Royal Mail mark 50 years of the Christmas Special Stamp

Royal Mail are celebrating 50 years of Christmas Special Stamp designs with a look back at some of their most popular festive designs.

The very first Christmas Special Stamps were issued on 1 December 1966. That year the design was the result of a children’s art competition on Blue Peter. Since then over 17 billion Christmas Special Stamps have been printed featuring 229 different designs.

Since 2005 the Royal Mail have alternated the theme of their stamp designs between religious themes and secular themes. For those who prefer to use a religious stamp, there are Madonna and Child stamps available on the secular years. The three main secular themes to appear on stamps are birds/animals, the arts/entertainment and festive foliage.

This year’s Christmas stamps feature paper cut-outs which have been photographed. The designs celebrate popular traditions in the UK, including a decorated Christmas tree, a Christmas stocking and a robin redbreast, which has associations with sending and receiving cards.

Scroll down to see some the Christmas Special Stamps from the past 50 years. Further information on this year’s collection can be found here. There is also an online gallery of Christmas Special Stamps.