes to bring lawmakers together? As top elected officials struggle to make a deal on the looming fiscal cliff, 60 senators put aside their differences to exchange presents.

Organized by Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, the celebration brought together 40 Democrats and 20 Republicans; they picked names in the Senate's second annual Secret Santa exchange on Monday. Keeping up with the current belt-tightening in Washington, senators were not allowed to spend more than $10 on gifts. Lawmakers got creative with their limited funds.

Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy scored a Batman snuggie from his Secret Santa, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee. Good pick for Leahy, seeing as he acted in three Batman films.

Wyoming Republican John Barasso gave Franken a VHS tape of the movie "Tunnel Vision"–a movie he starred in back in 1976.

Perhaps New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte wanted to bring out the gardener in North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan by giving her the book, 1,001 Gardens You Should See Before You Die.

Food items were also popular. Florida Republican Marco Rubio indulged Delaware Democrat Chris Coons’ sweet tooth with some Godiva chocolates. And Rob Portman passed along an Ohio must-have to Louisiana's Mary Landrieu: Graeter's Buckeye Blitz ice cream.

These senators generally stepped it up from the previous year, when coal was a popular item.

The Senate kitchen did, in fact, serve fruitcake which had been soaked in brandy for two months.

Lawmakers who could not attend the party exchanged gifts Tuesday on the Senate floor.