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Thanks for the heads up on this! I will be sure to ask!
My local PO has a poster display that shows both stamps. sounds to me like another internets rumor. The PO is in the business of selling stamps. Why prevent the sale of something that sells well.
Thanks for the advisory. It’s a good reminder to ask for “religious” stamps. I once asked for “Christmas” stamps and got snowmen or something like that.
And while were at it, why not get enough to be used until February 2nd. The secular world starts secular Christmas after Halloween now. But, Catholics remember traditionally remember Christmas after the mystery is celebrated until the feast of the Presentation.
Finally, in this year of economic woes, wouldn’t religious Christmas stamps make a good gift for a college students.
In the DC area, the Madonna stamps tend to run out by mid-December. I know people who stock up on them and use them all year long. I intend to do the same. As long as they’re in stock, I ask for “madonna stamps” and I have no problem.
I don’t recall a time when one did not have to ask for religious stamps. I can’t imagine the Post Office selling religious stamps to those who do not ask for them.
Lest anyone think this issue has anything to do with our modern age, it’s good to remember that the USA did not even issue Christmas stamps until 1962, and that the first several years saw only secular themes.
1962? I THINK that’s four years earlier than the UK. For what it’s worth. Would need to check, but I think there’s generally been an annual alternation between Christian-themed stamps and secular ones.
Exactly the same applies in the UK, religious picture stamps are there for the asking, but the staff are directed NOT to give them out automatically (to avoid offending non-christians).
SO GO AND ASK FOR THEM! An easy way to do your Christian witness, at no extra effort or cost.
This rumor is almost nonsensical. The stamps are already at the post offices. And of course you have to specify which of them you want when you ask to purchase them!
I always purchase large amounts of Christmas stamps (religious)each year. Usually enough to last me for a good 4 months. Even wrote about it on my blog: http://awashingtondccatholic.blogspot.com/2007/12/christmas-stamps.html
Actually, the Madonna and Child stamp is the only stamp categorized by the Post Office as a ‘Christmas’ stamp. The se tenant group on a secular, Nutcracker theme is listed in the Department’s catalogue as ‘Holiday’ stamps. That said, I found that even when I specified Christmas stamps the other day at the local post office, I was handed booklets of the Holiday stamps. Only after I specified that I wanted the Madonna stamp, was I then given what I wanted. Perhaps it is a matter of the Office’s protocol or, perhaps, simply individual clerk’s choices to offer the secular stamp in the absence of a specification for the religious stamp. I doubt that it is done out of hostility by the Office to religious themes, however, but simply because a number of customers object to the use of religious themed stamps. Consequently, the secular stamp has become the default offering. Incidently, if the local office is out of the religious stamps (the print run for the religious stamps in recent years has always been much smaller than the run for the secular stamps) they can always be ordered by phone or the internet from the Postal Service’s stamp store out of Kansas City.
Throughout the year, there are choices in stamps. I wanted a book of 20. I was asked if I wanted quilts, baseball (or whatever else was out there). I’m sure they want to see how sales go of each kind of stamp throughout the year. Most businesses tally sales among various products, colors, flavors, etc.
That said, indeed, I shall specify religious stamps for this Christmas! We all should to boost the sales #s.
Even strictly speaking, the Madonna stamps are not religious stamps, but images of paintings of the Madonna in the National Art Gallery and other US museums.
And one other thing…
I vaguely recall an attempt to not issue a Madonna stamp in the early 1990s. The outcry was such that a Madonna stamp was issued, and, if I recall correctly, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and Moslem-oriented stamps were issued.
One has to ask for them here in the Midwest….
Royal Mail (UK)
The Royal Mail has partially redeemed itself, after regrettably issuing stamps commemorating Marie Stopes, a eugenicist who shared views on racial purity with the Nazis. It is issuing religious stamps for Christmas 2008 (one of which pictured), breaking with it’s alternate year secular / religious policy.
Fr Ray Blake has advised any items of post arriving here with this (Stopes) stamp on it will be returned to the sender.
I’m toying with the idea of buying the stamps and after affixing, scoring ‘Family Planning’ out and writing ‘Eugenicist’ in…
I will only say that when I asked for two books of Christmas stamps last week, the postal worker politely asked if I would rather have one set of the Madonna stamps and one set of holiday nutcrackers. I declined the nutcrackers.
We’ll contribute to the “cause” in a few weeks when we go in to buy our annual 15 books of CHRISTMAS stamps for our CHRISTMAS cards.
Happy Advent everyone!
As a former US Postal Worker (I hear those of you saying “Oh, that explains her! LOL!), Dan G is correct. You ALWAYS have to tell the window clerk which stamp design you want to purchase. It’s always possible, that they may be sold out of the design you want. The Christmas stamps sell quickly-it pays to get those the as early as possible upon their release. I grabbed my Madonna stamps over a month ago.
Every year that I can recall there is a Christmas stamp issued with Our Lady on it and unless something has changed since I worked there,that Christmas stamp is always the top seller and usually the first design that is completely sold out.
Vote with your pocketbook and your preference and ask for the stamp with Jesus or Our Lady on it. The Postal Service, like any other corporation in the business of making a profit, will notice.
This sounds like a silly Internet rumor: I bought 6000 Madonna Christmas stamps at a backwater post office a few weeks ago.
With the frequent postage rate increases, I have become fond of the “foverver stamps.” I do use the Madonna stamps for my Christmas cards and as gifts with stationery to friends in religious life, but I don’t buy enough to last the whole year.
Every year in Dec I purchase enough first class Madonna and Child stamps so I can use them for all may mail all year long.
I’ve never had trouble getting the Madonna and Child stamps, and they are
usually on display. I wish, though, that they were more Christmas-like: the
Child Jesus is usually shown as a plump toddler rather than a tiny newborn.
And when you buy your stamps, use it for an opportunity for Christian witness. Do NOT ask for the “religious” stamp. Ask – in a voice loud enough to be heard at the adjoining counters and the line behind you – that you want the “Baby Jesus stamp,” or the “Blessed Virgin stamp!”
Here in Utah I purchased my stamps last week for Christmas card mailings…I asked for Christmas stamps..the clerk brought out the two different kinds–Virgin Mary and Nutcracker (I think) and asked which ones I would like.. I chose the Blessed Virgin stamps. It wasn’t a big deal at all.
Hmmm, well, just my experience: my husband and I have asked for Christmas stamps at least 3 different grocery store customer service desks that sell stamps; all they had were the Nutcracker ones. They looked at us as if we had three heads when we said no, we only wanted the Madonna stamps and declined to buy the others.
Kathleen, In traditional iconography, which extended into paintings by the Masters, Jesus is always represented as being above the age of reason and never as a newborn. I learned this recently when wondering about the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and why Jesus looks so “old.”