Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The season to be jolly


The advents are coming.

I’m assuming you’ll want me to expand upon my earlier statement, so: “Bah!”; and a further “humbug” for good measure.

I don’t actually hate the advents. But I am wary of them.

It was 2014 when I first tackled the advents. Thanks to Di Coke’s tips, I was - for a newbie - relatively coordinated and pretty efficient, and as a result, I comped HARD.

‘Hard’ is of course relative: I comped much harder than I’d ever done before - not as hard as some folks, certainly - but well beyond my natural appetite.

I was putting so much effort into chasing that winning buzz that if I wasn’t comping, I was itching to get back to it, to tick off the ever-growing list of draws closing that day. Those comps were on my mind A LOT. And when the season came to an end, I was bereft. It was Christmas Day, and instead getting stuck into the festive cheer, I sat there all fidgetty, thinking, ‘Damn! What do I do now?!’ That hole lasted well into January, accompanied by the longest period of low mood that I’d ever experienced.

There were, of course, other factors contributing to my mood (not least the sleep deprivation associated with having small children!), but anyone who has seen gambling addiction first-hand will recognise that these are the signs of compulsive behaviour.

Now, let’s not over-egg the pudding. Comping is hardly a vice, and it’s undoubtedly more benign than gambling. All the same, it still feels great to win, and it’s understandable that people enjoy winning as often as possible.

The important thing, however, is to be aware of when this changes from a hobby to an obsession. So, if you find yourself starting to neglect your chores (or even your family) in order to squeeze in a few more entries, please take a break. To borrow the words from the Gamble Aware campaign – when the fun stops, stop.

I like to liken the advents to a bottomless pitcher of eggnog: novel in moderation but impossible to finish - and by God will you suffer if you try!

Hoe Hoe Hoe (Christmas Dad Joke #17)

So, let’s keep things merry this Christmas - here are my recommendations for keeping the fun flowing:
  • Don’t enter everything! Focus on the prizes you really want.
  • Set time limits not entry targets.
  • Take regular breaks – look after your eyes as well as your mental health!
  • Download a red-screen app such as f.lux or Twilight to protect your eyes from screen glare once the sun goes down (and help you sleep after a hard night of comping!) 
  • Socialise – chat with fellow compers on Facebook (or whatever other forum you prefer).
  • Be creative – break up the form filling with more challenging comps.
Now go out there, do your prep (see appendix!), and enjoy yourself!

How do you comp through December? Do you enjoy the advents? What are your tips for staying sane in this hectic period?

I mentioned Di Coke’s tips - they’re available here
I also recommend Grant Robson’s post on surviving the advents

If you know of any other posts on the subject, please post a link in the comments!


  1. Great advice there 😊 i often stop comping for those very reasons. Sleep deprivation is one atm. But when you start to get down because your not winning its time to mix things up. Its great to read it from someone elses perspective. Ellie xx

  2. P.s. great porn mustache there 😂

    1. Ha! It was a leftover from Movember - I was aiming for the Second World War RAF pilot look, but things didn't work out!