For many, Christmas means family, friends and taking a break from the mundane daily routine. But for others, the silly season can bring with it a spiral of despair and hopelessness.
With the propensity for overindulgence, one Wagga woman is sharing her cautions against gambling this Christmas.
“At Christmas there’s so much glamour and magic, but that’s for some,” said Julie McDermott, gambling help counselor and service co-ordinator at Wagga’s Family Support Centre.
“Others feel the expectation to make this one day a perfect day, and if it means asking yourself ‘where can I come up with this kind of money’, it can lead to financial trouble.”
Alongside the relentless Christmas cheer across every channel, Ms McDermott points to the steady increase in gambling paraphernalia during the holidays.
“You don’t have to go out of your way to see gambling. It’s everywhere you look, and if you fall into it, you can begin to chase your loses by looking for the solution in the problem.”
“It’s the promise that from a small investment, you could see a massive return.
“For a lot of people, things can feel unobtainable and when those gambling ads come up, they make it all look so easy.”
To safeguard against the Christmas lurgies, Ms McDermott recommends keeping the season within its proper perspective.
“It’s just one day. There’s so much hype around for this one day. You don’t have to define yourself by how well this one day goes.”
“Gambling promises the same thing as Santa. It’s all about finding the perfect gift, we’re all searching for that high but the important thing is to stop and think, will my happiness now cause pain later?”
For those who may have already wandered into a dangerous place, Ms McDermott confirms there is never a wrong time to seek help.
“We often don’t want to ask for help because it means we’re weak, but it actually takes an enormous inner strength.”
Wagga Family Support Centre will be open and available until December 24. Alternatively, the national gambling help centre will be available 24 hours a day during the Christmas season.