Christmas motifs are featured on stamps from many countries, delighting young and old alike, especially topical collectors who specialize in the subject.

First, we welcome an unusual set of three stamps from Gibraltar. The stamps, which show Christmas through the eyes of children, are the result of a special competition among students in Gibraltar schools.The winning youngsters, all age 8, were from two schools: St. Anne's School in North Gibraltar and Governors Meadows First School in Alameda.

The 4-pence depicts a Christmas snowman; the 22-pence illustrates the Baby Jesus watched over by his mother under an open sky noting the Star of Bethlehem; and the 44-pence shows Santa Claus ready to deliver his gifts.

These stamps are not the first from Gibraltar that feature Christmas designs by children. In 1980, the Gibraltar Post Office held a competition for students enrolled in full-time education. The winning entries were the basis for Gibraltar's 1981 Christmas issue.

The 1988 Gibraltar Christmas set is available at your local dealer.


Lesotho's 1988 Christmas set of eight stamps highlights the beautiful artwork of Titian, who gained fame for his religious paintings. The great Venetian Renaissance master's real name was Tiziano Vecellio (1490?-1576).

The 12-senti depicts a detail of his "The Averoldi Poltytych." The 20-senti and the 35-senti each show a different detail from "Christ and the Adulteress."

The 45-senti has a view of "Angel of the Annunciation"; the 65-senti pictures "Santo Dominic"; the 1-maloti depicts a detail from "The Vendramin Family" and the 2-maloti features "Mary Magdalen." The highest value, 3-maloti, shows Titian's famous "The Tribute Money."

There are also two souvenir sheets featuring Titian works. One shows "Assumption of the Virgin" and the other illustrates "The Mater Dolorosa."


Sierra Leone's Christmas series pays tribute to another old master, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). He was recognized as the greatest Flemish painter of his day. Rubens received numerous commissions for artwork from churches and royal courts.

Depicted are the following:

The 3-Le, 5-Le and 60-Le each show a different detail from Rubens' "Adoration of the Magi." The 3.60-Le and 10-Le are illustrated with details from "Adoration of the Shepherds." "Virgin and Child Surrounded by Flowers" is on the 20-Le; the 40-Le depicts "Madonna and Child"; and the 80-Le features "Madonna and Child with Saints."

Two souvenir sheets illustrate other views from Rubens' works.

These items are available at your local dealer.


Just before Christmas, the island of Guernsey customarily issues a special sheetlet of stamps at a reduced postal rate for patrons who use them for mailing season's greeting cards. The special rate is 8 pence.

Depicted on the adhesives are six Guernsey churches, four French churches and two English churches that are linked in history.

Featured are Notre Dame du Rosaire, stained glass of St. Sampson's Church, Bishop's Throne in Town Church, High Altar in St. Joseph's Church, the Chancel in the Vale Church and Lychgate Forest Church, all in Guernsey; La Cathedrale de Coutances, La Cathedrale de Dol-de-Bretagne, Le Mont Saint-Michel and L'Abbaye de Marmoutier, all in France; and the Winchester Cathedral and St. John's Cathedral, both in England


The Federated States of Micronesia, a former U.S.-administered Trust Territory in the Western Pacific, issued a setenant (attached) block of four horizontal 25-cent stamps depicting a joyous group of local island children decorating a Christmas tree. A white bird symbolic of peace flies overhead with a sprig of mistletoe in its mouth.

Christmas trees are not grown in Micronesia, so the trees must be imported each year just prior to Christmas.