2010 44¢ Holiday Evergreens
Issue Date: October 21, 2010
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint "USPS"
The 2010 Holiday Evergreens stamps are the first holiday-themed U.S. Forever stamps.
Americans who enjoy the warm glow of a decorated Christmas tree on cozy winter nights may credit the people of Germany.
According to tradition, Christmas trees were part of a Teutonic ritual. Because its foliage remained green even in the dead of winter, the Germanic tribe believed evergreens represented eternal life.
Much like St. Patrick and the clover leaf, Saint Boniface, the patron saint of Germany, is said to have used the triangular shape of the Christmas tree to explain the concept of the Trinity.
One of the first public Christmas trees was erected by German settlers in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. Fruits, nuts, flowers, candles, and baked ornaments adorned the trees.
The weight of the ornaments caused weaker branches to droop, prompting enterprising German glassblowers to produce lightweight glass balls for decorations. In 1882, Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, suggested electric lights to replace the dangerous candles.
Department stores and churches began to erect large, illuminated holiday trees around the turn of the century. Today, public tree-lightings signal the beginning of the holiday season in many cities around the world.