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Bethlehem to unveil new stamp

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By The Staff

Each year, the U.S. Postal Service produces special Christmas stamps. This year is no different — one of this year’s Christmas stamps is based on the Holy Family.

And each year, a select few post offices get to conduct stamp dedication and unveiling ceremonies. This year, Bethlehem Post Office will be one of those locations. Friday afternoon, the post office will reveal the Holy Family stamp.

The Bethlehem Post Office believed to be a prime location for the event because of the Pictorial Postmark of the three Wisemen that is applied to thousand of greeting cards each December.

That postmark has adorned cards leaving the Bethlehem office since 1947, and is a long sought after tradition. In addition, the town is also know for the Living Nativity scene that goes up each December. In a press release, the Bethlehem post office said “this stamp that commemorates the escape of the Holy Family into Egypt will be an appropriate fit.”

Postmaster Susan Leopold first saw the stamp image that was to be released this year back in January. “Our pictorial postmark will go wonderfully with the Holy Family stamp,” Leopold said. “I requested to have the stamp ceremony back in February and I was thrilled when I heard we were selected. The stamp is beautiful and it is an honor to have the ceremony in Bethlehem.” 

The Holy Family stamp depicts a scene of Joseph leading a donkey which carries Mary and the infant, Jesus; a desert sunset and the star guiding their flight is the backdrop. The stamp was a collaborative effort by art director William Gicker, designer Greg Breeding and artist Nancy Stahl to create the image that makes up this season’s Forever® stamp.

“We are proud that this stamp and our pictorial postmark will decorate thousands of greeting cards this year,” Leopold said, adding that “all cards have a message inside, but customers bring their mail pieces to us because they want the message to start on the outside.”

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver about 17 billion cards, packages and letters between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. The Bethlehem Post Office expects to postmark around 50,000 of those pieces with the town name “Bethlehem” during that same period.

In addition to unveiling an enlargement of the stamp image, the ceremony also will include some history of the Bethlehem Post Office and the town, Postmasters Susan Leopold and Sheila Downey will accompany mail carrier, Cory Hall in singing some Christmas carols, and State Representative, Tom Riner will conduct the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the event activities.

The event takes place at the Bethlehem Post Office at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, and is open to the public.