I was rather disappointed to see this year's Christmas stamps. I think they're rather poor compositions, uninspired subject matter and ugly clashing colours. Even the envelopes of the first-day covers have boring and badly rendered images. Ho hum.
I've been collecting stamps since I was a kid, and although recently that's consisted of just buying the first day covers, I've a nice collection of Christmas stamps since oh ever so long ago.
Ok, I'll tell you how long I've been carrying out this rather archaic and very not cool pastime (people don't seem to have 'hobbies' these days, do they?).
This (below) was the first Christmas stamp I can remember. It was also the first time New Zealand put out a Christmas stamp at all. There was a lot of concern over whether it should be produced - it was even discussed in parliament. In the end it was so popular that 20 million had to be printed!
(You should know that in 1960 the population of New Zealand was only just over 2.4 million.)
Another concern was if it would be considered proper to deface the religious symbol (the nativity scene) with a postmark.
|Rembrandt's 'Adoration of the Shepherds'|
1960 New Zealand Christmas Stamp
We always sent and received lots of Christmas cards in those days. When the mantlepiece ran out of room, we'd hang them over loops of string in front of the fireplace, which of course was never lit, it being midsummer in New Zealand. On Boxing day everyone went to the beach with all the leftovers in sandwiches, and lots of strawberries and apples, and we'd play in the sea all day and come home with sunburn everywhere except where our togs were, and sand in our crotches. Happy days!