The USPS holiday stamps that went on sale in early October continue the service’s tradition of releasing unique, original and historically-themed holiday season stamps that can warm anyone’s heart after a chilly trip out to the mailbox. In particular, four of the new end-of-year Forever stamps celebrate Christmas with original artwork designed by Virginia artist Steve McCracken. Each of the four new stamps celebrates and commemorates one of four much loved Christmas carols, “Jingle Bells, “Deck the Halls, “Silent Night,” and “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.”
New USPS Holiday Stamps are Each Unique in their Own Way
The songs that the four stamps celebrate have become timeless and beloved classics since they first struck a chord with carolers and Christmas celebrants centuries ago. The four songs chosen by the artist are meant to inspire good cheer–with a snippet of each song’s lyrics on each stamp – in the hearts of both Christmas card senders and recipients.
The artwork on all four Forever stamps favors shades of blue, meant to evoke in viewers the twilight scenes expressed in each Christmas carol. Similar in design and able to be enjoyed in a group, each stamp also stands on its own. These four stamps not only commemorate the season but are meant to inspire in viewers a certain feeling and mood.
The napping lamb featured on the “Silent Night” stamp, with a bright star shining in the blue evening sky beyond, sets the tone by imbuing in viewers a gentle, cozy feeling that also holds religious meaning.
A handsome sleigh horse, decked out in festive equipment, including a decorative red breast collar, easily reminds one of the song, “Jingle Bells.”
The stamp reflecting the sentiment of “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,” takes inspiration from the lyrics to imagine a young boy’s face-to-face encounter with Santa Claus, represented here in a classic red-hat, white-beard form.
After enjoying the fantastical, historical and religious elements, the fourth stamp uses a couple of objects to bring the viewer firmly back to solid ground and in the present day. Pictured here is a plate of red, white and green gingerbread men cookies, a length of shining white Christmas lights, and a snippet of the world-famous “Deck the Halls” refrain, “fa-la-la-la-la.”
Origin Stories on these Four World-Famous Christmas Carols
“Silent Night,” is perhaps the most widely recognized, beloved and emotionally resonant Christmas carol. In this case, the lyrics came first, in 1816 from the hand of Austrian priest Joseph Mohr, followed a few years later by church organist Franz Gruber’s accompanying music. “Silent Night,” holds so much meaning, especially in Austria, that it is traditionally not performed anywhere in that country except for one performance, late in the day on Christmas Eve at Vienna’s St. Nicholas Church.
Published in the later years of the 19th century by composer James Pierpoint, “Jingle Bells,” is another song that has stood the test of time and remained a holiday favorite in many places around the world. “Jingle Bells,” is also reportedly the first song ever played in space, by the American crew of the Gemini 6 mission in December 1965.
“Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly,” has the most obscure origin of the four songs mentioned here. While the song’s music is known to have originated in Wales—-a country that comprises part of the UK—-the lyrics are thought to have perhaps come from an anonymous American.
Emily Huntington Miller gets credit for creating the words to “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,” in an era, the 1800s, considered by many to be the Second Golden Age of Christmas Carols. Here again, though, the person who created the actual music that so many can hum by heart is not known.
Recommended read: If you are interested in other cool holiday stamps that will take you back to simpler times, we also recommend reading our article about Ezra Jack Keats’ Snowy Day stamp!
Brighten a Friend’s or Family Member’s Day with the New USPS Holiday Stamps!
The four USPS holiday stamps detailed here are not just beautiful to look at. These four stamps in particular could brighten anyone’s day, whether an older person or someone just now learning about the colorful and meaningful history behind these four classic Christmas carols.