It's a holly, jolly Christmas in the basement of the Capitol building this year.
While faux Christmas trees adorn the occasional congressional office, First Call, a division of the office of the chief administrative officer of the House that provides services and support to lawmakers, has gone all out.
In an otherwise mostly somber hallway, a giant nutcracker and snowman in a felt hat stand guard at the entrance to First Call, whose doorway is covered in garland, snowflakes, and bows. A sled carrying Santa Claus and led by reindeer sits on a bed of artificial snow.
Inside, it's a Christmas wonderland. A merry-go-round plays Christmas songs, sounding very much like an antique music box. An Elvis dog and a number of Christmas-themed animals—some still in their boxes—dance along. Multi-color decorative lights illuminate the room.
All of the decorations belong to Michael Cicale, who has worked for First Call for more than a decade and has been decking the office halls for almost as long. But Cicale's colleagues say he prefers not to talk about it.
"He did not do this to get notoriety," First Call spokesman Dan Weiser tells Whispers. "I think he just really loves Christmas."