How it all Began
After several years (1977 through 1983) of designing FDC cachets for each year’s Christmas stamp issue, a new idea was needed to stimulate a fresh approach. At that time the hand painted covers for my personal collection, “Travel Around the World Without Leaving the United States,” came to mind. That series of covers depicts how different ethnic events carrying some ‘old world’ traditions, are celebrated in the United States. The cachet artwork denoting customs and/or costumes are documented with US postage and postmarks. So, why not do a ‘takeoff’ along those lines, and call it “CHRISTMAS Around The World”?
Starting in 1983, this idea for Christmas cachets was a learning experience for myself, as well as an effort to share with my collectors how Christmas is celebrated in various countries. Each year the cachet design highlights places around the world, and how the holiday is celebrated. The current year U.S. Christmas stamp and First Day of Issue postmark complete the cover. Something new and different each year!
To date we have made thirty-four different cachets honoring different nations, plus the following: 1. (imaginary) Whoville, in our “Grinch Who Stole Christmas Stamps” (DGX #104); 2. “Santa Around the World” (DG #136); 3. “Children of the World” (DGX #29); and 4. Toys Around the World (DGX #19), a total of 38
Who knows where we will be traveling next year!
Colonial Williamsburg 2014
A scene of Guatemalan children dressed in traditional cosutumes as they take part in a Las Posadas procession.
This cachet tells the story of a Peruvian family at holiday time. Dressed in their native market finery, they visit a Santuraticuy to buy a Saint for their nativity scene, as two native boys enjoy a hot chocolate at a Chocolatada.
Christmas in Indonesia cachet shows colorful costumes of a man and women in prayer. A Christmas tree is in the background. The Angel with Lute stamp and pictorial cancel is used.
Christmas in India is celebrated with lots of flowers.
Christmas time in Ethiopia is known as Ganna, a day when families attend church. It is celebrated on January 7. “Melkam Yelidet Beaal” is one of the ways to say Merry Christmas. The cachet design shows Ethiopian priests, carrying their umbrellas in the traditional marching around the church.
Christmas time in Bulgaria is called Koleda. The greeting, “Vesele Koleda” is wished for a Merry Christmas. The cachet features a Bulgarian couple in their native costumes.
In the Ukraine, Grandfather Frost and Snowflake Girl are standing in front of snow laden shrubbery. One way to say Merry Christmas in the Ukraine is “Veseloho Vam Rizdva.”
Elves are busy in the kitchen, getting all ready for the happy holiday.
Puerto Rico 2004
This year(2004)we travel to Puerto Rico in our Christmas Around The World series. The Santa ornaments bl/4 will be used on this colorful cachet design depicting the Three Wise Men.
Although Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, Spanish is the dominant language, and the Christmas greetings are Felíz Navidad.
The cachet design is a colorful rendition of The Three Kings in their vivid costumes, set upon a background reflecting the Hispanic influence. The design has been hand-drawn and hand-printed, then reproduced in full color. Note how the stamp and cachet colors complement each other, and both become an integrated part of the all-over design. The full block/4 stamps is used on all of the covers.
Trinidad and Tobago 2003
Christmas in Trinidad and Tobago has an amazing mixture of multicultural influences. The climate is warm and flowers are in bloom when Christmas is ushered in to the rhythm of parang, a Spanish-based Christmas music that originated in Venezuela.
The cachet design features a group performing their seasonal ‘parang, a perfect tie-in with the Holiday Music Makers stamps. Each FDC has the setenant block/4 stamps.
Crowds of children and parents wait for their treasured mug of Hot Cocoa.
Pere Noel (Father Christmas) fills childrens shoes with toys and presents. Le Petit Noel also gives toys. Children set out sabots (shoes) near the fireplace. This cachet won an AFDCS award.
With no Christmas stamps issued in 2000, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Stamps, took over this original cachet design. Included with each FDC is an original poem that tells the story. The previous year’s reindeer stamp with Santa Claus, IN, DEC 25, 2000 Circular Date Stamp completes this Event Cover.
Surfing Santa is the theme for this year. Santa can be seen coming in on a surfboard, with the Australian flag in his hand. In the background is the Opera House in Sydney. The Reindeer stamp is cancelled in Rudolph, WI, and the Madonna stamp is cancelled in Washington, DC, both cancels on October 20, 1999, First Day of Issue.
The cachet design depicts a Greek family during their Christmas celebration, as they gather around the table to have some Christmas pie. A gold coin has been inserted into the pie, and the one who gets the gold coin is supposed to have good luck. An actual gold flake (to represent the gold coin) has been added to each cachet by hand. A man and woman in traditional Hellenic costumes are in the right foreground. Kala Hristougenna is the Greek equivalent of Merry Christmas.
A boy watches as a girl lights the candle in an Irish household on Christmas Eve. There are bundles of straw on the window sill, and a decorated tree is in the background. A wren in the furze is outside the window. An interesting play of lights and darks suggests night time, as the glow of the candle casts shadows. A stippled mix of colors ties the background together. All are wished nodlag naith cugat.
Meri Kurisumasu is the Japanese greeting for the season. The cachet shows a tree trimmed with Japanese fans and other oriental decorations. A group of children is presenting a Christmas play.
Glaedelig Jul is how to say Merry Christmas in Denmark. The Jul-Nisse, an elf-like creature lives in the attic with the family cat. Danish children place a bowl of porridge at the attic entrance. When the bowl is found empty the next day, it is proof that Jul-Nisse has enjoyed the Christmas feast, and he leaves presents for those who have been good.
One of the old traditions is the five piles of grain whereby a hen is taken from the roost at midnights and placed on the kitchen floor. Each pile of grain bears a legend, which is supposed to foretell the future. The family stands by to see which legend the hen will leave him/her. A Russian St. Nicholas carries a birch switch to punish bad children, and he gives presents to those who have been good.
Children Around the World 1993
CHRISTMAS AROUNDTHE WORLD features the children of different nations in their national costumes.
This cachet design features toys from Around the World at Christmas time.
Santa Claus is seen coming out of the chimney in this U.S. A. CHRISTMAS cachet. Santa’s bag is full of goodies.
An angel comes to oversee a child in Hungary at Christmas time.
Saint Nicholas in Holland visits those children who have been good.
La Befana is the Italian equivalent of Santa Claus. She is a woman who flies on a broom to visit those children who have been good.
A young blindfolded child is trying to find the pinata as adults look on, in this Christmas in Mexico cachet design.
A Czech family gets ready for Christmas.
Christmas in Germany/Austria means shopping in street markets for holiday gifts. This cachet design is a scene showing a family shopping.
This cachet is a scene in a Serbian kitcen, preparing for the Christmas holiday.
Spanish singers in the costumes of their country make up the cachet design for this Christmas in Spain.
Street singers go a-caroling, dressed in their native costumes.
Merrie Olde England shows Christmas carolers singing on a wintry night.
In Sweden, Santa Lucia wears a crown of candles at Christmas time.
CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD cachet design features Santa and a bell with holiday greetings from around the world.