Christmas, Christmas Personages
Date of Issue
October 23, 1991
Christmas, Christmas Personages
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Steven Slipp.
Children the world over know him by many different names and dressed in various garbs, but there is no doubt that our Santa Claus brings countless joy to million of youngsters during the festive Yuletide season each year. This year Canada Post Corporation's Christmas quartet of stamps is paying homage to him with designs depicting four classical images of the famous "man in red". The stamps, in denominations of the three most commonly used values of domestic rate, U.S. rate and international rate stamps, plus a special "Greet More" rate of 35¢ were issued on October 23, 1991, well in time for sending Christmas greetings and packages around the world. The very multicultural make-up of Canada today lends credence to the fact that the jolly old gentleman will be remembered according to one's ethnic background and upbringing. And each character in its own way symbolizes the real purpose and meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ. Many Canadians know him as Santa Claus, a Christmas character who was first introduced to North America in the 1650's by the Dutch when they held New Amsterdam, now New York City. They called him "Sanct HerrCholas" or "Sinterklaas" and he visited children on 5 December. After the British seized the colony in 1664, his name was anglicized to Santa Claus and his gift-giving activities were moved to Christmas Eve. Initially he wore a long Bishop's coat in various colours, usually green or purple in colour. The present day's North American Santa's garb of the familiar red outfit and high black boots were popularized by artist Haddon Sundblom for Christmas soft drink commercials. This image of the man has become a mainstay of North American folklore and has inspired such movie greats as "Miracle on 42nd Street", in which it is finally proven that "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." The 40¢ domestic rate stamp depicts a traditional Canadian Santa. He is our version of the European St. Nicholas, a philanthropic bishop who lived in the 4th century in what is now Turkey. This Dutch creation was transformed into a "jolly old elf" with a reindeer-drawn sleigh in such 19th century works as "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Moore. The series was designed by Steven Slipp of Halifax, who created the Bishop Inglis stamp in 1988. His Santa designs are based on characters made from torn paper. Then he had the collage-like paper images scanned by a computer and digitally reduced to the proper stamp size. Combining traditional art with the latest in technology, Slipp's ingenuity marks the first time that final artwork for a Canadian stamp is simply a computer disk!
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Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, No. 4, 1991, p. 8-10.
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