Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Austria 2016 - Christmas

ISSUE DATE: 11 November 2016
STAMP DESIGN:Anita Kern / Elapela

Every year we decorate our Christmas trees with all kinds of glittery baubles, bells, figures and tinsel, in a rustic style with straw stars and nuts, or with sweet chocolate and meringue rings. Naturally we then add candles, or nowadays more usually electric tree lights, which make the tree sparkle. A classic form of decoration for the Christmas tree is the bauble made of glass, or nowadays frequently made from less breakable plastic. The spherical shape of this kind of tree decoration is probably due to the fact that Christmas trees were originally mostly decorated with apples, nuts and delicate pastries – which, at that time, was an extravagant luxury for many people. It was during the mid-19th century, in the German town of Thüringen, that inventive glass blowers first made glass spheres to be hung on the tree as decorations. Originally the glass was mirrored using lead and zinc, later with silver nitrate. Nowadays high-quality glass Christmas baubles are still hand-blown, a very time-consuming handicraft which naturally entails a corresponding high price. They are often also painted or decorated with glitter. Other shapes such as animals, bells or angels are also made from glass by pressing the still hot, malleable glass balls into a shape. Cheaper baubles are manufactured on an industrial scale from glass or plastic. When it comes to the colour, shape or decoration, nowadays there are no limits to what the imagination can produce. 

While valuable Christmas decorations were once passed down lovingly from generation to generation, nowadays many people have “Christmas sets” in various colours and styles to choose from, or simply buy new decorations every year, perhaps at a Christmas market, where the huge range of glittery Christmas decorations is almost overwhelming. The design for the Christmas stamp shows a classically shaped Christmas bauble in the characteristic red of Christmas. However, this bauble is not made from glass, but is, rather, made up of many small images and motifs: stars, snowflakes, apples, animals, a snowman, a sledge, a sprig of mistletoe, a bell, a gift parcel, Christmas decorations, and, of course, the Christmas post, via which we can wish our loved ones a happy and peaceful Christmas – together all these things make up Christmas. A graphically reduced, pictogram style presentation, which uses a clear language of imagery to fill the shape of a classic Christmas bauble with meaning: the memories, wishes and traditions that we associate with Christmas. A particularly eye-catching feature is the stamp’s denomination, which also forms the loop for hanging up the Christmas bauble. This modern Christmas stamp was designed by renowned designer Anita Kern.

2015 Christmas Stamp by Anita Kern

Stamp images and description thanks to Austrian Post - Österreichische Post
La Poste