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Christmas Seals

Updated on September 29, 2016
Lee Hansen profile image

Graphic designer, digital artist and paper crafter. See 1000s of unique designs on her web sites (see Profile page) or Zazzle (imagefactory)

The History of Christmas Seals ®

For more than 100 years, the US Christmas Seals ® campaign has been raising funds to help in the fight for air. First launched by the American Red Cross in 1907, the US Christmas Seals campaign is managed today by the American Lung Association. Although stewardship of the campaign and its specific causes have changed over the years, the focus of the Christmas Seals campaign is still on helping us all breathe easier.

From its origins as a fundraiser for a Delaware tuberculosis sanitarium to today's nationwide programs that include promoting programs for clean air in our homes, schools, workplaces and outdoor spaces plus anti-smoking education, childhood asthma research and work on other breathing-related issues, the Christmas Seals campaign comprises an important awareness and fund-raising program of the American Lung Association.

My mother has been battling COPD for more than 10 years, and my brother is a respiratory therapist. In our family, we cherish clean, healthy air.

Photo: 1925 Christmas Seal, Wikimedia

Christmas Seals, 1946

Stamp Collector Albums - Organize, label and preserve your little bits of history

The best way to enjoy any collection is to organize it in a protective album or case. Stamps become quite fragile as they age, so it's best to mount them in a specially design book that lets you look at them over and over without handling.

Lighthouse Hardcover Stamp Album Stockbook With 64 Black Pages, Red, LS4/32
Lighthouse Hardcover Stamp Album Stockbook With 64 Black Pages, Red, LS4/32

Nice red hardcover album with black pages to show off your stamps


I Remember Christmas Seals - Christmas Seals - Facts, History, Artists, Trivia

Christmas Seals have a rich history. Many baby boomers have fond memories of pasting Christmas Seals on greeting cards and packages during the holidays. Vintage stamp sheets preserved from seasons past are highly prized collectibles. Stamp collectors consider them special novelties and many uncut sheets are lovingly preserved as works of art - with prices to match.

Buy Christmas Seals this year and start an annual tradition or a collection while helping to fund breathing diseases research, health education and air quality legislation, or purchase gifts and holiday merchandise through the official Christmas Seals store.

Christmas Seals Collector Catalogs - Reference books to help you identify and catalog your stamp collection

Philatelists include Christmas Seals non-postage stamps in special collections. You can purchase unique albums to organize and protect your stamps. These books will help you identify, categorize and determine the value of your collectibles.

Christmas Seal Catalog of U.S. National Christmas Seals
Christmas Seal Catalog of U.S. National Christmas Seals

Collectors and others interested in these tiny artworks that raise funds for lung research and clean air legislation will find artist information, collectible values and other triva and facts in this catalog.

1958 Christmas Seal Stamps Sheet
1958 Christmas Seal Stamps Sheet | Source

Christmas Carols for Your Listening Pleasure

In 1907, Tuberculosis (TB) was a common and serious lung disease

Christmas Seals campaign begun by the Red Cross now managed by The American Lung Association

"In the early 20th century, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the U.S. ... tiny Delaware sanitorium would have to close its doors if $300 could not be raised to save it. One of its doctors explained the plight to his cousin, a Red Cross volunteer named Emily Bissell. Bissell was a veteran fundraiser, and she soon came up with a plan based on one that had worked in Denmark: She would design and print special holiday seals and sell them at the post office for a penny each.

By the end of her holiday campaign (and after an endorsement by President Roosevelt), she and a large group of committed volunteers had raised ten times the goal and the American Lung Association Christmas Seals were born."

From: American Lung Association, History of Christmas Seals

Christmas Seals Golden Anniversary - Help Celebrate Another 100 Years of Christmas Seals

Postman Christmas Seals
Postman Christmas Seals

Christmas Seals in the USA

"Christmas seals ... were introduced to the United States by Emily Bissell in 1907, after she had read about the program in an article by Danish-born Jacob Riis, a muckraking journalist and photographer. Bissell hoped to raise money for a sanitarium on the Brandywine Creek in Delaware.

It grew to a national program in 1908 by the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (NASPT) and the American National Red Cross. The seals were sold at post offices, initially in Delaware at 1 cent each. Net proceeds from the sales would be divided equally between the two organizations. By 1920, the Red Cross withdrew from the arrangement and sales were conducted exclusively by the NASPT, then known as the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA). Various promotional schemes were tried: in 1954 the small town of Saranac Lake, New York (home of the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium) won a nationwide competition selling Christmas Seals, the reward for which was hosting the world premiere of the Paul Newman film, The Silver Chalice; the cast participated in a parade in the town's annual winter carnival.

After World War II with the development of the antibiotic streptomycin TB became a curable disease, although it would be decades before it could be considered under control in developed countries. To reflect the expanding scope of the organization's goals, the name was changed to the National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association in the late 1960s. The NTRDA became the American Lung Association in 1973, though the 1974 seals continue to show the NTRDA inscription on the sheet margin.

