In making special Christmas stamps available for the prepayment of postage during the festive season the Canada Post office follows a practice established as an annual tradition in 1964. The 1969 issues, first Canadian Christmas stamps produced in full colour, provide recognition of the multi-racial structure of nation's population. The wondrous spirit of Christmas is exemplified in the upraised faces of children of several racial origins, eye agleam with a brilliant light reflecting the mystic beauty and solemnity of the season. An enrichment of Canada's national life through it's multi-racial nature is rarely more evident that at Christmas when time honoured customs blend in the harmonious joy of the season. The uplifting spirit of Christmas, superficially obscured by an ever increasing commercialism, remains as an inner human personification of the traditional "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all Men", a period in which even hard-pressed retail sales staffs exude a particular warmth and friendliness. Even as the formulation of a design for Canada's 1969 Christmas stamps was being pursued some two years in advance, Christmas cards for the same year were being developed by about one hundred manufacturers. According to recent estimates, Canadians annually purchase between 400 and 500 million yuletide cards to convey greetings to friends and loved ones, thus creating a delivery requirement of immense proportions. Additional millions of parcels and letters serve to create a peak seasonal volume of mail requiring the employment of many thousands of additional workers. It is generally accepted that in 1843 J.C. Horsley, of London, England, designed the first Christams card; the greeting, one thousand of which were printed, was a stiff card lithographed in sepia tones and hand coloured with dimensions slightly in excess of 5" x 3". The concept of Christmas charity was represented on inside panels of the folding card to convey the traditional thought of remembering those less fortunate than ourselves. The principal illustration, a family party above the words "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" remains, in varied forms, the basic approach on many greeting cards to this day. Myriad lights illuminating Canadian homes and public buildings provide a heart warming glow during a season of short days and extended hours of darkness. The nation's natural forests annually provide millions of evergreens for the traditional Christmas trees, erected within and without, on which sparkle addtional millions of lights to the delight of untold thousands of children. A festival in which the role of the child is of paramount significance, Christmas has it's greatest and most beautiful expression in the family circle.