In 1992 a series of International Santa Claus, or "Christmas Personages" was issued. These were all designed by Stephanie Power.
I couldn't find any explanation for why these particular countries were chosen, but we have the domestic rate stamp with Estonia, the US rate stamp with Italy, and the overseas rate stamp with Germany.Estonia's "Jõuluvana" is clothed in a brown sheepskin coat and matching hat, hand-knitted mittens and a walking staff. Imported from German legend, he carries a bag of presents for good children and uses his stick on the naughty.
Based on an illustration by Anita Kunz
"La Belfana" of Italy, is a benevolent witch-like woman who rides a broomstick on the eve of Epiphany, January 5, carrying presents for the deserving and charcoal for the erring. After leaving small gifts and consuming snacks left for her, she sweeps the floors with her broom. Italy also enjoys a second gift-giver, Babbo Natale, a Santa figure similar to ours who brings larger or more expensive gifts on Christmas Eve.
Based on an illustration by Jamie Bennett
Germany's "Weihnachtsmann" is a thin, stooped, heavily laden, white-bearded old man who makes his rounds on Christmas Eve with his sack of presents and a Christmas tree. He is a secularized version of Saint Nicholas, who is still associated with December 6.
|Based on an illustration by Simon Ng|
fly on over to Sunday Stamps II for more Christmassy themed stamps