Christmas Seals

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Christmas Seals

Many people embellish the Christmas cards, letters, and packages they send during the holiday season with special, decorative stamps called Christmas seals. Although the seals have no value as postage, the money collected in return for them supports various charitable causes. A Danish postmaster came up with the idea for Christmas seals around the turn of the twentieth century. Since then, they have spread to dozens of countries around the world, including the United States.

Danish postmaster Einar Holbøll designed the first mass-produced Christmas seals in 1904. The post office sold four million of the decorative stamps that year, giving birth to a new Danish Christmas tradition. Jacob Riis, an emigrant to the United States, publicized the success of Denmark's Christmas seals in an American magazine article. In 1907 Emily Bissel, a Red Cross worker, adopted the idea of selling Christmas seals as a way of raising money for the Red Cross in Wilmington, Delaware. Her success led other organizations to issue Christmas seals the following year, and soon the idea spread across the country. In 1919 the National Tuberculosis Association, which later became the American Lung Association, cornered the market on Christmas seals, becoming the sole issuer of the decorative Christmas stamps in the United States. Today the seals earn millions of dollars a year for the American Lung Association.

Further Reading

Del Re, Gerard, and Patricia Del Re. The Christmas Almanack. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1979. Ross, Corinne. Christmas in Scandinavia. Chicago: World Book, 1977.
References in periodicals archive ?
The annual Christmas Seal program began in 1907 to attack tuberculosis, which was the number one cause of death at that time.
A father attempts to shut out the specter of tuberculosis in a 1919 poster for the American Red Cross Christmas Seal Campaign, which raised funds to battle the deadly disease.
In her youth, she was chosen the Christmas Seal Girl of the Year.
The company also holds licenses for Barbie and Hot Wheels, and recently signed an agreement with the American Lung Association to create ornaments featuring the organization's Christmas Seal designs.
Christmas Seal chairwoman and was a volunteer for the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
From then on, Christmas seal have been sold nationwide.
The 2010 Christmas Seal was presented on October 25 to Princess Mary of Denmark.
The Lung Association encourages everyone to shop for a cause this year and has developed new Christmas Seals gift merchandise, which is available for purchase on ChristmasSeals.
Its funds derive largely from individual and congregational donations and from an annual Christmas Seals Campaign conducted in Lutheran congregations.
He has served as a past president or past commissioner for 25 civic, community and charitable organizations, including United Cerebral Palsy, Boy Scouts of America, Florida Jaycees, The Heart Fund, Christmas Seals, and the State of Florida Commission on Ethics, where he served as president-elect.
Her tuberculosis fundraising evolved into the highly successful Christmas Seals program.