Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service has new holiday Forever stamps, along with favorites from recent years, for you.
Christmas Magi
The stamp art illustrates the traditional tale of the Magi, who came bearing gifts for Jesus. The three regal figures sit atop a trio of bedecked and harnessed camels, the animals almost at the summit of a small hill. Guiding them is a large, dazzling star shining in the sky. The colors in the sky range from a rose near the horizon, darkening to a rich purple at the top, suggesting that the travelers are moving through the desert at dawn.

Florentine Madonna and Child
This Christmas stamp features a detail of Madonna and Child, a 15th-century tempera-on-panel painting at the National Gallery of Art Widener Collection, in Washington, DC. The painting is dated to circa 1470, and its anonymous artist is known only as “a Follower of Fra Filippo Lippi and Pesellino.” Art historians have speculated that the painter may have had preparatory drawings or close copies of the works of the masters he imitated, and that a relationship may have existed between those artists’ workshops and the workshop of this anonymous painter.
The 2016 Hanukkah stamp features a warm, elegant illustration of a holiday menorah in the window of a home. Traditionally, the menorah is displayed in a doorway or window to proclaim the miracle of Hanukkah. Hanukkah spans eight nights and days of remembrance and ritual. The eight nights and days of Hanukkah begin on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. In 2016, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 24. 
Holiday Windows
With four warm, inviting illustrations of winter scenes featuring windows, the Holiday Windows Forever stamps rejoice in the simple pleasures of the season.

Nothing compares to the tranquil calm of a winter evening after the snow has fallen and the sun has set. Whether you enjoy viewing the peaceful scene from a cozy spot indoors or feeling the chill on your face outside, these brief moments remind us of what makes this time of year so special. Recalling nostalgic winter nights from childhood, these stamps highlight the role windows play during the holidays, letting us delight in the snow when we’re inside while also sharing our warmth and merriment with the outside world. Conveying the joyful and reverent spirit of the holiday season, these elegant stamps showcase various ways we observe traditions and spread cheer. 
Holy Family
The Holy Family stamp celebrates Christmas with a scene from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the season: family, togetherness and the birth of the baby Jesus. The stamp continues the Postal Service’s tradition of issuing beautiful and timeless Christmas stamps and will be a treasured addition to cards and letters sent during this season of goodwill and sharing. The Holy Family stamps may be in limited supply at local Post Offices due to high demand. The easiest way to purchase the stamps is at usps.com/shop.

This bright and colorful new stamp design celebrates the annual non-religious holiday of Kwanzaa, which takes place over seven days from December 26 to January 1. December 26, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of this widely celebrated holiday. Kwanzaa derives its name from the phrase “first fruits” in Swahili. The holiday honors the African-American family, community and culture.
The Postal Service celebrates Christmas with a new stamp featuring a traditional Nativity scene. The stamp art depicts a peaceful yet powerful image of the Holy Family silhouetted against a dawn sky. The baby Jesus lies in a straw-filled manger in the center of the picture with Mary kneeling to the right and Joseph standing to the left, holding a lantern. A bright star shines over the scene.

The Gospel of Luke relates how Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to register for the census decreed by the Roman emperor. The Nativity stamps may be in limited supply at local Post Offices due to high demand. The easiest way to purchase the stamps is at usps.com/shop. 

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