‘Twas a handful of days before Christmas and all through Washington, not a House member was stirring, not even a Republican.

The members were nestled all snug in their districts, with visions of the House Ethics Committee and the gifts it restricts.

And what to their wondering eyes should appear, but a poem from the panel intended to ease any ethics fear.

Which is a festively rhymed way of saying: tucked into the end of an official eight-page document [PDF] intended to remind federal legislators about regulatory restrictions on giving and receiving gifts, members of the U.S. House of Representatives found a 19-stanza rhyming poem reiterating the guidelines. And although it’s not intended for in-house lawyers, some of these rhymes could be a big help to their employers as they consider whether a member of Congress has been naughty or nice.

So without further ado, here’s a sampling of what members of Congress must (and must not) do, according to the Ethics Committee’s resident poets:

An outside employer or business may offer
A benefit to you or your spouse from its coffer.
Fine so long as your gift looks like the rest;
No special treatment for you is really the test.

The gift’s less than 50 dollars? Accept with good cheer,
If the total’s less than a hundred in a calendar year.
If you pay for the gift, then it’s no gift you see,
‘Cause paying full price means it’s not free.

But if the donor’s a lobbyist in the Clerk’s database,
Pick up the phone and call us post haste.
For the gift exceptions we’ve described up above,
May not apply though that gift you love.

Read the complete poem here [PDF], and we hope your holidays and new year are filled with good cheer.