Editorial: How to Deal with a Blue Christmas

Photo by Cody Chan on Unsplash

Christmas can be a lonely and depressing time for many people in today’s society. The sometimes-overly-forced seasonal emphasis on good cheer, conviviality, and harmonious holiday gatherings with friends and family can often bring those people like me, with less than Instagram-perfect lives, down. And yes, I am one of those people who sometimes struggles at Christmastime.

Nika Talaj made the following wise observation on a recent thread in the official Second Life user forums:

SL is all about longing … often for things we lost in RL (real life). Longing for the body we lost years ago, longing for the dance moves we don’t have, longing for the perfect partner, longing for our own home. And Christmas, for many of us, also brings up feelings of loss and longing.

So, what can you do if you have a case of the Christmas blues? Here are 14 tips from the Health.com website:

  • Make plans ahead of time: Spend some time figuring out how to take care of yourself during this time, and be sure to schedule those activities.
  • Avoid family conflict as much as possible
  • Focus on the good: Especially the good people in your real and virtual lives.
  • Forget about trying to be perfect
  • Learn how to grieve: This is particularly important if this is your first Christmas without a loved one. Talk about your feelings or reach out to support groups in your community.
  • Don’t skimp on sleep
  • Limit social media consumption: Social media, where everybody seems to be having a better time than you, can often increase feelings of sadness and loneliness. Get off Facebook and other social media sites, or limit their use over the holidays.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it: here’s a list of helpful resources.
  • Make exercise a priority
  • Consider your light exposure: In the Northern hemisphere, especially if you live closer to the North Pole as I do, the lack of daylight can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you think you may be suffering from SAD, talk to your doctor about treatment options. I have a SAD lamp which I use when I am feeling depressed.
  • Make other plans: Deliberately plan and do some non-holiday things.
  • Focus on what matters: It’s not all about the Christmas presents.
  • Don’t binge on food or alcohol
  • Cut back on your commitments: It’s OK to say “no” once in a while.

I hope that this list of tips is helpful to you this holiday season. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any other tips you want to share, thanks!

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts from the 2019 Shop and Hop Event

Whew! I am utterly exhausted.

Well into the wee hours of the morning, I braved the crowds and lag to traverse all six sims of this year’s Winter Shop and Hop in Second Life, which runs from now until Jan. 6th, 2020. Here’s a pro tip: wait until late December or the first week of January to visit, when it is less busy.

I thought that you might appreciate having an early look at the many lovely gifts offered by some of the 120 merchants participating in this annual shopping event. Please forgive the standard pose and lighting used in all these pictures, but I had to keep this documenting process somewhat regimented, in order to get through all 120+ presents without losing my sanity!

Lunar

The gift from Lunar is in two parts: the Nini pink ombre top and shirt (the Shop and Hop gift), and the matching leggings (a free group gift; the Lunar group is free to join). There is also a pair of shorts.

Evani

The gift from Evani is this cropped snowflake sweater, with a tintable lace detail.

Dead Dollz

The sexy Bebe minidress comes with a HUD to change the colour of the tiny gemstones that adorn it.

Tres Blah

Tres Blah’s gift is a cozy scarf with a 26-colour HUD—a winter wardrobe staple!

Rebel Gal

The present from Rebel Gal is this Fluffy Fox sweater!

Limerence

The Nerika hairstyle comes in ten shades, plus the HUD offers a tint option to adjust your hair to any colour imaginable.

Le Fil Casse

The Macy minidress comes in a light blue snowflake design.

Gaia

Gaia offers this red long-sleeved crop top, which comes with a HUD to add various sayings in black or white lettering to the neck portion (I turned it off to take this picture).

Mossu

The Mossu snowflake leggings come in blue as shown, and also in pink.

Ella

Ella offers not just one but three gifts! This is the Rouxe outfit in red:

Here is the Doune top and skirt in black:

Finally we have the daring metallic Roxy dress!

Eliavah

The Eliavah gift is the Amaranthine blouse shown here.

Toksik

The gift from Toksik is the so-called Mellow dress (?!) in fuchsia. Not exactly what I would call mellow!

Supernatural

The gift from Supernatural is this set of three necklaces, which you can wear together or separately, in gold or in silver. The Karina set comes with four different HUDs to change the colour of the gemstones.

Sintiklia

The Amelia hairstyle comes with the colours and tint options as shown. (One of my pet peeves is text on a HUD that is way too small to read!)

Seniha

This is the Noah dress by Seniha, with a red flannel design.

Kaithleen’s

Here’s the Joyful dress in rose, the gift from Kaithleen’s womenswear store.

