We all know Christmas is a time for joy, celebration and good will to all. But it can also be a difficult time of year for street paper vendors.
Around the world, they can be seen standing out on the streets for hours on end as they sell their magazines to throngs of Christmas shoppers.
Yet by being part of the street paper family, they are working towards enjoying a better Christmas, and future, as they transition out of homelessness and/or unemployment.
At this time of year, street papers around the world pull out all the stops to help vendors increase their sales, and truly enjoy their job and the festive season.
Christmas all wrapped up
In America and Canada, a number of street papers have come up with an inspired way to help vendors increase their Christmas sales – by creating bespoke wrapping paper.
— Curbside Chronicle (@CurbsideOKC) November 28, 2015
In Oklahoma City,The Curbside Chronicle partnered with ten local artists to design funky wrapping papers to be sold by vendors in packs of five. They are also available online at wrapuphomelessness.com and from participating retailers. All proceeds go to The Curbside Chronicle to support its mission to “#WrapUpHomelessness in OKC”. Real Change vendors in Seattle are also selling wrapping paper at $5 for three large designed by one of the street paper’s volunteers.
Megaphone, sold by vendors in Vancouver, has also once again included free wrapping paper designed by vendors in its November and December editions. Its ‘Wrap Up Hope’ campaign encourages readers to give gifts with meaning this holiday season.
Nashville, Tennessee paper, The Contributor, is also giving away four sheets of gorgeous vendor-designed gift wrap with every paper to encourage more sales.
One Step Away in Philadelphia followed suit, including vendor Kevin Brown’s locally-themed gift wrap.
‘Tis the season for a special edition
As well as funky festive gift wrap, another common Christmas project for street papers is to produce a special edition for vendors to sell at a higher price alongside their regular street paper. In Trondheim, Norway, the editorial team at Sorgenfri has been hard at work compiling a 150-page “Julebok” filled with long-form journalism on a variety of topics and black and white portraits and descriptions of vendors. Vendors sell the Julebok (modeled by Steinar Schei above) for 200NOK (€20/£15/$22) from November – January. Vendors in Salzburg, Austria, were the stars of So viele Wege [So Many Paths], a special edition Christmas book produced by Apropos which tells the life stories of 32 street paper sellers. The Bishop of Salzburg recently had a go at selling the book. Find out more here.
Looking forward to 2016 with themed calendars
Every year, Danish street paper Hus Forbi produces a popular calendar featuring homeless people, including Hus Forbi vendors. Vendors buy the calendar for 20DKK and sell it for 50DKK. The 2016 calendar is based on the theme of friendships. As well as providing vendors with an extra income, the Hus Forbi calendar has also brought them to together with their estranged family – such as the heart-warming story about vendor Jørgen and his daughter. Read it here.
Presents for vendors, and their customers
Big Issue North encouraged people in Manchester to donate shoe boxes filled with Christmas treats for their vendors. It also teamed up with a Yorkshire-based artist Una Comics to allow vendors to give their customers personalised cards with their Christmas editions.
The Curbside Chronicle teamed up with Signupgenuis.com to create virtual Christmas present lists from its vendors which members of the public can donate to.StreetWise in Chicago have transformed its conference room into a gift shop for vendors. Vendors can take items previously donated to the paper as gifts for friends and customers, or themselves.
Virtual vendor advent calendars
What’s Christmas without an advent calendar? Every day this month, The Big Issue UK shares a heart-warming story about one of its vendors from the past year.
To hear from street paper vendors around the world, check INSP’s very own International Vendor Advent Calendar – the first of its kind and a cracking read too.