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   CaliforniaMama  Thursday Dec 20 10:50 PM

December 20, 2012 - Holiday Stamps USA

I love stamps. I always have. I don't know what it is - maybe it's the tiny artwork that I love. I know that lots of other people enjoy seeing the artwork on stamps of other countries, so I thought I'd share these with my global Cellar family.

These cheerful Santa and Sleigh (Forever®) stamps portray Santa Claus flying through the air in his sleigh. With a cargo of toys and gifts produced in his workshop by elves, he lands on the rooftop of house after house and slides down the chimney to leave presents for girls and boys of all ages.

Santa's annual journey is joyfully captured in this block of four holiday stamps, with two rows of two stamps each presenting a “classic” image of Santa and his reindeer circling around snow-covered rooftops.

Though his roots go much further back, the modern Santa Claus, the giver of gifts, captured the American imagination in the Revolutionary War era. At that time, understandably critical of English traditions, people looked to the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas for cultural cues and seasonal inspiration. Since then, Santa has become more popular, and is today beloved by millions of children who write him letters, track his progress on the Internet, and leave him milk and cookies as tokens of their esteem.

The Holy Family (Forever®) stamp celebrates Christmas with a scene from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the season: family, togetherness, and the birth of the baby Jesus. It continues the U.S. Postal Service's tradition of issuing beautiful and timeless Christmas stamps and will be a treasured addition to cards and letters sent during this season of goodwill and sharing.

Reenactments and commemorations of this episode are enduring traditions. Medieval mystery plays — dramas based on biblical stories that were performed in towns across Europe from the 14th to 16th centuries — featured the Flight into Egypt as part of their Nativity cycle. Christmas pageants today reenact the Holy Family's flight, with portrayals ranging from simple children's plays to elaborate live nativity scenes. Other celebrations include the Feast of the Holy Family, observed by the Roman Catholic Church during the Christmas season, and the Coptic Orthodox Church's Feast of the Escape of the Holy Family to Egypt, commemorated each year in June.

Legends about the Flight into Egypt have inspired artists from Raphael to Rembrandt to imagine and illustrate the Holy Family's journey. Their flight has been rendered in other forms as well: stained glass windows, frescoes, sculptures, wall hangings, and woodcarvings, among others.

The escape of the Holy Family is also commemorated in music, with compositions such as the 19th-century work The Childhood of Jesus by Hector Berlioz, or the traditional Irish carol “The Flight into Egypt.” Composer John Harbison won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his work for chorus and orchestra, Flight into Egypt, Sacred Ricercar.

Working together, art director William J. Gicker, designer Greg Breeding, and artist Nancy Stahl created an evocative new image of the Holy Family. The stamp illustration shows Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky.
United States Postal Service

SPUCK  Friday Dec 21 06:35 AM

Both nice!

ZenGum  Friday Dec 21 07:17 PM

You know, the USPS has a rule that only dead people can be put on stamps.

Sorry kids, Christmas is cancelled.

Rhianne  Friday Dec 21 07:38 PM

Jesus is dead?

ZenGum  Friday Dec 21 08:24 PM

Wait, that's JEBUS in that flying sleigh?

He's packed the weight on lately, hasn't He?

Rhianne  Friday Dec 21 10:22 PM

Isn't that Jesus in his Mum's arms on the back of that perky-looking donkey?

Ibby  Friday Dec 21 11:44 PM

ZenGum, i'm so happy that my first thought when i saw this post was the same as yours, and that you beat me to it with the second response.

CaliforniaMama  Saturday Dec 22 01:43 PM

Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
You know, the USPS has a rule that only dead people can be put on stamps.

Sorry kids, Christmas is cancelled.
Santa is dead???

Your reply here?

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