When Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo talks about Guam her eyes sparkle like the lights on the tall, gold and silver Christmas tree that stands beside her desk … and the two trees that lead into her Rayburn office, and the faux fireplace (it’s a flat screen with flickering electronic flames bordered by brick construction paper) that “warms” visitors during December.
It is clear, too, that the delegate, just re-elected for her sixth term, also loves the island where she spent her childhood, raised her family, and came into politics with the support of her late husband. Always, but especially at Christmas, Bordallo brings the spirit of Guam to Washington.
“In Guam there are fiestas in every village, and people open their homes to everyone. Guam goes in a big way [for Christmas],” says Bordallo, “it’s part of our tradition.”
That’s why the congresswoman decorates – and celebrates – Christmas bigger than any other office in Congress. Every holiday the Bordallo office hosts an impromptu party for their neighbors. The congresswoman brags that her staff is full of great cooks who bring in food to share with everyone. When they do, just like the fiestas in Guam, there’s no need for a guest list.
“We invite everybody. I will run up and down the hall inviting people. If I see Capitol police officers downstairs I tell them to come, and they do. And they love it,“ says Bordallo, proudly, “We are a hospitable people.”
During the work day, the office even welcomes unscheduled visitors who pop in to joke that they are warming by the fake fire. It’s likely the guests just want a closer peak at the decorations, styled by Bordallo and her staff.
“Even the interns help,” she jokes, “but I supervise.”
The result? No door without a wreath, no table without a poinsettia. The frills, from nativity sets to a buffalo Santa, are both traditional and personal. Hanging from Bordallo’s office tree are playful shoe ornaments, gifts that reflect the fashionable, gracious lawmaker who is always ready to kick up her heels.