Yes, I am still percolating, but of course, the holidays wait for no one! This year, the annual Second Life Holiday Shop and Hop covers 16 sims, simply groaning with discounted items for sale. And each vendor booth has a free Christmas present for you—and a few have more than one!
I have spent the past week scouring social media for information to learn which stores are participating in this year’s Holiday Shop and Hop, and what gifts each store is giving. Then I drew up a draft list, loaded up Second Life supermodel Moesha Heartsong, and hit all 16 sims, to pick up, unpack, and inspect each gift from that list. As more information came in, I edited and updated that list, and it is now at version 3.0!
This final list consists of my picks for the best gifts from this season’s Shop and Hop (mostly fashion for female avatars, but also some male fashion, as well as any offers of gift cards or free store credit). Each item on the list includes an exact SLURL, so you can teleport directly to the gift, pick it up, and head on to your next score! Having all one sim’s gifts grouped together means less teleporting back and forth between sims, a factor to consider early on in the event, when some popular sims get congested with avatar traffic.
I have posted that detailed list to my own Second Life group, called the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group (just search for “ryanschultz”, all one word, under Groups in Search, and you will find it easily). More information on the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group can be found here. The group join fee is only L$50, and you will find it money well spent, as I often share many bargains and freebies throughout the year, which never make it to this blog!
As an alternative to my list, or if you really want to make sure you haven’t missed any gifts that I skipped over, I still feel that the single best way to tackle the Shop and Hop events is to watch Naria Panthar’s videos on YouTube.
Naria always posts one or two videos where she unpack every single gift from the event, both non-wearable items and avatar clothing, and shows you what they look like. Watch the videos with the audio at two times normal speed, and keep a pen and paper handy to note the stores which have gifts you want (Naria herself recommends watching and listening at 2X speed, so it doesn’t take as long!).
First: My faculty union at the university where I work went through a five-week strike which ended in early December, and we are now in a rapidly worsening Omicron wave of the coronavirus pandemic. I am STRESSED and UTTERLY EXHAUSTED and I need to take a break. Second Life is my happy place, and my preferred way of dealing (or, perhaps more accurately, not dealing) with messy, painful, chaotic, dumpster-fire reality these days. I am therefore taking December as a vacation from this blog (with a few exceptions, such as this blogpost).
Second: As I have often said before, Second Life is the perfect example of a mature, fully-evolved metaverse, which the newer social VR platforms would be wise to study and emulate. Do not be so quick to dismiss Second Life as quaint and outdated! At a time when the concept of the metaverse is suddenly very popular again, you can learn many lessons from studying SL. For example, merchandizing avatar fashion (such as that profiled in this blogpost) is now a very hot topic in the blockchain/crypto/NFT space; Second Life content creators have been earning full or side incomes by creating and selling avatar fashion for over 18 years now!
Thank you for your patience and understanding. I do expect to return full-throttle to blogging about any and all aspects of social VR, virtual worlds and the metaverse in January 2022!
Every December, the Cosmopolitan shopping event (SLURL) has a large Christmas tree placed between the entrance doors, which is a sort of Advent calendar, but in a different form. Every day, more and more stockings are added to the tree as decorations, and each stocking is a free gift from a participating vendor. Join the !!Cosmopolitan Club & Lounge!! group for free to pick up these gifts.
However, because the stockings all look alike and are attached to all sides of a three-dimensional, cone-shaped object, and therefore it can be very hard to keep track of what you have already taken and what you haven’t! Here’s a useful tip, from a previous year’s blogpost, on how to tackle the tree:
If you insist on visiting every day, the layout of the stockings around the tree can be somewhat confusing compared to traditional Advent calendars, and you might land up collecting the same gifts multiple times. You might want to use this tip provided by SL blogger Chic Aeon: once you have clicked on a stocking and received its gift, right click on it, Select More from the pie menu, select More again, then select Derender, then Blacklist. You will no longer be able to see that stocking on return visits! (These are the instructions for the Firestorm viewer; I do not know what the equivalent is for the standard Second Life viewer.) This is a genius tip! Thanks, Chic!
Another tip: derender the Christmas tree first; then the stockings will appear to be floating in mid-air, and they are much easier to find and click on! 😉
Today my avatar Moesha Heartsong (the Naomi Campbell supermodel of Second Life!) models some of my favourite gifts from the Cosmopolitan stockings. I do apologize for using a pose stand for these images; I can work much faster this way, and therefore get this blogpost out to you more quickly! I do not know how long the Christmas tree will be up at the Cosmopolitan event, so don’t delay in picking up these fabulous freebies!
First up is the Mei jewelry set from Supernatural, a choker and two necklaces (three separate pieces which you can wear together as shown, or separately as you wish). The Mei set comes in gold and silver versions, and each version comes in four different colours: black, red, pink, and white.
From AVALE comes the Gorra party dress with a dark silver skirt and a colour-changeable top (the included HUD gives you 11 colours). Sizes: Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Isis, Hourglass, and Kupra.
ZVI’s gift is this cropped top with a choice of 20 colours via a HUD (sizes: Maitreya Lara, Meshbody Legacy, INITHIUM Kupra, eBody Reborn, Kalhene Erika).
Blossom&Seeds offers you this Costa Rica dress in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza Freya, and Meshbody Legacy bodies:
From Shybird comes the Mina party dress, which comes in a fatpack with a whopping 64 options (32 colours in silk and 32 colours in suede!). This dress comes in sizes to fit Maitreya, Legacy, Kupra, and eBody Reborn.
The Eliza outfit (in the stocking from Meva) consists of a red dress and a white jacket with a belt. The dress and jacket can be worn together as shown, or you can mix and match with other items from your avatar’s wardrobe.
