Holly, Michigan was honored on this day in 1978 by being the location for the release of one of the U.S. Postal Service’s two official 1978 Christmas stamps.
It featured a child on a hobby horse against the backdrop of a Christmas tree, set against a red background with the word “Christmas” at the bottom.
The Oakland County community was so named in 1861 for the holly that grew in the area and for Mt. Holly, N.J., where an 1835 settler had come from, according to the book “Michigan Place Names” by Walter Romig.
More About Christmas Stamps
The United States Post Office Department issued its first Christmas stamp in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 1, 1962. Customers had requested such a stamp for years, Postmaster General J. Edward Day said during the stamp dedication ceremony, adding that the stamp would be the first in a series of Christmas stamps.
Stamps that conveyed a holiday spirit had proved popular during the holidays in previous years, such as the 1958 Forest Conservation stamp showing a deer in a clearing in the woods and the 1960 stamp showing a stylized green tree resembling a fir, commemorating the 5th World Forest Congress.
Anticipating a huge demand for the new Christmas stamp, the Department ordered 350 million printed – the largest number produced for a special stamp until that time. The green and red four-cent stamps featured a wreath, two candles, and the words “Christmas 1962”. The initial supply sold out quickly, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began working around the clock to print more. By the end 1962 one billion of the stamps had been printed and distributed.
The decision to print a Christmas stamp encountered some controversy, especially from groups concerned about maintaining the separation of church and state, although legal actions to bar the stamps were not successful.
The Postal Service recognized other special holidays when it issued its first Hanukkah stamp in 1996, followed in 1997 by its first Kwanzaa stamp, and in 2001 by the Eid stamp.
In the list of U.S. Christmas holiday stamps that follows, the numbers in parentheses indicate postage on non-denominated stamps. Information is taken from The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps, postal philatelic press releases, the National Gallery of Art website at www.nga.gov, Scott 1999 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps, and Scott Stamp Monthly.
Zlati Meyer, “This week in Michigan history: Christmas stamp goes on sale in Holly”, Detroit Free Press, October 13, 2013.
Christmas Holiday Stamps by the U.S. Postal Service.