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History of the Christmas Seals

History of Christmas Seals in Manitoba

The Manitoba Lung Association has a long and rich history in our province. It was established in 1904 under the "Sanatorium Board of Manitoba Act” to manage tuberculosis outbreaks. Over 100 years later, it is now a registered non-profit charity that provides resources and education about lung health and supports people in the community who are focused on healthy breathing for healthy living.  

Since 1927, Manitobans have contributed to making a difference in people's lives with lung disease by supporting the Christmas Seals™ campaign. Starting with a single four-sticker set, it has become a tradition for families, friends, and collectors. The funds initially raised money to build tuberculosis hospitals and fund tuberculosis prevention, detection, and treatment work. Now, donations during the holiday season fund various healthy breathing programs and health services for Manitobans across our province.   

Today, Christmas Seals™ reaches over 11,000 households. They have raised millions of dollars that stay in Manitoba to help people on their lung health journey. The annual campaign has been essential in funding current and new programs, such as support groups, online resources, a lung health helpline, a research program, and the Lungs Matter radon mitigation grant program. 

History of Christmas Seals in Canada

Since 1908, Canadians have made a difference in the lives of people with lung disease by supporting the Christmas Seals program.

The first Christmas Seals originated in 1903 when a benevolent postmaster named Einar Holboell in Copenhagen, Denmark was inspired to create the stamps to help children with tuberculosis (TB). The campaign was even more successful than the postmen had hoped. The Danes bought four million of the stickers. With funds from the first two Christmas Seal campaigns, they built two hospitals for the treatment of children. This was a turning point in the world history of public health. It was the beginning of the movement to get ordinary citizens to take part in fighting an infectious disease, one which at that time was the leading cause of death, outstripping even wars and famines.

In 1907 the idea crossed the Atlantic to the United States. By 1908, the campaign had reached Canada. Interested people in Toronto and Hamilton began Christmas Seal campaigns to build and support sanatoria, as TB hospitals were called back then. The old Toronto Globe came promptly to their aid. Early in December, the Globe began running a daily story on the front page giving news of the campaign. The column was bordered by holly so that readers could easily spot it.

One story told how the children of 58 Toronto schools had sold 10,000 Christmas Seals. Another issue announced that out on the Prairies a new paper called the Regina Leader had written to say its staff would sell the seals and send the money back for the sanatorium being built at Muskoka. From Saint John, N.B. the Rev. G. A. Moore wrote to say that he and other volunteers would sell 8,500 and send the money to Toronto for the sanatorium.

That first year, the Toronto campaign brought in $6,114.25 and Hamilton citizens gave $1,244.40. Year by year, other cities across Canada tried the Christmas Seal campaign as a means not only of raising money but of creating the awareness that tuberculosis could be controlled.

Finally, in 1927, it was agreed that the Christmas Seal campaign was to be the official method for tuberculosis associations to appeal to the public for funds. A national seal was established. Christmas Seal campaigns have played an important role in public health. Christmas Seals symbolize the grassroots support of Canadians that helped win the fight against TB.

People from around the world to this day still collect Christmas Seals. Visit to view the worldwide collectibles! 

Order Your 2023 Christmas Seals Today!

By Phone -  Please call Kirsten at 431-222-3026

Online - Click to register



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