Pig roasts, hockey games and family: Lawmakers share favorite Christmas traditions

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For millions of Americans, Christmas is a day to spend with family and showing loved ones how much they care, and members of Congress are no different. 

“We always do the same thing. Our tradition is that we celebrate Christmas Eve, so for us, it’s called Nochebuena,” Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., who is Cuban American, told Fox News Digital. “And it’s the birth of Jesus, so that’s where family, friends, etc., get together … and then we have a pig roast. “

The pig roast, which is done outside, comes after “hours of preparation,” he said. Gimenez said his sons lead the meticulous process each year, adding, “They know how to do it better than I do it. I just help out.”

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Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., and his wife, Lourdes, are shown with their dogs, Bentley, Mercedes and Kenji. (Rep. Carlos Gimenez)

The Cuban tradition of roasting a pig on Christmas Eve even inspired Gimenez to pardon the animals when he served as mayor of Miami-Dade County.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., and his family take a sportier approach to Christmas, going head-to-head in an annual hockey game. Emmer himself was a hockey coach and played the sport in college.

In true Minnesota fashion, the friendly competition is the No. 3 House leader’s favorite Christmas tradition, and it even comes with an MVP trophy at the end.

Making it all the more special this year will be Emmer’s grandson getting his first pair of skates, Fox News Digital was told.

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House Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s favorite Christmas tradition is his family hockey game. (Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, said her favorite part of Christmas is getting her home festive for it.

“I love decorating for the holidays. I start decorating for Christmas the second people leave my house on Thanksgiving,” she told Fox News Digital. “Fun fact: I have a massive Nutcracker collection that my mom passed down to me. I added a Sugar Plum Fairy this year.”

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For Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern, R-Okla., the best Christmas tradition is simply spending time with his kids and grandkids.

Rep. Ashley Hinson decorates her home with a Nutcracker collection passed down from her mother. (Rep. Ashley Hinson)

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Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, similarly described family time as his favorite Christmas tradition.

“All my brothers and I, and nephews, go out to dinner on [Dec. 21] every year,” Pence told Fox News Digital.

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