Celebrating the holidays often means dressing up to show your spirit.
This goes for mail, too.
Each year, USPS offers a variety of secular and religious stamps for the holidays, as well as special postmarks. Both offerings allow customers to dress up their greeting cards, packages and other holiday mail.
This tradition goes back more than a half-century.
The U.S. Post Office Department issued its first Christmas stamp in November 1962. Customers had requested such a stamp for years.
Anticipating a huge demand for the stamp, the department ordered 500 million printed — the largest number produced for a special stamp at the time.
The green and red 4-cent stamp featured a wreath, two candles and the words “Christmas 1962.” By the end of the year, with demand soaring, 1 billion of the stamps had been printed and distributed.
Since then, holiday stamps have showcased religious artwork, pop culture touchstones and other themes. Each year’s holiday postmarks include a national offering; pictorial postmarks that help individual communities mark local events and celebrations; and a postmark for the Greetings from the North Pole Post Office program.
Like other stamps, holiday releases can be purchased at Post Offices and usps.com, making them a convenient way for customers to get into the spirit of the season with help from the Postal Service.