Christmas on the front page

By Brad Needham

Newspapers often go all out on Christmas Eve, often with stunning illustrations or photos on their front pages. This year is no different, except that it’s very different. With Omicron raging, lockdowns, limits on gatherings. It’s been a hard year or two for most, regardless of the season. No commentary on religion here. Just design and the feeling of hopefulness the season often brings. And the incredible front pages don’t hurt! After about two years with COVID-19, it’s nice to have hope so I appreciate these covers even more this year.

For whatever reason, Canadian newspapers seem to blow out their covers disproportionately compared to other places in the world. I looked through about 20 Canadian covers and at least half had very Christmas-y covers. The proportion of America papers was much, much lower, which was surprising. Many didn’t publish today.

Canadian Christmas Eve

Alas, the covers. First I will start with Christmas Eve in Canada. Each of Canada‘s big three has a very different feel, in line with its target audience. First up, the National Post. The stained glass look and the black really pop. It’s such a striking visual. The National Post has been doing this since its first year, 1998, and every year I love it. It’s become a Christmas tradition. It definitely has a stronger religious feel than many others, but that is by design. Of course their vertical flag, as it often does, helps creating a more powerful visual.

Next up, the Toronto Star. The Star has recently hired a handful of staff to focus on print visuals, including an art director, formerly from the National Post. It shows. This illustration is lovey. Happy-making.

Then the Globe and Mail. Like the National Post, the Globe has been doing a similar cover for years. A beautiful oil painting, from the Art Gallery of Ontario, with a little text. In fact I have learned they have been doing it since before 1998 at least, featuring art from its parent company’s art collection. Most years it’s more of a winter theme rather than Christmas.

Then there is the Guardian from Charlottetown, P.E.I. Just a pretty, hopeful and happy painting, submitted by the very non-winter-named Summer Kelly, 11. Amazing work from a young artist.

Around the world

And now for covers from around the world! This Het Parool cover is one of my faves. I just find the illustration to be so magical and eye-catching/pleasing.

Reporte Indigo is known for their illustrations. And they don’t disappoint here. So classy. Stunning.

Kleine Zeitung has a beautiful illustration but they don’t gloss over COVID. It’s part of our lives.

This cover from de Volkstrant is just simple and elegant. Really pretty art.

Anyone who follows this blog or my Instagram will know I love The Villages Daily Sun. This page just fits their style so well.

See: When a newspaper starts to look like its community

And this McDowell News front page. It’s different! Christmas stats. Very American. Nice contrast. It’s fun and informative.

There were more, but these were the tops that I saw. Thanks to all the newspaper designers out there, still doing their thing. I appreciate how much effort still goes into these pages. Happy holidays, everyone.

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