While Christmas cards have brightened up the darkness of December for many Norwegians for more than 130 years,
Christmas stamps are a much more recent phenomenon.
Three stamps with the theme of Norwegian fairy tales were issued in 1971. These were the first stamps in Norway that were issued with Christmas cards in mind. They therefore are normally considered – in practice as well – to be our first Christmas stamps, even if the motifs of the stamps themselves do not necessarily lead to thoughts of Christmas.
In 1975 the first Christmas stamps with religious motifs were issued, and the motifs were inspired by the ceiling paintings in
the Ål stave church in Hallingdal. Christmas stamp booklets have been issued every year since 1982, and they have been self-adhesive since 1997.
Over the years we have enjoyed Christmas stamps with stained glass windows from Nidaros Cathedral, drawings by children,
Christmas decorations and Santas. We have been through Christmas wreaths, bullfinches, runic almanacs and Prøysen’s
world, and we have been able to raise our voices to the notes of «Glade Jul» and «Deilig er den himmel blå». In 2005 the
Christmas stamps were even scented!
This year’s two Christmas stamps depict Sølvguttene boys’ choir and Per Asplin’s popular play, «Putti Plutti Pott and Santa’s
Beard». Sølvguttene dates back to 1940, when the choir was founded by Torstein Grythe. He led and conducted the choir for
64 years. In 1968 Sølvguttene joined forces with NRK’s boys’ choir, and for those of us who witnessed the early days of television, the annual Sølvguttene concert was an important part of the Christmas tradition.
Per Asplin wrote and composed «Putti Plutti Pott and Santa’s Beard» in 1969. It was first published as a book, and then had its
debut as a TV show in 1970. In 1987 a more extensive musical version was created for the stage, and it has been there since. For many of us, «Putti Plutti Pott» is also a natural part of the Christmas tradition.