StampNews.com hurries to inform our readers that Norway Post has released two special stamps that welcome Christmas. This year’s Santa has been drawn by Fredrik Skavlan. He is well-known as a talk show host on TV, but few people know that he is both a cartoonist and book illustrator. And now he is also taking on the mantle of stamp artist.
Skavlan has found room for both package delivery and Santa’s sleigh heading home for Christmas on these tiny philatelic items.
The depiction of Santa Claus on this year’s Christmas stamps continues a tradition that stretches back to 1992 when the Barn Elf first appeared on Christmas stamps. That time, the motifs were taken from two Christmas cards. The tradition of Christmas cards has kept the motif alive, and even if the large, modern Coca Cola Santa with his bushy white beard has been the front figure for Christmas shopping, it is the short Barn Elf who has the deepest roots in Norwegian tradition.
The first meal on Christmas Eve was porridge, and on the farms in eastern Norway an extra portion was always carried up and placed on the floor of the barn. Not sharing porridge with the Barn Elf could result in tragic consequences.
“Do you believe in Santa?” we ask children today. Only the youngest ones answer “Yes”. As a rule, it is an adult in the household who arrives at the door in a Santa costume, and the children know it. The same question, if asked more than 100 years ago in rural areas of Norway, would have been answered “Yes” by many adults, as well. They would not risk ignoring the existence of the Barn Elf.
Skavlan is perhaps best known as a television programme host, but he is also a recognized drawer. His Illustrations have been published in several national media since he as a young boy delivered comics to Dagbladet, Aftenposten and Det Nye. In addition to drawing for newspapers and magazines, he has illustrated a number of popular children’s books.