The Christmas stamps exhibition on 10 November 2016–8 January 2017 will present all Christmas stamps published in Finland and the original sketches made by artists. Also on display are entries from a Christmas stamp design competition organised by Posti and the Association of Finnish Illustrators.
Finland’s first Christmas stamp was published in 1973. It features Santa Claus in a snowy landscape, riding in a reindeer-pulled sleigh with a bag of presents. This year’s Christmas stamps come from a design competition organised by Posti and the Association of Finnish Illustrators. The domestic Christmas stamp was designed by Sari Airola from Helsinki and the first-class stamp by Sini Ezer from Espoo.
The themes of the Christmas stamps relate to traditional Finnish Christmas beliefs and customs. The nostalgic imagery has been influenced by rustic, Christian and urban festive customs. About half of the Christmas stamps published in Finland depict Christmas in the countryside in an idyllic, snow-white setting. Many artists have had the opportunity to create their interpretations of Santa Claus, elves and reindeer. Other themes have included fetching the Christmas tree from the forest, heating up the Christmas sauna, bird feeding and Christmas decorations.
Finland’s most productive Christmas stamp artist is Pirkko Vahtero. She has designed 17 Christmas stamps and been responsible for the layout of six stamps. She designed all Finnish Christmas stamps from 1973 to 1982.