Silvan Moon Designs

This delightful Blessed Yule gown is the gift from Silvan Moon Designs (the holly around the neckline is a separate piece and can be removed).

Baiastice

You’ll turn heads at your next Christmas party in this sparkling Miria ballgown from Baiastice! It comes in red as shown and also in gold.

Vanity Hair

This is the Spanker hairstyle by Vanity Hair, which comes with the colour options shown on the included HUD.

Valentina E.

The gift from Valentina E. is the lovely Gia dress in robin’s egg blue.

Tachinni

This red plaid Bianca top is the present from Tachinni.

Aphorism

Aphorism’s gift is this long winter scarf, which comes in sizes to fit both male and female avatars.

RIOT

RIOT offers these Priya black leggings with a reindeer pattern.

PinkRayne

The gift from PinkRayne is this green Hanna jumper.

EVIE

EVIE’s present is a black glitter top, with a HUD to control the colour of the glitter effect.

Lapointe & Bastchild

The gift from L&B is this Swear Zoe dress, which comes in both green and red versions.

Neve

This lovely sweater and laced tartan skirt are the gifts from Neve.

Pixicat

This red satin dress is the gift from Pixicat (white fur trim at the top and bottom is an optional addition to turn this into a Santa dress!).

Elikatira

The long Foster hairstyle comes in a fatpack of colours, with 16 colour options for the hairpins.

Just Because

The Quincy snowflake leggings come in midnight blue.

Lomomo

This beautifully detailed Oriane dress is the present from Lomomo. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Addams

Addams is giving away L$300 in store credit, plus two fatpacks of their Maisie Chelsea boots: one with the regular sole as shown, and one with a high sole.

Garbaggio

The gift from Garbaggio is a Christmas version of their classic June pumps.

MINA

The Milena hairstyle comes in a fatpack of colours as shown.

No Match

The No Punch hairstyle comes in three versions: with red, gold, or green hair bows.

Belle Epoque

The Caroline fur coat is the gift from Bell Epoque.

RAMA

The Seymour sequin gown comes in 14 different jewel tones.

Vanilla Bae

The Yves comes in three ombre tones, and in three versions (PG as shown, adult, and shoulder off).

ViSion

ViSion offers a L$300 gift card for their store, plus this top and panties set, which comes in red as shown or in white.

There’s tons more gifts which I have not shown you: jewelry, menswear, housewares, items for your home and garden, etc. Be sure to watch Naria Panthar’s YouTube channel for her annual epic Shop and Hop unboxing video to see everything I neglected to show you here!

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: What Advent Calendars and 12 Days of Christmas Calendars I’ll Be Hitting This Holiday Season

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This year, after several successive years of hitting as many Advent and 12 Days of Christmas calendars as I could across the grid, I have decided to scale back to only those calendars which I consider essential, those among my personal favourites.

After the NessMarket blog closed down earlier this year, there are now only two lists of Second Life Advent/Twelve Days of Christmas calendars:

FabFree’s December Advent Listing will be published Dec. 1st

UPDATE Dec. 2nd, 2019: Today I learned about two other Advent calendar listings, which I had not known about before:

Advent Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day

  • Firelight Hair has an Advent calendar, and last year made all the previous days’ Advent gifts available for free on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (you do need to join the Firelight group for free). Gifts are men’s and women’s hairstyles 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! You do have to join the group for L$1,000 if you are not already a member.
  • Appliqué Chic always has lovely clothing gifts for women. No group is required. New this year is a separate advent calendar for men!
  • Virtue is another calendar with beautiful clothing gifts for women. The emphasis here is on classic, modest fashion. You do need to join the Virtue group for free.
  • Entice has numbered gifts of womenswear under a Christmas tree instead of a traditional advent calendar. They also have a very handy sign nearby which shows you what each of the gifts look like! You do have to join the group for free to pick up these advent gifts.
  • Essenz has an advent calendar offering gifts of women’s footwear (the group costs L$350 to join)

Twelve Days of Christmas Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day

  • The Baby Monkey calendar runs from Dec. 13th-24th and is free each day, and L$10 each if you missed a day. Every year, each gift comes with a 3 colour HUD, and the all the gifts together form a complete, colour-coordinated capsule wardrobe.
  • Altamura has a 12 Days of Christmas calendar starting Dec. 12th, with a gift every day. You can pick up all twelve gifts on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Last year the gifts included Bento mesh heads for men and women, and skin appliers.
  • JUMO will be giving away gifts from Dec. 12th-Dec. 24th, as well as on New Year’s Eve. And you can pick up all the gifts at once on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/New Year’s Day!
  • The eBENTO Event has an advent calendar that runs from Dec. 11th to Dec. 25th. This year, the large red calendar numbers are randomly scattered around the event.

