Finland issued a special Santa Claus stamp in a very low quantity – 120,000 – on 17 November 2014. It is definitely my favorite holiday stamp of 2014. I’ve been attempting to find on on eBay to no avail, so I may end up ordering directly from the Finnish Post. However, their online shop only sells the stamp in full sheets of ten which would cost 18 Euros which is a bit above my current stamp-buying budget.
According to the press release,
The Joulun taika (The Magic of Christmas) stamp is based on Antti Kurola’s impressive photograph. In the magical picture, Santa Claus is throwing snow into the air with both hands, and behind the snow-covered spruce tree forest is revealed the city of Rovaniemi. The Santa Claus stamp is a great way to show to the rest of the world where the real Father Christmas is from.
The two “regular” Christmas stamps issued by Finland this year were released at the Helsinki Book Fair on 23 October.
The two Christmas stamps are full of fairy-tale atmosphere.
This year, the Christmas stamps feature the artwork of Kristina Segercrantz, famous for several award-winning book illustrations. With these stamps executed with watercolor technique, Segercrantz wants to create a true Christmas fairy-tale atmosphere.
In the blue-hued Christmas Eve Christmas-tariff stamp, an elf girl enjoys the enchanting atmosphere with a Christmas reindeer in candlelight. In the other Christmas stamp, the orange-hued Christmas Morning 1st-class stamp, an elf rings a large Christmas bell, feet off the ground. The graphic design of the Christmas stamps comes from Olavi Hankimo.
Christmas stamps from a part of China? Why not? There’s a large number of citizens who were there during the British territorial days and plenty of Western expats as well. It’s not quite as outlandish as Thailand, for example, issuing Christmas stamps (it hasn’t yet – I’m hoping it does one year – but there are annual Christmas seals and there was an official Thailand Post Christmas pack last year). This is only the third time that Hong Kong, China has issued stamps for this holiday – the previous two times were in 2002 and 2007.
From the press release:
The four distinctive stamps in the issue not only depict an adorable Santa Claus, a reindeer, a snowman and a little angel, but each stamp also blends in local elements like a junk, the golden bauhinia sculpture, dim sum and the Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui. The issue consists of four stamps that will be put into circulation on the 4th of November.
Christmas often conjures up images of dancing snowflakes, a blanket of white snow, a snowman with a scarf and Santa Claus riding on his sleigh ready to deliver presents to children. Whilst it doesn’t snow in Hong Kong, the festive atmosphere nonetheless fills every corner of the city when Christmas is approaching. The waterfront of Victoria Harbour is ablaze with holiday light displays, shopping malls are adorned with colourfully themed decorations, and Christmas carols are heard everywhere.
$1.70 Donning a red hat decorated with patterns of a junk and Chinese white dolphins symbolizing Hong Kong, Santa Claus is in town to give us his best wishes.
$2.90 The reindeer playfully hides an outline of the golden bauhinia sculpture in its antlers, which are festooned with Christmas ornaments. Are your eyes good enough to spot the sculpture?
$3.70 The snowman’s funky beanie suggests that perhaps he would like to have an offbeat Christmas walking his caged bird and enjoying dim sum in a traditional Chinese teahouse.
$5 The little angel carries a lyre under the night sky aglow with fireworks, and joins the snowmen musicians at the Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui for carol singing.
Regardless of your religious affiliation or the manner in which you celebrate (if at all) the Christmas season, I hope you are enjoying a look at the beautiful art created on these bits of paper we call postage stamps. If you would like to spread a little holiday cheer and send me a postcard or letter with a nice Christmas stamp affixed, I’d be very appreciative. My mailing address can be found below.
8/1 Suthas Soi 2
T. Talat Yai
A. Muang Phuket