Street papers have Christmas wrapped up with festive projects

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.

We’ll be at the Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown all weekend long! Stop by today until 9PM to meet Robert and help us…

Posted by The Curbside Chronicle on Thursday, December 3, 2015

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.

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 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.   

Check out this month’s issue for complimentary holiday wrapping paper designed by One Step Away vendors! Here is vendor…

Posted by One Step Away on Wednesday, 9 December 2015


‘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. Sorgenfri vendor Steinar. Credit: Erlend D Paxal 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. Hus Forbi 2016 calendar cover. Photo by Mette Kramer Kristensen. 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 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. Street Wise vendor shop.

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.