This year (2022) the Christmas day sports schedule is heavier than usual, given that the 25th falls on a Sunday. NBA Christmas Day is always the big draw, but there is a slate of NFL games as well. For sports fans, the schedule is a big shiny gift to be enjoyed with family and visiting friends before and after turkey. Some during. For online gamblers, it’s also enticing, but in some cases it may be problematic. People with mild, moderate, and severe gambling problems are especially susceptible to increased participation on and around December 25th. If you’re concerned that you gamble more than you probably should, we encourage you to consider more “productive” things to do in lieu of Christmas day sports betting. Let’s review!
5 Practical and More Engaging Things to do on Christmas Day to Keep from Gambling on Sports
I. Turn Off the TV and Go Outside and Play
After watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, turn off the TV (or switch the channel to the ever-burning yule log) and head outside to play with whomever is in your household this Christmas. If you planned on watching (and betting on) NBA Christmas Day games, go shoot hoops in the carport with your kids, siblings, or cousins (etc.) instead. If you intended to do the same for this December 25th’s trifecta of NFL games, organize a game of flag football with your relatives at the local park. If you’re blessed with ice and snow, go tobogganing, skating, or throw down on a snowball fight with the gang before dinner. You get the idea. Heading outdoors to play is the best way to distract from betting on the sports schedule.
II. Lock Away Your Phone/Tablet
You may have promised concerned loves ones that you won’t turn the channel to ABC, ESPN, and NBC to watch any of the games. However, one of the biggest enablers to Christmas day sports betting is in your pocket or palm of your hands. The proliferation of online gambling and subsequent release/upgrades of sports betting apps have made it easier to wager, with people in your household being none the wiser. Lock away your smartphone and tablet until the clock has run down on the final game.
III. Put that Thing Together
Every Christmas, there is a gift under the tree that requires hours of set-up to make it ready for use. It may be your child’s new dollhouse or model kit, your spouse’s new bedroom dresser set, or an entertainment system that you yourself received. Instead of putting the build off until the new year (as you normally do) work on it this Christmas day in-place of watching the game. It may incite frustration (especially if following IKEA instructions) but it’s a great way to avoid sports betting temptation.
IV. Help Out in the Kitchen
The image is as iconic as a Norman Rockwell painting. Household sports fans sit on the sofa, glued to the TV watching sports, while the cooks are stuck over the oven preparing Christmas evening’s feast. Animosity often ensues, especially when gambling is involved. Instead, get in good graces with the household kitchen crew by helping out. You’ll score some solid brownie points while avoiding risk over betting the point spread.
V. Alone on Christmas Day? Get in Touch
Everything above is connected to spending time with family and friends on Christmas day. Unfortunately, not everyone has loved ones to spend the day with, which can be trying on mental health and set the table for gambling. If this is the case, and you’re feeling vulnerable, we encourage you to take a moment to call or send an email to Kindbridge Behavioral Health. Our gambling disorder therapists understand what you’re going through at this time of the year. We will help you get on the road to recovery from your very first consultation. All that you need to do, is reach out.