The Great USPS Holiday Stamp Debate of 2013: Is the Gingerbread House Offensive?

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Over the last few days, there has been a lot of "outrage" and "debate" about the flyer sent out by the USPS featuring a Kwanzaa stamp, a Hanukkah stamp and a gingerbread stamp. To many, this is a glaring omission of the Christmas holiday, there is no stamp that has the words "Christmas" featured in the ad. Note: There are stamps available on the USPS website which have a more traditional Christmas picture and the word "Christmas" on them. According to the USPS, they feature the new holiday stamps in the ad and the gingerbread house is new, end of story. Being the fact-finder that I am, I went straight to their website. I have listed key stamps and by issue date for you below:

Gingerbread Houses
Image Credit:
  • Virgin and Child issue date October 11, 2013
  • Gingerbread Houses issue date November 6, 2013
  • Hanukkah stamp issue date November 19, 2013
  • Kwanzaa stamp issue date November 26, 2013

In a recent tweet, the USPS said "our ad features newly added stamps", if they had said "the newest" stamps, it would have made more sense. After all, the gingerbread houses came out after the Virgin and Child. But I am not here to argue semantics, not this time anyway.

I did a little more research and found some interesting facts -  many people think the Virgin and Child stamp is ugly; in 2011 the controversy was that the Christmas stamps were too Catholic a more "Christian" stamp was requested, or a simple non-religious stamp was needed; and, in 2012 there were no new Kwanzaa or Hanukkah stamps since they had plenty of inventory left over from 2011.

So let me ask you these questions:

  • Where was the Kwanzaa and Hanukkah outrage in 2012 when they didn't get a new stamp?
  • What if the "ugly" Virgin and Child stamp had been featured? Would it be too ugly? Too religious?
  • What if the gingerbread house stamp had the word "Christmas" on it, would that have been acceptable? Is it simply the word or the religion?
  • Will we ever be happy with stamps?

I'll be honest with you, I looked at the ad and didn't have an issue with it. I know what season it is, I know what holiday it is, I don't need an ad for stamps to tell me. Do you? Really? Are you that offended by an ad that you cannot get through your day and need to take to Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general before you can function? Shall we storm the gates of the Post Office? Egg their trucks?

Despite the fact that I am one of the most dramatic people I know, I say take it at face value. It's meaningless, it's an ad for the most recently issued stamps, so it is right on target. Corral your energy and protest something else, it's not like there are no Christmas stamps, there are plenty of them. In fact, there are 16 holiday stamps this season, 10 of them depict images directly related to Christmas, of those 10, 4 have the word Christmas on it. Holy Hell! Only 4?!? Considering there are only 2 stamps with the word Kwanzaa and 2 with the word Hanukkah on them, I think we'll be ok. Frankly, when I saw the gingerbread house, I thought of Christmas. I really don't know any families that make gingerbread houses on the 4th of July, do you?

What's your take? Big issue? Small issue? Are you offended by the ad? Are you offended by me? Pour your heart out!

The Missing Niche


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