Christmas is here!
Christmas is closing in, and in that occasion, we have decided to check out a wide range of Christmas themed stamps. We will be looking at everything from the very first, to the most recent.
Stamps are issued all year, but one of the most consistently used themes, is Christmas. Many postal authorities issue Christmas stamps sometime during Fall, so customers can send their Christmas cards with the right spirit.
Early Christmas stamps
The first actual Christmas stamp was issued December 6th, 1904 in Denmark, and was introduced by the Post Master Einar Holboell. The Christmas stamps were more expensive than regular stamps, and the thought was, that the public would be inclined to pay a little extra to a charity for their Christmas mail. All the proceeds from the sale of the Christmas stamps, went to a foundation, which helped children with problems.
The stamp depicts the sitting queen of Denmark at the time - Queen Louise, along with the Danish coat of arms and the royal crown.
The Danish stamp was not the first to feature Christmas on it though. In 1898, a Canadian stamp was issued with the text "XMAS 1898". This was originally meant to be a celebration of the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate.
The stamp shows a map, highlighting the British Empire, and carries a text at the bottom saying "We hold a vaster empire than has been", which is a reference to the wide ranging British Empire.
Modern Christmas Stamps
As with most things, a development has happened in stamp design during the more than 100 years since the first Christmas stamp. Looking at more recent issues, we see a few popular themes within the theme. This years issue from Norway, is designed around the elf as he is often seen in the North. The particular elf in question here could in fact be Santa Claus, as we see him riding a sleigh filled with presents.
Another popular Christmas theme is the Mother & Son, as seen here, from Monaco. It is a very popular theme, and is seen in many different forms from various postal services throughout the world.
Here we see Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, after giving birth on Christmas Eve. Many stamps are issued around this theme, where some focus on the Mother and Son, while others look at the broader story, and include Josef, the Three Kings, and everything else we know from the stories.
Lastly, a favored theme revolves around the traditions we have around Christmas. It might be the decorations, the food, or the surroundings which we think of, when we think about Christmas. For instance we have this issue from Liechtenstein, where the traditions are shown on 4 different stamps, each made as traditional Christmas cards.
This particular stamp shows a town at Christmas time, when roofs were covered in snow, and the streets were filled with happy people, getting ready for Christmas, while children are playing in the snow.
As mentioned, Christmas is a popular theme, and because of that, a lot of stamps are issued. If you want to dive deeper into the theme, you can find more than 17,000 Christmas stamps here.