The 1991 29-cent Traditional and Contemporary Christmas stamps were issued on October 17. The Traditional stamp was issued in Houston, Texas, and the Contemporary one in Santa, Idaho.
Since the postal rate case submitted to the independent Postal Rate Commission in March 1990 still was unresolved when it was time to begin printing holiday stamps, the Postal Service began producing the stamps in a nondenominated format.
The Traditional Christmas stamp features the "Madonna and Child with Donor" (c. 1480). The original painting, by Italian Renaissance artist Antoniazzo Romano, is displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The Contemporary Christmas stamp depicts five scenes reminiscent of Santa's visit on Christmas Eve. The Contemporary stamp, featuring Santa descending a chimney, was available in panes of fifty stamps. All five contemporary designs are included in an innovative five-pane booklet, with one design per pane of four stamps.
The Traditional Christmas stamps, designed by Bradbury Thompson, were printed on the offset/intaglio press by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in panes of fifty and booklets of twenty stamps.
Designed by John Berkey, the Contemporary Christmas stamps were printed in the photogravure process by the American Bank Note Company.
Postal Bulletin (October 31, 1991)