Every year around this time, I start increasing the number of giveaways I enter in a bid to win holiday gifts. And it works: Many of the Christmas presents I give each year are items that I have won in sweepstakes. In fact, I tuck prizes into my “Gift box” year-round! Being able to win some of my holiday and birthday presents not only saves me money, but often enables me to give much nicer gifts than I could afford otherwise. And that’s why my gift guide theme is “Win Gifts For The Whole Family” – because I want you to be able to do the same! I decided to write an article on this topic to give my readers an insight into how I approach giveaways during the holidays so that you can pick up tips to increase your odds of winning a neat Christmas present:
Winning Presents: It Does Happen
I wanted to give you a few real-life examples of how I’ve used giveaways to win great gifts. For example, around the beginning of last year I was looking for giveaways with prizes that could make good presents for Jai’s birthday in March. I saw that The One Fantastical was hosting a Seagate giveaway, which I knew would be absolutely perfect for my techie. He uses portable hard drives for both his job and his own personal projects, so this is something that was already on his wishlist. I had also found a giveaway for a ClickFree Transformer SE on Nerdlike.com in December 2009, which seemed like an intriguing gadget that he would have fun playing with. I entered both giveaways specifically because I wanted to win them as gifts, and I took advantage of all the extra entry options. I won the Seagate giveaway and the ClickFree as well, and they made fantastic presents!
Click on the thumbnails to see full-size photos of Jai unwrapping the birthday gifts I won for him!
And this wasn’t some lucky instance. I regularly give prizes that I’ve won as birthday and Christmas gifts; I’ve been able to give everything from an RC “Spy Car” to scarves and video games as presents. As I’ve written in previous articles, it’s not about luck – it’s about strategy and consistency. Here’s a few things I do to up my odds of winning:
1. Look for low-entry giveaways.
This is such an important topic that I devoted a whole article to it, complete with links to sites where you can find low entry giveaways – click here to read it. I routinely scroll through Tight Wad in Utah’s low-entry giveaway list and look for giveaways for items that would make good gifts.
2. Maximize your odds by utilizing extra entries.
Found a great giveaway for a book that cousin Billy would love? If they offer more than one entry method, utilize it! The more entries you have, the better your odds of winning.
3. Enter more.
I try to enter more giveaways around the holidays, specifically because I want to win gifts! I’m not saying you have to devote loads and loads of time to it – if that were the case, I wouldn’t win very often! – but remember, the more consistently you enter, the better your chances are of winning something. If it’s been a while since you’ve entered anything, start entering more regularly now to increase your chances of picking up a few prizes for gifts. Also, there tend to be a lot of interesting giveaways around this time of year thanks to Christmas promotions – I love checking out gift guides on blogs, because they’re a fun way of finding a lot of cool giveaways in one spot. That’s also why I started this gift guide of my own!
How to Find Giveaways That Would Make Good Gifts
So now you know the best ways to increase your odds of winning – but how do you find contests for things that the people on your list would actually want? You may find yourself stuck for ideas when looking through contest listings, and perhaps unsure what to search for. For me, shopping for presents and making my own gift baskets is a creative outlet, so I’m always thinking about what would make a good gift. I can look at almost any giveaway and name one person that I know who would enjoy having that item. However, most people aren’t used to the idea of “Shopping” through giveaways, so here are my top hints to help you determine your sweepstakes strategy and figure out what to enter:
1. Make a list of everyone you’ll be giving a present to this year.
This could be as simple as jotting names down on a piece of paper, or it could be as complex as keeping a spreadsheet. Whatever works the best for you! Then, when you’re not sure what to enter, you can take a quick look at your list and remember who you need to buy for. Found a cool giveaway, but not sure if it’s worth entering? Refer to your list. Ask yourself: Who on this list might enjoy this prize if I won it?
2. Not sure what to get? Make a list of your family’s interests.
If you’re not sure what to get the people on your list, this would be a really good time to start writing down their interests. Does uncle Bob love working on cars? Is your niece Sara obsessed with horses? Maybe your cousin Steve plays a lot of video games? All of these things can help you identify items they might love, and make it much easier to brainstorm gifts for them. Now that you’ve jotted these ideas down, you’re more likely to spot things that would work as gifts. When you compile your list, make sure to note hobbies, favorite TV shows and movies, favorite kind of music, and any other interests that your recipient may have. Then check out my article “How to Find Giveaways That You Actually Want to Enter” for tips on how to search for giveaways by category and find contests that appeal to specific interests.
3. Stuck for ideas? Think practical.
Maybe you’ve got someone on your list who is impossible to buy for, and you’re having a hard time coming up with a gift idea. Aiming for usable, practical items is a great way to make sure you give a gift that will be appreciated, even if the recipient is tough to buy for. For example:
- Bath products.
Everyone eats, so you know this is one gift that can always be put to use! This could be anything from a gift certificate to a restaurant to getting a cute basket and filling it with treats. Good giveaway items to look for include crackers, popcorn, pretzels, candy, cookies, tea, coffee, and so on. Just keep in mind any special dietary needs your recipient may have.
This is one of my favorite gifts to give women, because it makes for a gift that’s pretty, smells nice, and will always be used! Get a selection of attractive soaps, nice hand lotions, a hand towel, and some candles, then package them together. There are lots of giveaways for bath and body products out there, which could provide you with a great item to tuck into one of these gift baskets. If you know your recipient has extremely sensitive skin or is bothered by strong scents, this may not be the gift for them. But overall, I find this to be a very popular gift idea!
Another thing I love about giving practical presents is that you know you aren’t overloading the recipient with something they won’t be able to use.
3. Look for gift card giveaways.
Naturally, giveaways for gift cards and cash can always be put to use in your holiday shopping! In 2009, I used Amazon gift cards that I had won to buy a Canon PowerShot A470 7.1MP Digital Camera as a Christmas gift for Jai. After my gift cards, I paid just $10.14 for the camera!
Obviously, you can’t rely on giveaways to produce a specific result. I enter lots of giveaways for things my friends and family might like as gifts, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to win any of them. However, my point is that if you think ahead, make note of items that your family and friends might like, and enter with that in mind, you can be well on your way to winning Christmas gifts. If you take my advice for maximizing your odds of winning, you will have just as much chance as I do of winning presents!