Things sure do seem to be a bit different with holiday stamps this year. They definitely are covering their basis for all kinds of mailings. There are 2 traditional Christmas stamps available, 1 International, 1 Presort set, and 2 contemporary options. Here are the releases I've not covered yet.
Virgin and Child Traditional Christmas Stamp
— October 11, 2013 | New York, New York 10199 | Forever stamp in PSA booklet
The 2013 Traditional Christmas stamp uses a 1531 Madonna and
Child painting by Jan Gossaert. Draped in purple and blue, the Virgin
Mary supports her own head by leaning on one of her hands, an unusual
pose that art historians see as a sign of sadness and contemplation. In
her other hand, a curly-haired infant Jesus draped in white holds a
bunch of red currants, which scholars believe are meant to foreshadow
his future suffering.
Gossaert's painting is currently in the collection of the
Cleveland Museum of Art. Richard Sheaff was the art director and
designer for this stamp.
Snowflakes Presort Standard Rate Holiday Stamps [Click to see 4 designs]
— October 1 | Weston, MO | Presort Standard Rate stamp in PSA coil of 10,000
One of the new entries in the annual USPS Holiday issues
rollout is a set of five different Presorted Standard rate Snowflake
stamps. Each snowflake is set against a background of colors that fade
from white at the bottom to icy blues and purples at the tops. The
designs are reminiscent of the 2005 Snowflakes Holiday First Class
Presort Standard Rate stamps are intended for use by volume
mailers who have found that mail with a postage stamp affixed instead of
a printed indicia has a better chance of being opened by the recipient.
As someone who sends Christmas cards internationally each year, I do like the fact that they have an option for that now. I always have to start with one Christmas stamp and then add varied "non festive" stamps with it, to make up the difference. This just makes it FUN!
The snowflakes aren't something most are going to use and that's too bad. I'd love to have those on Forever stamps to use in the winter for my everyday mail. I really, like the artwork.
The traditional stamps are never my favorites, but for those that prefer them, I think having two options is great!
I'm still waiting to see what that Harry Potter Forever stamp is all about, but no information just yet.