House members may now say "merry Christmas" and other "incidental holiday greetings" in official mail sent to their constituents, as long as the salutation isn't the sole purpose of the card.

"The Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (Franking Commission) is pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Members may include incidental holiday greetings in their official constituent communications," House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Mich., and ranking Democrat Susan Davis of California said in an email to House colleagues today.

"Prior to the Commission’s adoption of this new commonsense policy, franking regulations prohibited any form of a holiday greeting whatsoever," the email continued. "However, the new policy, which still prohibits Members from sending communications for the sole purpose of expressing a holiday greeting, allows Members to include simple holiday salutations like Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah."

Under the previous policy, House members could only make generic references to the holidays, "along the lines of 'Have a safe and happy holiday season,' " according to a 2011 memo.

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