Alexandria’s Laura Dowling Puts Her Stamp on Nation’s Holiday Postage

Doors in Old Town and River Farm Inspire Two of the 2019 Wreath Stamps

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan (left) and Laura Dowling at the stamp dedication event at L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine. (Photo: Courtesy)

By Elizabeth Moscoco

Alexandria, VA –When the United States Postal Service (USPS) first came knocking for Alexandria resident Laura Dowling to design some wreath stamps for them, she couldn’t say yes because of her job.

“I put a wreath on my door [in Old Town Alexandria] and the art director of Postal Services walked by and contacted me at the White House. I had to decline at the time due to my work at the White House,” Dowling told The Zebra.

At the time, Dowling was serving as the White House chief floral designer, where she managed the  flowers and decor for thousands of official and private events, including state dinners, parties, receptions and large-scale installations, such as the Fourth of July, Halloween and the iconic White House Christmas.

But finally, Dowling can add stamp designer to her impressive resume! Ever persistent, she was approached again by USPS with the project to design four stamps. Dowling started sketching, inspired by the wreaths of colonial Williamsburg and a focus on natural elements, such as fruits. Throughout the top-secret project, Dowling even had feedback from her own postal carrier.

“She would have an opinion on the wreaths I would put on my door,” recalled Dowling. “Like if the wreath was too big and got in the way of her delivering mail. The final wreaths were postal carrier friendly,” Dowling happily shared.

The four wreath stamps for 2019 are separately inspired. The ribbon leaf wreath is inspired by French floral art. Aspidistra leaves, folded and manipulated to resemble ribbons; Gilded pinecones and magnolia pods grace the wreath trimmed with cranberry red ribbon; Red and gold ribbon adorns the wreath made from gilded dried hydrangea, eucalyptus and nandina foliage, red berries, and small ornaments; and the woodland bush ivy and red winterberry wreath presents a classic red and green palette.
(Photo: Courtesy)

If you haven’t seen the beautiful 2019 Holiday Wreath Forever Stamps yet, you’ll find that they convey the warm, inviting spirit of the season. The stamps depict iconic images of holiday wreaths, which adorn the doors and mantels of homes in every community. In fact, the red door depicted in one of the stamps is from a home in Old Town and the white door is from nearby River Farm where the wreaths were hung and photographed. The Postal Service has issued nine different holiday wreath stamps in the past 57 years.

“When you hang a wreath on your door, you send a message of holiday cheer. They have a circular shape, with no beginning and no end, so it’s very inspirational and welcoming,” Dowling offered.

“The wreath on the door may express the shared spirit of the holidays…of family…and good will to others,” said Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer as she unveiled the stamps during a ceremony held in Freeport, ME. “The wreath has played an enduring role in our holiday traditions — and with the Postal Service. The very first holiday postage stamp featured a wreath.”

To purchase the 2019 holiday wreath stamps, visit your local USPS or click here.

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