A few years ago I went to the Post Office in need of Christmas stamps. It was a week before the 25th and I was late mailing out my Christmas cards. Practicing the patience required for a visit to the post office in December, I waited behind a long line of harried holiday shippers, many of whom hadn’t even attempted to pack their own boxes. Finally it was my turn and, all excited to get the finishing touch for my season greetings, I plopped down a $20 bill and said, “Christmas stamps, please,” with all the sweetness and sincerity of an Oliver Twist.
The woman looked at me like I had just asked to speak to Santa Claus. “I’m sorry, but we sold out a week ago.”
She had kicked my cup of Christmas cheer clear across the parking lot.
I know it was ridiculous to feel depressed about the Liberty Bells I placed in the corner of those pretty red envelopes, but I guess when you appreciate the little artistic items of life that pop up now and again — like holiday stamps — it’s a bit disappointing when they’re gone. It’s like having cookies shaped like circles, ugh, instead of snowflakes, reindeer and gingerbread men.
So here’s a heads up for 2011. At the end of December, the United States Postal Service released “Holiday Baubles,” the new stamp design for this year. Based on glass ornaments from the 50s, the colorful illustrations give a retro spin to the Christmas spirit. Created by Linda Fountain, an illustrator from Hilton Head Island, S.C., the designs were sketched, rendered with cut paper and then scanned into digital files.
Brightly colored on a white background, the designs are suited to the colored envelopes so often accompanying holiday cards. The stamps go on sale October 13 and will also be available online at www.usps.com.
Save the date!