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The well known "Christkindl" Christmas Post Office opens on November 30, 2001

Pressemeldung from 09.11.2001

Special Christmas postage stamp 2001 will be the last stamp issued in Austrian Schillings
Innovation: "Christkindl" booklet and online shop

Once more, and for the 52nd time, "Christkindl" post office opens on November 30, 2001. Some two million items will be treated there up to January 6, 2002.
In the Austrian tradition, "Christkindl" - infant Jesus - brings gifts to children in Christmas time, a ritual which led Austrian post 52 years ago to have Christmas mail postmarked by the post office in the little Christkindl village in Upper Austria.

Special postage stamp and postmark Christmas 2001 introduced on November 30, 2001
Special postage stamp "Christmas 2001" will be available as of November 30, 2001. It shows a reproduction of the "Jesuskindl" (infant Jesus) painting in Filzmoos. Christmas stamp 2001 is the last postage stamp issued in Austrian Schillings; as of 2002 Österreichische Post AG will exclusively issue EURO stamps.

As usual, two postmarks will be used by this post office this year also.
As of opening up to December 26, 1001, postmark will show a Christmas motive, from December 27, 2001, to January 6, 2002, an epiphany motive.
Postmark used as of November 30, 2001, will, of course, show the date of the day, the name of post office "Christikindl", and post code "4411", the motive being a representation of a Nativity as created in Salzburg sometime during the first half of the fifteenth century, combined with a view of the Filzmoos church - where the original painting of this years Christmas postage stamp is to be found - and Dachstein mountain.
Postmark used as of December 27, 2001 up to January 6, 2002, shows a relief dating from the twelfth century, most probably made in Cologne.

The "Christkindl" booklet
A booklet on "Christkindl" post office will be published for the first time. It contains very interesting material on the post office itself, on traditions, also Christmas songs, and so forth. The booklet will be available beginning December 2001 in all Austrian post offices, and will be sold for ATS 129.00 (EUR 9.37).

"Christkindl" on Internet
To visit "Christkindl" post office in the internet just write:
"Christikindl" homepage is to be considered to be an online shop listing Österreichische Post AG's special Christmas offers.

"Christkindl" post office sends greetings to children all over the world
Many children write every year to "Christikindl" post office asking for their Christmas presents, and even get an answer. Each an every letter is answered, a small gift being enclosed.

"Christkindl" post office opening hours

November 30, 2001    10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dezember 1st, to 23, 2001    9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dezember 24, 2001    9 a.m. to 12 noon
December 25, to December 30, 2001    9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
31. December 2001    9 a.m. to 12 noon
January 1st, to January 5, 2002    9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
January 6, 2002    9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

History of a success
"Christkindl" post office

As there is a locality in Austria named "Christkindl" (infant Jesus), and as, according to tradition "Christikind" brings Christmas gifts to children, Austrian post decided in 1950 to have a special post office opened during Christmas time, meant to postmark all items routed via this post office with a very nice Christmas postmark.
At this time some 42 000 items were already treated by "Christkindl" post office, although its activity was then limited to domestic mail.

This unexpected success led Austrian post to institutionalise this Christmas post office. The very small office in the vicarage soon proved to be undersized, so the post office had to be transferred to inn near the church, appropriate decoration transforming it into a very festive place.

In its second working year special post office "Christkindl" treated international items also, and this type of Christmas greetings rapidly became an international postal "speciality".

The Austrian Christmas post office is known and appreciated all over the world
As of 1951, a special routing sticker "ÜBER CHRISTKINDL" (via "Christkindl") is available in all Austrian post offices. The "CHRISTKINDL" label is of turquoise colour, all typographical signs being held in gold.

Number of items sent via "Christkindl" near Steyr regularly increased, so all in all some 72 millions were postmarked in fifty years by this "heavenly post office".

The special postmark always shows a Christmas motive, each year a new one, but very early population - and especially philatelists - asked for a special Christmas stamp to be issued by Austrian post. A stamp of the standard series "Austrian monuments" showing "Christkindl" church was finally issued in 1958, first day of validity being the day the "Christkindl" post office opened. The first special Christmas postage stamp was then issued five years later, and since 1967 the new Christmas stamp issued each and any year becomes valid on the day "Christkindl" post office opens.

Volumes treated regularly increasing
Philatelists all over the world are keenly collecting the Christmas stamp issued by Austrian post, the first day postmark, and, of course, the latest special postmark.
Special post office's work increases year after year. In 1955 already half a million items were treated, ten years later more than a million, in the 1970/71 season 1.5 million, and later on more than two millions, half of it international mail.

Notes concerning "Christkindl" post office

 Christkindl post office accepts all types of registered and non registered items in the domestic as well as in the international service, and also for courtesy postmarking.
For preferential treatment of international items kindly use the "PRIORITY" label available in all Austrian post offices.

Christmas greetings sent via "Christkindl"
Possibility is offered, as always, to have season greetings forwarded via "Christkindl" post office, even in case one cannot visit this office. Domestic senders may place their franked Christmas items in a duly franked cover addressed to "Postamt 4411 Christkindl". Items are then date-stamped with the special postmark, and forwarded by this post office. In domestic service each an every non registered item may also be sent via "Christkindl" by simply using the "Christkindl" label. The label "ÜBER CHRISTKINDL" is available as of November 9, 2001, in all Austrian post offices. Do not forget to stick this label on the address side of envelope in order to ensure recognition by automatic sorting machines, but do not stick it in the coding zone (i.e. in the space up to 15 mm from the lower edge of item), neither below the address.
Items with such a routing label may be posted at the counter.

"Christkindl" International
Foreign senders having Austrian postage stamps at hand may send their Christmas greetings or valid postage stamps in a franked envelope to post office A-4411 Christkindl which will then postmark and forward items, and/or just postmark postage stamps and send them back.
Foreign senders not having Austrian postage stamps at hand may place their non franked items accompanied by international reply coupons or an international cheque made out for the required value into a collective envelope addressed to "Christkindl" post office.
All items enclosed in such a collective envelope will then be franked and postmarked accordingly by "Christkindl" post office.

First day postmark
"Christkindl" post office will apply the first day postmark to all items received up to the opening day (also first day of validity of the Christmas stamp), but also to all items posted on the first day of validity of Christmas postage stamp the latest. This also applies to items with a routing label posted in any Austrian post office up to the first day of validity of the Christmas postage stamp.

For further information contact

Österreichische Post AG
Kommunikation Oberösterreich
Mr. Emil Burka
Phone: +43-(0)732 7721-5040
Fax: +43-(0) 732-5049