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Christmas 2019 - 70 Years of the Christkindl Post Office Gummed - Set

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  • 29.11.2019
About Christmas 2019 - 70 Years of the Christkindl Post Office Gummed

Christmas Stamp Designed by Bishop Stecher

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Christkindl post office, Austrian Post is issuing two attractive stamps with different designs, both showing a wintry watercolour painting of the Christkindl pilgrimage church.

The watercolour was painted by the former bishop of Innsbruck Dr. Reinhold Stecher, who was not only a philatelist but also an amateur painter, designing seven Christmas stamps for Austrian Post between 2005 and his death in 2013. This watercolour painting of Christkindl has already been used for the design for a Christmas stamp back in 2006.

Dr. Reinhold Stecher spent most of his life in his home region of Tyrol. He was an enthusiastic mountaineer, author, illustrator and painter, which is evident in the atmospheric designs of the Advent stamps which he created: “I am just adding a bit ofatmosphere to the mystery of Christmas. However, since there is no Christian festival which is more deeply embedded in the emotions of our society than Christmas, the little reminder on the corner of the envelope can play its part, because it is not just the letter butalso our heart that sets off on a journey towards great peace.”

Christkindl is not only famous for its picturesque church, but also for its Christmas post office, which is this year celebrating 70 years of operation: the Christkindl post office in Steyr opened its doors for the first time on 15th December 1950. Since then millions ofpeople have sent their Christmas post with the additional “via the Christkindl post office” postage stamp and had it stamped with that year’s special stamp. Thousands of letters written by children to the Christ Child are also answered in the post office.

“Zum Christkindl Unterm Himmel”

Meaning “Of the Christ Child under the Skies”, that is the alternative name of thepilgrimage church in Christkindl, a district of Steyr in Upper Austria. Legend tells that in 1695 Ferdinand Sertl from Steyr placed a wax figure of the baby Jesus in a hollow tree and prayed there to be healed. When he actually recovered his health, word spread quickly. Ever more people came on pilgrimages to the Christ Child in the tree. Soon a wooden chapel was built around the tree and in the 18th century the abbot of Garsten Abbey finally commissioned the building of the Baroque church we know today.