Image courtesy of USPS
Image courtesy of USPS

The holiday season is upon us, so it’s time to remind House members that, under a rules change last year, they can include “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or other holiday greetings in their taxpayer-paid mail to their constituents.

But remember, this doesn’t mean you can send out Christmas cards and such through the free mail system. The prior ban on any holiday greeting in franked mail, which dates back to 1975, was loosened  last year by Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Administration Committee and the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards.

Miller, in a reminder last week  for all congressional offices, notes that  members are now allowed to include “holiday wishes in their communications with constituents” but only if they are  “incidental” to the otherwise permitted franked correspondence. (This is also the Senate’s policy.)

And don’t try anything unincidental. “Holiday colors, illustrations, and greetings on calendars are not considered incidental,” the House committee’s website notes.