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: What Christmas Trees and Advent Calendars I’ll Be Hitting on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

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Photo by Evelyn on Unsplash

There are various locations within Second Life where generous content creators have placed free Christmas gifts under the tree:

  • FaMESHed Event: You can join the FaMESH ed group for free to pick up the gifts under this Christmas tree. As a bonus, there’s also a wheeled cart off to the side where you can still pick up an assortment of gifts from a recent autumn round of FaMESHed!
  • The Dubai Event has an assortment of gifts under their Christmas tree (including a particularly nice blue and gold ballgown by Virtual Diva, for Maitreya Lara mesh bodies only).
  • The Free Dove has gifts under a large Christmas tree, located to the right as you enter the freebie store. You do need to join The Free Dove group for free.
  • The Swank Event has quite a few gifts under their tree outside, but also many more scattered around outside in the snow! So wander around and see what you can find. No group is required.
  • Epiphany has some lovely gifts under a Christmas tree in the centre of the event. No group is required.
  • At the Man Cave event, the “tree” is a stack of green beer bottles, and the “gifts” are beercans with red ribbons standing underneath it! There are over 30 gifts here, all for male avatars.
  • The VERSUS event has five gifts at the landing point, including ice skates, roller skates, and a jetski, and there are many other gifts which are located in Christmas stockings at the various vendor booths. You must join the VERSUS group for free to get these gifts, including the Estephania full-body female mesh avatar by Altamura, which previously was a gift in the SL Frees & Offers Hunt. (UPDATE: Although this was a free group join when I first visited, the organizers have since raised the group join fee to L$50.)
  • The Très Chic event has a pile of presents under the Christmas tree outside, plus gifts at some of the vendor booths inside. Join the Très Chic group for free to get these Christmas gifts.
  • As in past years, the Cosmopolitan event has gifts in over 30 Christmas stockings hung on the large Christmas tree at the entrance. You do have to join the Cosmopolitan group for free to get these gifts.
  • UPDATE Dec. 23rd: I just found out that all the gifts under the Christmas Tree at Sn@tch will be FREE on Christmas Day!
  • UPDATE Dec. 25th: Fallen Gods has a wonderful assortment of gifts under their Christmas tree! No group is required.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Most of the advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas calendars operated by in-world stores in Second Life require you to show up each day to get the advent gift for that date. Sometimes, you may be able to purchase previous days’ gifts for a small fee. But there are a few calendars which allow you to pick up today’s gift, plus all the previous days’ gifts, for free or a small group join fee. Here’s a list of locations where I intend to visit sometime on Dec. 24th or 25th to pick up all the gifts at one time!

  • ALB Dream Fashion & ShuShu has an advent calendar where you can pick up most (not all) of the previous days’ gifts. No group is required.
  • At ML Fashion, you can not only get all the gifts at once on their Advent Calendar on Christmas Day, you can also pick up their Peace on Earth Hunt prize, which is tucked away at the very top of their Christmas-tree-shaped calendar! No group is required.
  • Both Emerald Couture (women’s wear) and Emerald Man (menswear by the same designer) have not one, but two Advent calendars: one requires you to join their respective groups (for free) and you can only pick up gifts on the appropriate date, but each store also has a second Advent calendar which does not require a group, and you can pick up all the previous days’ gifts for free! (Use the provided SLURLs to find the exact locations of the no-group-required Advent calendars; they are in a different location than the “regular” Advent calendars.)
  • JUMO has a 12 Days of Christmas calendar where you pick up all the gifts at once. Remember to come back on New Year’s Eve for a final gift! All gifts are free and do not require a group membership.
  • And, last but not least, Altamura lets you pick up all their 12 Days of Christmas gifts under their Christmas tree at one time! You do have to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group for L$25 to get these gifts, which include the Omega-compatible Leila Bento mesh head for female avatars, and a nice set of Omega skin appliers, in all the Altamura skintones, to use with that head! And apparently, they will also put out a male Bento mesh head as an Advent gift well sometime in the coming days. Altamura often has group specials and gifts throughout the year, so it’s well worth it to spend the L$25 to join their group now, and stay subscribed (usually, the join fee for the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group is L$50).
  • UPDATE Dec. 25th: Surprise! Firelight Hair has made all the previous days’ Advent gifts available for free (you do need to join the Firelight group for free).

So, there you have it! Play your cards right on Christmas Day, and in one series of teleports around the grid, you can pick up dozens and dozens of Christmas presents for free or next-to-nothing! Happy freebie shopping!

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash