World's First Christmas Stamp
Issued by Canada in 1898, Approved by Queen Victoria
In 1898, Imperial Penny Postage was established in Canada, lowering the postage rate from 3¢ to 2¢. New stamps were needed, and it became Postmaster General William Mullock's duty to present the design to Queen Victoria for approval.
The new stamp featured a world map with Great Britain's territories highlighted. Mullock reportedly suggested issuing the stamp on November 9 "in honor of the prince [of Wales]," but Queen Victoria made her displeasure known immediately, replying "what prince?" (She and her oldest son had a notoriously rocky relationship since Prince Albert's death in 1861. The Queen is said to have blamed her son and the stress caused by his "playboy prince" reputation for his father's death.)
Thankfully, Mullock was able to turn the meeting around by replying "Why, madam, the prince of peace." Proposing the new stamp honor Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ satisfied Queen Victoria and she approved the new stamp for issue December 7. It was the first Canada stamp to feature multiple colors.
The initial printing had a lavender background with the highlighted sections in carmine. A later printing changed the background color to blue, though there are several shades known to exist between the two colors. Small differences make collecting these stamps even more fun and interesting.