Today the Christmas Seals benefit the American Lung Association and other lung related issues. Tuberculosis was declining, but recently has been on the rise. TB is still one of the most common major infectious diseases in the world."

From Wikipedia, Christmas Seal

1944 Christmas Seal Design Picture - flashbackwiki, Flickr

Lung Health Issues Information - Christmas Seals Help Fight COPD, Asthma, Flu, Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma

This link list provides resources for understanding symptoms and treatments for lung-related health issues including asthma, COPD and lung cancer.

Donate to American Lung Association - How to contact American Lung Association About Christmas Seals

Vintage  Christmas Seal Promotional Advertising
Vintage Christmas Seal Promotional Advertising

Learn more about Christmas Seals program, the work of the American Lung Association and other lung health related issues they tackle by visiting the official web site or contacting the American Lung Association headquarters or you state divisional office.

American Lung Association

1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004


T: 202 785 3355 | F: 202 452 1805



This page and its author are not affiliated with the American Lung Association or Christmas Seals.

Kids can learn more about lung health, download a game or print a coloring page - click the image for free printable Christmas coloring page.

Image: vintage early 20th century advertising cut promoting Christmas Seals

US Christmas Seal, type 2, 1907 - from eBay Christmas Seal Guide
US Christmas Seal, type 2, 1907 - from eBay Christmas Seal Guide

Help American Lung Association Fight for Clean Air

Help fund lung disease research and legislation for healthy air

The fight for clean air and research to combat lung diseases get funding from the sales of Christmas Seals. The US program was developed as a critical fundraising effort in 1907, modeled after a successful campaign that began in 1904 in Denmark. My paternal grandmother was a tough Irish nurse from Boston who cared for recovering TB patients and others in her home; I lived there with my parents until I was about 5 years old. No members of my family contracted tuberculosis, although in the 1950s both my parents smoked cigarettes. By the sixties they'd both kicked the nicotine habit.

As a child, I looked forward to the packet of colorful holiday stamps on perforated sheets - Christmas Seals - that would arrive around Thanksgiving in our mail box.

Our family always made a donation to the campaign. I and my 5 siblings enjoyed tearing the stamps apart and sticking them to the backs of holiday card envelopes, packages, gift tags and ornaments.

Today you can purchase Christmas Seals directly from the American Lung Association. They're shipped free of charge when you make a donation to the Christmas Seals campaign.

Celebrate your good health and happiness with a gift to the American Lung Association.

Christmas Seals Collectibles on eBay - Vintage stamps and sheets have high value

Philatelists (stamp collectors) often have a special section in their stamp albums for Christmas Seals.

eBay Guide to Christmas Seals is filled with information and lots of pictures of vintage Christmas seals.

Canadians Love Christmas Seals

© 2009 Lee Hansen

Please Sign My Christmas Seals Guestbook - Good Health and Great Breath to You

Submit a Comment

  • CrossCreations profile image

    Carolan Ross 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    This history of Christmas Seals is interesting. I remember as a child when mom sent Christmas cards, she'd hand them over to us kids to do the Christmas seal thing for her, we enjoyed that.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Nice Squidoo. Very interesting and cool. Chris

  • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

    Kathy McGraw 

    7 years ago from California

    Although I have heard of Christmas Seals forever I didn't realize they were for smoke free education :) Blessed by the Collecting Angel :)

  • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

    Nathalie Roy 

    8 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

    I do run across these stamps from time to time as a stamp collector. Many countries other than the US also issue christmas seals, but not all of them are for a good cause such as those from the USA. Happily lensrolling you to all my stamp collecting lense!

  • Kate Phizackerl1 profile image

    Kate Phizackerl1 

    8 years ago

    A quality Health lens - Blessed by a Squid Angel.

  • justholidays profile image


    8 years ago

    Stop smoking is one of my new year goals... strange that I just read your lens few days before deadline :)

  • groovyfind profile image

    Samantha Devereux 

    8 years ago from Columbia Mo

    Very nice!

  • pkmcruk profile image


    8 years ago from Cheshire UK

    I wasn't aware of this but have been fascinated to discover the work that is done that deserves a much wider audience. Blessed by a Squid Angel with Christmas wishes :-)

  • SoyCandleLover profile image

    BW Duerr 

    8 years ago from Henrietta, New York

    Nicely done. We used to get them in the mail which worked as a reminder for me to donate. I'm sorry to say I had forgotten about them without the reminder... :D Thanks so much. 5 stars

  • norma-holt profile image


    8 years ago

    Great lens and great cause. We used to have seals here as well but they are no longer around since lotteries and things took over. 5* fave and lensrolled'

    Norma :)

  • mysticmama lm profile image

    Bambi Watson 

    8 years ago

    I remember carefully placing these on my Grandmother's x-mas card envelopes every year as my special job when I was a kid...I haven't seen these in years, but I'm glad they're still around, will have to get some for my cards next year!

    Blessed by an Angel!


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