Off-Line’s present is this Nali dress in salmon, which comes in opaque and sheer versions (sizes: Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Hourglass, and Kupra).
The present from Amias is this delightful grey Deer Sweater! There are versions for both male and female avatars: Maitreya Lara & Petite and Legacy & Perky for the women; and Belleza Jake, Signature Gianni, and Legacy for the men.
Seniha very generously gives you a complete fatpack of the Rosse outfit, consisting of a bodysuit and boa/fur stole, each of which comes with a HUD with a dizzying array of colours and textures to choose from! You can tint the top, belt, and bottom of the bodysuit separately via the HUD, for even more options!
From Little Fox comes the Darling set of top and matching panties in cherry red (Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Kupra sizes).
The gift from Masoom is this pink Minerva gown (which comes in both regular and windblown versions). The gown comes with a gems HUD and a separate package of tintable panties to wear underneath. The Minerva gown comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza Freya, and Slink Hourglass mesh bodies.
The stocking from Poison Rouge contains this haute couture Alma de Rosa hat in coral pink:
This is the Makina pigtail hairstyle from Ayashi, which comes with the HUD as shown, with eight different anime colours and a tinting feature to make your hair any colour under the sun!
Petite Maison offers a lovely selection of home decor (seven separate objects):
And finally, for something completely different, we have this set of unisex Bakes on Mesh cosmetics from Poema, the Editorial makeup pack! You’re all set for your next Vogue fashion shoot!
Again, I don’t know how long the Christmas tree will be up, so go TODAY.
Once you join the group (search for “ryanschultz”, all one word, under Groups in Search; it’s the only one that matches), just look for the notice titled “HOLIDAY SHOP AND HOP December 2021”, which contains a comprehensive list of gifts organized by sim name, with the exact SLURLs to each of the gifts so you can teleport in and out! I made it very easy for you!
I am taking a vacation from blogging for the entire month of December. Between the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the recently concluded faculty strike at my university, I am utterly exhausted, and I need to take a break. I hope that you understand. I will be back in January 2022!
December is truly the most wonderful time of the year for freebie fashionistas in Second Life! Many stores have either an Advent calendar or a 12 Days of Christmas calendar, where you can pick up a free gift each day.
This year, instead of wearing myself out trying to hit every single calendar on the grid, I will be focusing my energy on just a select few which, year after year, consistently offer the best gifts. Here are my top picks for 2021!
Please note that I will be updating this blogpost regularly between now and Christmas, so bookmark this post and check back often for any changes or updates.
UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2021, 2:13 p.m.: The 2021 Seraphim Gift List (which includes Advent calendars, holiday sales, and stores with giftable vendors and transferable items) has just been published!
UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2021, 10:25 p.m.: The Second Life Syndicate is taking a different approach! Instead of a list, they are maintaining a Google spreadsheet, which you can access here. The group-edited spreadsheet already has over 180 rows!
UPDATE Dec. 2nd, 2021, 1:40 p.m.: The hardworking folks over at the Russian-language VKontakte group Second Life – FREE are posting a daily roundup of that day’s Advent calendar gifts, with pictures! And they are actually building a list of stores with links to pictures of each day’s Advent gift! This is probably THE easiest way to actually see each day’s calendar gifts without teleporting all over the grid, collecting and unpacking items! (Please remember to use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome browser to read the posts in this Russian-language community. You do not need to set up an account on VKontakte; just click on the “Not Now!” link every time a pop-up appears asking you to log in.)
UPDATE Dec. 2nd, 2021, 2:13 p.m.:Low Price Fashion in Second Life is a little-known Japanese blog which usually posts a daily roundup of that day’s Advent calendar gifts (again, you will need to use the automatic Japanese-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser to read the posts).
Five Advent Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day
Firelight Hair has an Advent calendar running from December 1st to 24th (you do need to join the Firelight group for free). You have to pick up each gift on the day it is offered. The gifts are mostly women’s hairstyles, but there will also be a few male/unisex styles. All hair gifts usually come with a mini 3-colour HUD.
7 Deadly s[K]ins has an advent tree in their store, with generous gifts every day from Dec. 1st through to the 31st! Please note that you do have to join the new store group, called SEVEN – [7DS], to pick up these gifts; this group is free to join until Jan. 1st, 2022! So you have no excuse this year not to pick up some new skin for your avatar.
Virtue offers an Advent calendar with beautiful clothing gifts for women. The emphasis here is on classic, modest fashion. You do need to join the Virtue group for L$25 to pick up these gifts; you also need to show up each day to pick up that day’s gift.
Entice offers Advent calendar gifts of womenswear from December 1st to 25th (you do have to join the Entice group for free). Again, you do have to show up each day to pick up that day’s gift.
Essenz has an Advent calendar where you can pick up a gift of high-quality women’s footwear every day (the Essenz group costs L$350 to join). If you missed a day, or are not a group member, you can pick up previous days’ gifts for only L$50 each.
Three 12 Days of Christmas Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day
Most of these calendars start on Dec. 12th, 13th, or 14th, and run until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (and a few stores are having a 15 Days of Christmas calendar starting Dec. 10th, so be sure to check!).
The Baby Monkey 12 Days of Christmas calendar offers a free gift each day. All the gifts together form a complete, colour-coordinated capsule wardrobe. You do have to show up each day to pick up that day’s gift.
JUMO usually gives away lovely gifts of women’s apparel and jewelry from Dec. 12th-Dec. 24th, as well as on New Year’s Eve (the JUMO group is free to join). This is the place to pick up some beautiful ballgowns and costume jewelry!
UPDATE Dec. 12th, 2021: It would appear that the eBENTO Event has been cancelled for December, according to chatter in the eBento group in Second Life. So that means that there will also be no Advent calendar from them this year! 🙁