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Christmas cards from Bethlehem, Conn.

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BETHLEHEM, Conn. — Christmas transforms this little town from a sleepy rural outpost to holiday card central, thanks to a 75-year-old tradition started by an enterprising postmaster. In 1938 Earl S. Johnson designed the first “Christmas cachet” and began the tradition of applying decorative rubber stamps to Christmas cards and letters sent from the Bethlehem Post Office. Postmaster Donna Farrell estimates that this month 150,000 greeting cards will travel across the country and the world bearing one of the 77 seasonal designs and the Bethlehem postmark.

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