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1995 Ken Mackenzie Writer's Award Winner

The Little Green Christmas Tree Cachets
from Christmas, Florida

by Ed Kalasa, CPC #644




After reading the very interesting article "A Visit to Christmas Florida" by Lillian Hetrick in the January/February 1994 Yule Log, I examined my collection of the Christmas, Florida little green Christmas tree cachets. I found that I have about 20 varieties of the cachet and an earlier year of use than was stated in that article (1935). I believe that the use of a cachet on mail from this post office was started by Juanita Tucker, who became the postmaster in 1932. Before the green tree appeared, a cachet showing a line of green holly leaves with two bells was used. (Fig.1). I have seen several similar ones with the December 25 dates. The `little green Christmas tree' rubber stamp cachet made its debut in 1934 (Fig. 2). I have two covers with this cachet in my collection and have seen others. In 1935, a greeting was added to the cachet to commemorate the town's centennial (Fig. 3). This started a 60 year tradition with very little change to the little green Christmas tree cachet, except for variations in the text above and below the tree. In 1936 "Christmas Greetings" and the year were added below the tree (Fig. 4). The wording in the following years reflected the spirit of the season "Merry Christmas/1937" (Fig. 5), "Yuletide Greetings/1938" (Fig. 6), "A Joyous Christmas/1939" (Fig. 7), "Christmas Cheer/1940" (Fig. 8) and "Greetings from Christmas/1941" (Fig. 9).

During the latter years of WWII, there were several variations of the special greeting. "Best Wishes for Christmas/1942" (Fig. 10) was the new greeting but I have in my collection and have seen the `little green Christmas tree' without a greeting or date, the same as Figure 2. For 1942 I have also seen the use of a recycled one from 1939, as in Figure 7, "A Joyous Christmas" without a year date (Fig. 11). This may have been due to a shortage of critical war materials or postal funds. In 1943, all I can find is the type in Figure 11 and in 1944 all that I have ever observed is the type in Figure 2, the `little green Christmas tree' without a greeting or year date.

WWII ended in 1945 and the Christmas Florida Post Office continued their traditional cachet with a very appropriate greeting "Peace on Earth/1945" (Fig. 12), followed by "Good Will toward Men/1946" (Fig. 13) and "For the Healing/of the Nations,/One World Indivisible./ 1947" (Fig. 14). Notice also that from 1946 on, the script style of the text changed. The year date, however, reverted to the fancy script at times.

In 1948 and 1949 a line from the first Christmas carol was used (Fig. 15). The words "Glory to God/In the Highest" were used for many years. In 1950, "Glory to God/In the Highest" moved to above the tree and "CHRISTMAS /Orange Co., Fla./1950" appeared below the tree (Fig. 16). A 1952 cover shows the same type but without the year date. Another small change took place sometime after 1952 with "Orange Co." being spelled out in full "Orange County" (Fig. 17). The earliest known date (EKD) for this style is 1958. However, because of a shortage of data that I have from this period, it may have been earlier than 1958. Through the ensuing years, covers may be found without the year date. In some cases, this may be due to under inking. A cover from 1967 shows a cachet similar to Fig. 17, but without the year date. Most likely, under inking caused this peculiarity (Fig. 18).

In 1981 (Fig. 19), the little green tree cachet stayed the same, but the year date was dropped and has never appeared again with this cachet. In 1990, the last change (recorded to date) was made. A larger Christmas tree without a greeting appeared with only the words "Christmas,/Florida" below the tree (Fig. 20). From 1990 to 1993, I have found the use of both types as in Figures 19 and 20.

On June 27, 1992 the Christmas Florida Post Office celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special pictorial cancel (Fig. 21) no pot, no candles, but the tree was still green. A star shines brightly from atop the tree, proclaiming 1992 as the 100th year of the Christmas Florida Post Office. EK

Author's Note: There may be other types of this famous cachet that I am not aware of and if anyone has more information or can add to this list, I would like to hear from them.



Continue to read about the Ken Mackenzie Writer's Award.

Find out how to join the Christmas Philatelic Club.

     

The Yule Log is edited by Jon Mills of Ottawa, Ontario. Christine Sanders of Englewood, Florida is the club's current president.

The invitation to membership in the Christmas Philatelic Club is open to any Christmas topical philatelist who is seriously interested in associating with those who collect likewise.

Current dues are $20 per year for persons living in North America. Other Countries: $30.00 (US funds). Send an international money order in US dollars.

Applications for membership are available from Secretary/Treasurer Jim Balog, PO Box 744, Geneva, Ohio 44042-0744 USA or complete this Application Form and send it to the secretary's address..

 

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Geneva OH
44041-0744
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