Christmas is just around the corner. With only weeks to go, time will fly and you could end up in a stressful position if you leave the organisation of the festive period too late. With that in mind, we thought it apt to discuss jovial stamps and all-things Christmas.
Last posting dates for Christmas 2017
Alarmingly close is the posting date of 12th October for International Economy Delivery to South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA and Canada, so if you need to send anything to friends or family in these countries – hurry!
For the UK, the cut-off dates for various services are listed below:
Friday 22nd December
Special Delivery Guaranteed Saturday Delivery
Thursday 21st December
Special Delivery Guaranteed
Thursday 21st December
1st Class and 1st Class Signed For
Wednesday 20th December
2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For
Information regarding last posting dates for other International services can be found on the Post Office website.
Christmas 2017 Stamp Collection
For 2017, the annual set of twelve Christmas stamps has two distinct themes – eight featuring depictions of the Madonna & Child.
The other stamps include four of the two winning designs from the Royal Mail Christmas Stamp Design Competition, which attracted over 200,000 entries from school children.
The competition theme this year was ‘What does the Christmas season mean to you?’ Two lucky children will see their winning designs made into one of the 1st or 2nd Class Christmas stamps for 2017.
The competition closed in March and the collection won’t be available to purchase until November. With no images released yet, keep your eyes peeled and keep checking the Royal Mail website.
To keep you entertained and help get in the festive mood in the meantime, why not have a look through fifty years of the Royal Mail’s Christmas stamps from The Telegraph. In 2015, which was the anniversary of their fiftieth Christmas stamp, over 17 billion Christmas stamps had been printed since the first ones in 1966! The first year that Christmas stamps were issued, they featured ‘The King of Orient’ designed by a child.
History of the Christmas Stamp
Christmas is a popular theme for stamp collecting. The Christmas Philatelic Club, formed in 1969 in America by Christmas stamp collectors, even issues a quarterly journal called the Yule Log.
It’s a matter of some debate as to which is the actual first Christmas stamp. Here are some of the contestants:
The Canadian map stamp bears an inscription ‘XMAS 1898’, but it was actually issued to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate.
In 1935, British Forces troops stationed in Egypt were issued with a Christmas stamp to post home. For many years these were not included in the Stanley Gibbons catalogues as they classified them as a seal rather than a postage stamp.
Austria issued two Christmas greeting stamps in 1937 that featured a rose and zodiac signs.
In 1939, Brazil issued four semi-postal stamps with designs featuring an angel and child, the three kings and a star, the Southern Cross and a child, and a mother and child.
The first stamps to depict a Nativity scene were the Hungary issue in 1943.
What is the Christmas seal?
A Christmas seal may sometimes accompany the stamp on your Christmas card envelope. This idea was created by a Danish postal clerk and first issued by Denmark in 1904 to raise money for tuberculosis.
We hope this information has been insightful and helped with your Christmas organisation. Now you can sit back, relax and leave the rushing-round to everyone else – tell us what your favourite Christmas stamp is.