Back home I busied myself over the next week signing and writing notes on the cards, putting on the address and return address labels as well as the beautiful stamps. About halfway through the cards, I took a close look at the stamps - something didn’t look quite right. Under close scrutiny the gold Christmas tree didn’t really look like a tree, even a stylized one. And there was something else I hadn’t noticed - in the top left corner in large letters was the word EID. Huh?
Running out of stamps before the cards were finished, I returned to the Post Office. Again I asked for Christmas stamps and explained that I wasn’t sure what I got before and I’d like to know what they were. The busy postal worker quickly spread the choices out again, but when I pointed out the blue one, she had no idea what it was. She dug out a book that explained all of the stamps and flipped through page after page until she found the blue one. “Oh! That one is for an Islamic holiday!” “Oh great.” I said, for this was December, 2001 - shortly after 9/11. “Well, I’d like one for my holiday - Christmas.” “These are the holiday stamps...” This time I chose a bright, cheerful one with colorful candles ablaze across it. At least the rest of our cards would bear a more appropriate stamp.
Jewish menorah design: Hannah Smotrich
All of our Christmas cards that year were sent with love and good cheer and not one of them carried a Christmas stamp. If our family and friends noticed, they respectfully chose not to comment. Maybe they thought we were being unusually open-minded in that troubled year which so greatly needed international understanding. Or, perhaps they were as ignorant and distracted as I was and simply didn’t notice.
Artist: Ned Seidler