This year has flown by. It’s a cliché for sure but that’s because it’s true. Now, it’s that time of year. If you’re really organised then you’ve maybe already put some presents (or competition prizes) away already for Christmas.

Maybe you’re one of those odd-balls who buys their presents for this year in last year’s New Year sales. That’s not right. That’s beyond organised. That’s obsessive.

With the Christmas season (nowadays that seems to be October to December 31st) upon us, compers have to be prepared for the biggest challenge of the year – THE ADVENTS.

For those of you who have experienced THE ADVENTS before, be careful about reading the next paragraph. I warn you that it will contain graphic descriptions of comping in December. It may trigger flashbacks, cold sweats or PTSD.

Imagine that every company, blog and website in existence decided to run competitions all at once. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, websites, rafflecopter, gleam, telegram, morse code – every communication method imaginable. Now, recoil in horror as you realise that each of these are running a different competition EVERY DAY. You have to revisit hundreds of pages every 24 hours to re-enter, check instant wins, comply with creative requests while keeping track of entries (if that’s what you do) , clicking, re-entering your details, doing those awful ‘Are you human’ checks for what seems like FOREVER.

The first time I did it, it was all too much. I found it overwhelming and ended up backing away from competitions for the month. The following year, I was far more organised and it paid off.

Keep an eye out on Facebook (Lucky Learners group is full of great advice) for advice. From me, however, here are my pointers on how to manage your Advent comping and retain your sanity.

FIND THE COMPS

Obviously you need to find the comps. You won’t have to look far – they will cross your path with very little effort. ThePrizeFinder.com lists advent comps separately. Check your emails and bookmark them all. Facebook too will be a goldmine of advent comps.

BOOKMARKS ARE YOUR FRIENDS!

The key to managing the horror of Advent comps is to be organised. Every browser allows you to bookmark posts and keep them organised in folders. Take advantage of this and you’ll find yourself navigating comps much more effectively.

I sort my competitions into blogs, Facebook, Twitter and effort folders. Some of the daily advents are instant wins. I keep them in a separate folder. Some competitions only open at a certain time. Because I sometimes enter comps very early in the morning, I keep the later ones in a different folder.

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about how to organise them. Do whatever suits you, but do it. It is far less intimidating to have an organised group of bookmarks than a mass of pages in one disorganised folder.

INSTANT WINS MAY KEEP ANTI-SOCIAL HOURS

Some instant win comps are open 24 hours. It is therefore rational to assume that the win, if it is based upon a random time, could happen at any point during that 24 hours. If, therefore, you are awake during the night, enter the competitions!

Last December, I won a Birds Eye Foodie Break weekend worth £1,500 in an instant win competition on Facebook. I won it at 6.31am. Just this morning I won a Hunger Games Krave prize at 6.01am.

It makes sense that there will be less people entering the comps at that time. You’ve got more scope to win if you’re the first person to enter after the winning time arrives if there are less people entering. Does that make sense? It made sense when I thought it.

BE BRUTAL

Just because you start with a massive amount of competitions doesn’t mean that you have to maintain that level of madness throughout. Be fussy. If one particular competition isn’t floating your boat, ditch it. There’s no time to spare during this insanity. Be brutal and stick with the competitions that your gut is telling you are worthy.

THINK SMALL

Every comper will be overwhelmed during the Advents, not just you. With that in mind, you may find that people overlook the smaller comps. They might be spending their time going for the big prizes and overlooking blogs or smaller websites. Take advantage of that. Keep loyalty to the smaller comps and you may find that it pays off!

BE A CREATIVE OPPORTUNIST

There are lots of photo comps during the advents. They broadly fall into three different types. Take a photo of: a) you in a Christmas Jumper; b) your decorated Christmas tree; c) your wrapped presents.

Take photos of everyone in Christmas jumpers. Do it NOW! While it’s mild, get some taken outside. Stand in the sea wearing a Christmas jumper and GET A PHOTO! Your picture will stand out from the crowd and that’s the key to winning (unless it’s a random draw comp).

Be creative with the Christmas tree comps. If the comp is run by a brand then make a decoration out of something made by that company, or with their logo on it. Be original, take well shot photos. Turn off the room light, out the Christmas tree lights on and leave a long exposure. You’ll get some lovely effects.

As for wrapping hints – I’m a bloke. Can’t help you there.

DON’T STRESS

It’s Christmas. These are only competitions. For those who haven’t been involved it may sound ridiculous to say that Advent comps can be intimidating but they really can. Hopefully some of the steps above will help you tackle them with some degree of confidence.

Good luck!