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On 08 November 2012, An Post issued three stamps to celebrate Christmas 2012.
These days, a Christmas card really isn't considered truly seasonal without a Christmas stamp on the envelope. And to the philatelist, the history of these issues is often as colourful as the stamps themselves. The country credited with producing the very first Christmas stamp was Canada – although they did so unwittingly.
In 1898, Canada decided to issue a 2-cent stamp to mark the introduction of Imperial Penny Postage due to start 25 December. Hence the stamp, featuring a map of the world showing the extent of the British Empire at the time, was inscribed with the words "XMAS 1898". The then Canadian Postmaster General, William Mulock, suggested the stamp should honour the Prince of Wales. However when Queen Victoria heard of this she scoffed and asked "Which Prince?". In the blink of an eye Mulock sent back a telegram stating, "Why, the Prince of Peace, ma'am." As a result, the stamp became known as the Xmas Map Stamp.
Another 39 years passed before Austria released two stamps heralded as 'Christmas Greeting Stamps'. However, neither one of them featured anything that could be considered the least bit festive. One stamp depicted a sign of the zodiac, while the second showed a rose. Eventually it was left to Hungary, in 1943, to release the world's first stamp with a definite Christmas feel.
 For Christmas 2012, An Post is issuing three new Christmas stamps created by Zinc Design Consultants. Two SOAR format stamps (55c and 82c) feature The Adoration of the Shepherds by Girolamo Troppa and The Adoration of the Magi by Jan Brueghel the Elder. A third stamp will appear in the Christmas stamp Booklet and depicts a traditional Christmas candle.
Products available with this issue:
Christmas 2012 Stamp Booklet (1216BK)                                 €13.75
Christmas 2012 Stamp Pair (ex booklet) (1216SAS1)               €1.10
Christmas 2012 Stamp Soar Strip (1216SAS2)                          €1.37
Christmas 2012 FDC (1216FDC)                                              €2.92
Orders and/or enquiries relating to this release or indeed any aspect of the Philatelic Business should be sent to:
Philatelic Bureau, Order Department P.O. Box 1991, G.P.O., Dublin 1, Ireland
Philat                               Telephone:                   00 353 1 705 7400
    Fax:                              00 353 1 705 7289


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