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Something different for Christmas.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

The U-S has been issuing Christmas stamps for almost 50 years. At first it was just one stamp; then, religious and secular designs, which the Postal Service calls Traditional and Contemporary. The secular designs are things like toys, trees, Santa and ornaments.

The religious designs are almost always taken from a painting of the Madonna and Child that hangs in a U-S art museum -- works by Renaissance painters, generally.

Not next year. The design is original art, and titled Holy Family. It shows the silhouette of a man leading a donkey, on which are a mother and child, against a brilliant orange sky with a bright star in the sky.

The art is by Nancy Stahl, who has designed contemporary Christmas stamps, as well as a series of animal designs.

Nearly everyone who's seen it thinks it's stunning.

The Postal Service, as is its custom these days, rolled out the design on social media first -- Twitter, Facebook, i-Pad app and then a website before making the official announcement.

That, too, is different.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting, visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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