Royal Mail issue 2012 festive stamps

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ROYAL Mail has issued its 2012 Christmas stamps featuring delightful festive scenes.

The five stamps feature traditional Christmas scenes and characters including Father Christmas, festive robins, Christmas Trees and a reindeer.

The stamps are on sale from November 6, and will be available in all Post Offices and online at www.royalmail.com/christmas and by phone on 08457 641 641.

The Robin has an association with Royal Mail going back to Victorian times when postmen were nicknamed ‘Robin Redbreasts’ after the red waistcoats they wore.

The first decorated Christmas Trees were thought to have originated in 16th Century Germany. The earliest image of a snowman was discovered in a book called ‘Book of Hours’, from 1380.

To provide choice for customers, the popular 1st and 2nd Class Madonna and Child stamps, first issued in 2007, are also available.

Axel Scheffler, the best-selling children’s illustrator, is the designer of Royal Mail’s 2012 Christmas stamps.

As well as working with Scheffler on the Christmas stamps, Royal Mail’s design team also collaborated with children’s author and poet, Tony Mitton.

Mr Mitton, whose works include the Amazing Animals series and Crazy Camelot Capers, penned a narrative poem for the Presentation Pack entitled, Starry Story, a Christmas tale involving all the characters that appear on the stamps.

Mr Scheffler said: “It’s been an interesting and enjoyable experience working with Royal Mail on developing the Christmas stamps. I hope they’ll add a little extra colour and fun to the festive season.”

Paul Kelly, Royal Mail delivery director North & East Scotland, said: “We all look forward to our Christmas stamp issue. This year we were delighted with the work produced by Axel. His charming style set the perfect tone for the stamps.”

Meanwhile, Royal Mail is encouraging customers to post their festive greetings early and use the postcode.

It would like customers to order their online gifts and shopping well in advance to help postmen and women deliver the bumper festive mailbag.

The recommended last posting dates for mail to arrive in time for Christmas are:

Last posting dates for delivery within the UK:

1st Class Thursday, December 20; 2nd Class Tuesday, December 18; special delivery Saturday, December 22.

Last posting dates for international mail:

Airmail to Asia, Far East (including Japan), Australia, New Zealand, Wednesday, December 5.

Airmail to South and Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Friday, December 7.

Airmail to USA, Canada and Eastern Europe: Monday, December 10.

Airmail to Western Europe: Wednesday, December 12.