This holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service is offering commemorative stamps to celebrate Nutcrackers as well as a new traditional stamp featuring the work of artist Sandro Botticelli, called Virgin and Child with the young John the Baptist. Perfect for giving bland envelopes a little something extra!

When Patti sent me the information on these holiday stamps, I began to wonder about the origin of the practice of sending holiday greeting cards. It’s one of those things many of us do, but I’d never thought about why. Turns out, the tradition of sending Christmas cards began in Victorian England as a way to spread holiday cheer without having to write time-consuming letters, which makes sense if anyone has ever noticed the denseness of Victorian-era correspondence. The first Christmas cards, printed in black and white and colored in by hand, were condemned because they held an illustration of a family raising a toast to the recipient, and therefore were believed to be advocating drunkenness. We’ve definitely gotten less uptight since then!

Holiday stamps can be purchased at your local post office or online by visiting here