In the words of Slade ‘It’s Christmaaaaaas’, or rather it almost is. Christmas lights have been switched on around the country and you may have noticed you’re buying your weekly shop whilst listening Cliff Richard telling you to rejoice in the good that you see.
The Advents are coming
This culmination of festivities to a comper can only mean one thing – the advents are coming! If you’re fairly new to the world of comping then you might not have heard of advents before. Advents are usually daily competitions that companies run over the Christmas period. Some companies will offer a competition a day much like a traditional advent calendar or others will run 12 days of Christmas competitions.
There can be so many competitions it can be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume to enter. I’ve rounded up the best advice from other comping bloggers across the web as well as offering you some advice of my own
Should I bother entering advent competitions?
Lets get started with some statistics. There’s nothing more I love than some stats. For the previous 2 years I kept a meticulous record of how many competitions I entered as well as how many prizes I won and their value. Decembers figures offer an interesting insight into comping at Christmas.
- Competitions entered 5571 (yes seriously – this isn’t a typo)
- Competitions won 23
- Prize Value £569.50
- Average Prize Value £24.76
- Prize Value per entry £0.10
- Competitions entered 598
- Competitions won 11
- Prize Value £584
- Avergae Prize Value £53.09
- Prize Value per entry £0.98
As you can see from the figures above there is a very large difference between numbers of competitions entered. In 2015 I entered every single competition I could. It was my first year entering the advents (I’d been a comper previously but not a very good one and didn’t even know what advents were). So i went nuts and entered every single competition I laid eyes on apart from a few I wasn’t interested in winning. This was incredibly time intensive and took up all of my (very little) free time.
2016 was a very different picture. I did 2 days of full on advent competitions and then gave up. My heart just wasn’t in it and I didn’t have the motivation. I now had 3 children to look after during the day and on top of this we took a 2 week holiday away to somewhere that had almost zero internet. This meant I greatly reduced the number of competitions I entered. I still entered some advent competitions but I was a lot more selective about which I entered.
The point I’m trying to make here is that Advents are a great opportunity to win lots of great prizes. But as you can see from my stats that entering more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win a higher volume of more expensive prizes. My December 2016 comping I found a lot more low entry advent competitions (yes there is such a thing) and was way more selective about which competitions I did enter.
My top tips for advent and Christmas comping
To Bookmark or not
Lot’s of people like to use bookmarks for advent comping. I’m not one of those people! I do however use bookmarks to have quick access to places that list the advent competitions such as competition database and the Compers News Chatterbox forum. Last year competition database had a great tool where you could permanently ignore a promoters advent competitions. This meant that you could greatly reduce the number of competitions you had to click/scroll through to get to the ones you wanted to enter.
Get photo organised
Before the 1st of December make sure you have easy quick access to a bunch of Christmas themed photos on all of your devices you like to comp from. I’ve ensured I have a folder of Christmas photos on both my desktop and iPhone so I can easily enter at home or on the go. I’ve also started planning a Christmas photo shoot to grab a new set of photos for this years. Common themes of pictures to be prepared for are
- Christmas jumper selfie
- Christmas jumper family photo (check out my fave geeky Christmas jumpers here)
- Christmas Tree Decorations
- General Christmas Decorations (living room etc)
- Christmas crafts and pictures
- Christmas food you have made yourself
- Christmas dinner photos of the everyone at the table
Although not many advents competitions ask for these I like to include them every now and then. There will also be a lot of non advent but still Christmas themed competitons about that these will be very useful for.
Find your own
Finding competitions that are not listed on the common competition website listing sites mean there will be less entries so more chance of winning. I’ve written a set of tutorials on how best to do this. Tweetdeck is in my opinion the best way to find low entry competitions across the web. When searching make sure you using Christmas themed words to help narrow down your searches. Searches could include
Show us Christmas win
Tweet us Christmas win
The last two in that list are great ways of finding Christmas creative effort competitions. There’s no right or wrongs for Christmas comp searching (well unless you get zero results then you’re possiblydoing something wrong) but experiment and see what results you get using different key words.
My last tip is don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Yes there are some people who have the free time and motivation to enter every single competition. Don’t feel that you have to. The thing I struggle with the most at Christmas is the pressure I feel to enter as many as possible or feeling like I might miss out. It’s a common theme in my inner monologue that I’m constantly telling myself that I’m not doing enough. This type of thinking can be quite bad for self-confidence and this type of behaviour is something I’m going to be addressing when I set my goals for 2018.
I’ve rounded up the best tips from different compers and blogging compers. Everyone has a different way of approaching advent competitions so I highly recommend reading through all of these.
Di Coke at Super Lucky
Seasoned comper Di has argubaly the best put together and most comprehensive UK comping blog on the web. Her updated advent blog post has a plethora of great tips as well as details of all the sites that list the advent competitions.
Amanda at Amanda Golston – Mountain Walking Girl
Amanda has some excellent blog posts about her prizes she has won over the years. I know Amanda has yet to take her best advent prize win yet so no blog post to read for her amazing win yet but she offers this brilliant advice
Last Christmas I won a 7 night trip to Zermatt from the Swiss Tourism Advent Calendar comp. I won this on Christmas Day, so my best tip would be to enter comps when it is likely to be the quietest. It seems that fewer people enter the advent comps as it gets closer to Christmas. Pick out the prizes that you really want to win and focus on quality rather than quantity.
Cara at Jammy Jigsaw
Cara has a great blog post all about how she prepares for the advent competitions and also the prizes that are at the top of her wish list this year. She’s also shared a screenshot of her bookmarks to show you how she sets out her bookmarks for advent comping
this is my bookmarks if that any use to anyone so I can prioritize which ones to enter – some days I only do the locals and essentials if I’m short on time.
Laura at Autmun’s Mummy
Laura is a lovely parent blogger I knew in a real life quite a long time before we both launched our blogs. We used to work with each other and unbeknown to us we both had a shared hobby – comping! Laura has a different method of tracking her advent competitions
I make a mini database with links to advent competitions and categorise them in order of importance to me. Therefore, if I don’t have time to do them all, at least I’ve done the ones I care about the most. I also note which ones end before 5pm as if I’m at work I’ll be likely to miss them and I don’t want to waste time clicking through the link.
Neill at Gary Wasabi’s Golden Luck Muscle
Are your social media feeds filled with companies you’ve barely heard of? Now might be a great time to clear out the deadwood. Neill has a fab blog post about how to have a comping clear out before the advents get started
So there you have it! I’d love to know what your plan of action is for Christmas comping or your top tips in the comments below. Don’t forget to enter the regular competitions too. Speaking of regular competitions there will be a new competition launching on my blog soon, make sure you keep up to date by subscribing or following me on Facebook here.
I’m going to leave you with one last tip, some very wise words about the advent competitions from my comping friend Naina…
Don’t stress. It should be fun, not a chore. If you can’t do them all, it really doesn’t matter.