American Lung Association Commemorates Century-Old Christmas Seals Tradition

(December 8, 2009)

Bissell ReenactmentOn Dec. 7, 1907, Emily Bissell sold the first Christmas Seals at a post office in Wilmington, Del., to raise funds to fight tuberculosis.  Today, the Christmas Seals campaign by the American Lung Association helps fight lung disease and advocates for clean air.  To commemorate the occasion, an actress (Mary Duffy) portraying Emily Bissell distributes Christmas Seals outside a New York City post office. 

The Christmas Seals Campaign is the nation's oldest direct-mail fundraising campaign.  This year, the Lung Association sent Christmas Seals – decorative stamps used to decorate holiday cards and packages – to over 11 million households from October to December. In return, people send in contributions, which last year, accounted for 35 percent of the charity's total direct mail revenue. 

Since more and more people are choosing to send holiday greetings online, people can visit to view over one hundred years of Christmas Seals they can send in an e-card to friends or loved ones.  Additionally, a Facebook application was developed so people can collect and share Christmas Seals with their social network. 

In addition to the historical and current Christmas Seals, related merchandise is also available online at   Vintage products include wrapping paper, adhesive gift tags, lapel pins and holiday ornaments. The items are sold individually and cost between $5 and $12.95. The Lung Association is featuring a unique gift, "Christmas in a Box," which retails for $75 and features a collection of Christmas Seals merchandise at a 20 percent discount. Proceeds from the sale of all these items will help support the mission of the Lung Association.

Please consider giving to the American Lung Association by making a donation through the mail, online or by purchasing your gift supplies at