THE FESTIVE SEASON GIVES POSTAL OPERATORS AROUND THE WORLD THE OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE

Many postal services across the world devote their annual issues to Christmas. However, the subject of which country issued the first ever Christmas stamp has created much debate! Here are the main contenders:

Canada 1898 – It’s widely considered that the first official Christmas Stamp was issued in 1898 by Canada. The stamp featured the text: “XMAS 1898”.

Denmark 1904 – Denmark printed its first Christmas Stamp in 1904. The revenue went to help sick children. However, these “stamps” were actually labels and not issued for postage.

Austria 1937 – Austria issued two stamps on 12 December 1937 for use on Christmas mail and New Year greeting cards.

Hungary 1943 – Finally, there’s Hungary. Many people believe the 1943 Hungarian stamps to be the first real Christmas stamps as they feature religious imagery.

UK 1966 – Royal Mail issued their first Christmas stamp in 1966. The designs for the UK’s first ever Christmas stamps came about as a result of a competition held by children’s TV show, Blue Peter.

WORLD’S FIRST EVER SCENTED CHRISTMAS STAMPS 2018

The world’s first scented stamps were issued by Bhutan in January 1973 – printed on scented paper, the stamps picture and smell like roses.

However, the very first Christmas postage stamps with a festive scent were issued by Greenland in 2018. There were two fragrances – pine and cinnamon. Ivinguak Stork Hoegh, the designer of the stamps, said: “When the aromas of Christmas pine and biscuits fill the air, we know that Christmas is approaching.  This scent is evocative of childhood, good events, family gatherings and, not least, love and calm.”

MUSICAL POSTBOXES

It was also last year that Royal Mail entered into the festive spirit by installing postboxes across the UK that played a traditional Christmas tune when letters and cards were posted inside.  Movement sensors triggered festive tunes including the ring of sleigh bells and a merry greeting from Father Christmas. The red postboxes were adorned with snowflakes and were in place throughout the festive season.

Commenting Simon Barker, operation director at Royal Mail said: “We enjoy any way we can add a little extra fun to posting Christmas cards.”