BETHLEHEM, Conn. (WTNH) — A time-honored tradition is back! The little town of Bethlehem, Connecticut allows patrons to stamp Christmas mail with their iconic postal stamps.
Last year, COVID concerns canceled the cachets. This post office on East Street is now magical at Christmas again.
Katie Pratt DiMarco chose her holiday card stamps carefully.
“My mom would always come here to do her Christmas cards, then when I moved here, I said I have to have them from here,” DiMarco said.
Included in the rubber stamp collection are a menorah stamper, three king crowns, and trumpeting angels.
Pratt DiMarco said friends wait for the unique mark and like getting the stamps every year.
This tradition dates back to 1940. Legend has it, Bethlehem’s postmaster Earl Skidmore Johnson started the trend with an original stamp.
Bob Waldron is a Bethlehem native and knows the postmaster story.
“He was sending a card to the White House, the President and he put a stamp on it!” Waldron said.
They create a new stamp every year. The locals even submit designs.
The company in Naugatuck that creates the handheld stampers is currently working on a new design for next year.
The official postmark is hand stamped as well. Workers recently processed 6,000 pieces of mail in one day.
One holiday card was headed to New Zealand via “Christmas Town” and that famous green seal.
There’s also a guest book. The Tremblay family from Virginia wrote, “designed #47 when I was in 3rd grade at Bethlehem Elementary.”
Families from far and wide leave messages like, “been doing this for 54 years.” A “cherished tradition.”
The granddaughter of the original postmaster who started it all even signed the book with a heart.
You still have time to stamp your cards. The post office is open on Christmas Eve until 1 p.m.