1962 4¢ Wreathes and Candles
Issue Date: November 1, 1962
City: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Green and red
U.S. #1205 was the first U.S. stamp specifically celebrating Christmas. A Christmas theme had been requested for years. At the dedication ceremony, Postmaster General J. Edward Day announced it would be the first of a series of stamps to commemorate the holiday.
The Post Office Department expected strong demand, and printed 350 million stamps – the most ever at the time for a special issue. But demand was far greater than they anticipated, and by the end of 1962, over 800 million stamps had been printed and distributed.
The issuing of a stamp honoring a religious holiday drew controversy, as some people felt it was a conflict involving separation of church and state. There were some legal actions taken to block the release of the stamp, but they all failed.