Santa Comes from Åland!

This year's Christmas stamp is something out of the ordinary. The Post presents the real Santa Claus - created by an Ålander!

Haddon Sundblom was born in 1899 in Michigan and grew up in Chicago. His father Karl Wilhelm emigrated to the USA in 1882 from Föglö in Åland. Haddon's mother Karin came from Sweden. Haddon first planned to follow in his father's footsteps within the building trade but soon decided to pursue art. In the 1920's, he started an advertising agency in Chicago and was in great demand for various commercial assignments.

In 1931, Haddon was asked to design an unbeatable Christmas commercial for Coca-Cola. He chose to change the so far rather uninteresting, greyish looking Santa, creating a merry and cheerful man with red cheeks and a large white beard. In doing so, he not only created a lasting symbol associated with a particular trade mark but also changed the general perception of Santa Claus. Every Christmas, Haddon created a new version of Santa Claus. He drew his last Santa Claus for Coca-Cola in 1966, but the Coca-Cola Santa tradition lives on. The illustrations are still used every year in Coca-Cola commercials.

This year's Åland Christmas stamp shows a Haddon Sundblom Santa, mind you, without a Coca-Cola bottle. The denomination Julpost 07 implies that the stamp may be used for sending Christmas greetings to Åland, Finland and Sweden for €0.50 during a limited period from November to December.
 Coca-Cola Sancta Claus Date of issue 9 October 2007
Artist Haddon Sundblom
Design Cecilia Mattsson
Edition 450 000
Denomination Julpost 07
Value €0.50
Price FDC €1.00
Size of stamp 26 x 36 mm
Size of sheet 2 x 20 stamps
Perforation 14 per 2 cm
Paper 102 g/m²
Printing method 4-colour offset
Printing house Österreichische Staatsdruckerei

For more information, please contact Katja Rikberg, Åland Post Stamps.