UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts Galore! How You Can Receive 606 Free Presents on Christmas Day!

Image by Yevhen Buzuk from Pixabay

Fasten your seat belts! Today I will be telling you how to receive a whopping six hundred and six Christmas presents on Christmas Day, all completely free!

Many of the Second Life stores which have Advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas calendars allow you to visit once on Christmas Day, and pick up all the gifts at one time. Very convenient!

Below is a listing of the stores, each with a brief description of the gifts, and a SLURL to take you directly to the calendar. In some cases, I have also included a picture of the calendar.

This task would have been practically impossible without the truly Herculean work done by Andonia, who shall be henceforth known as the Queen of the Advent Calendars! Nearly every day, Andonia criss-crosses the grid, hitting as many calendars as she could, and then posts pictures of each day’s gifts to her blog! Here’s her list of 2020 Advent calendars, which she has published on the Kinky Fox Designs blog. Please peruse it, to get a better sense of what kinds of presents each calendar offers, so that you may efficiently draw up a plan of attack for your Christmas 2020 looting and pillaging 😉 Thank you, Andonia! 🙂

For this endeavour, you will require only three things:

  • at least one free group slot (in many cases, you will need to join the free store group in order to pick up all the Advent calendar gifts; you can then leave the group immediately afterward to free up that slot for the next store on this list!);
  • one Linden dollar (for the 12 Days of Christmas calendar at Baby Monkey); and
  • at least a couple of spare hours to teleport from store to store! If you, like me, are stuck at home during a pandemic lockdown with some time on your hands, this might be the year for you to go a little crazy with the virtual freebie shopping!

Ready? Set? Let’s go!!! Remember that you will only be able to pick up all the gifts on Christmas Day (for some stores, Christmas Eve, but please see my note about special Christmas Day presents at a few stores at the very tail end of this blogpost). If your time is limited, I have listed what I think are the best calendars for apparel and footwear first, then all the rest in alphabetical order.

Christmas Gifts of Men’s and Women’s Apparel, Footwear, Jewelry, and Accessories

Baby Monkey: No group needed; 12 gifts of women’s apparel and footwear; pay L$1 for each one, and your Linden dollar will automatically be refunded. The gifts all come with a three-colour mini-HUD, and together they comprise a capsule wardrobe!

Petite Mort: No group needed; 12 gifts of womenswear.

UPDATE December 25th: the Christmas present from Petite Mort is this beautiful white ballgown!

Oubliette: No group needed; 12 gifts of gothic womenswear.

UPDATE December 25th: the final gift from Oubliette’s calendar is this gorgeous black ballgown, the counterpart to the white gown gift from Petite Mort.

JUMO: No group needed; 15 gifts of women’s apparel, footwear, and jewelry.

No Shot: No group needed; there are two calendars, one with 12 gifts of womenswear and the other with 12 gifts of menswear.

Ari-Pari: Free group join is required; 25 gifts of womenswear, home decor, and a L$250 gift card (Dec. 14th). Gifts can only be claimed once, so select Deliver on the blue pop-up window, and then be sure to click on Accept rather than Discard, because you won’t get a second chance! (UPDATE Dec. 22nd: I have been informed by the owner of Ari-Pari that I can get all these Advent calendar gifts redelivered via the redelivery terminal found in the store.)

EscalateD: No group needed; look for the green Advent calendar (the red one is for V.I.P. members only); 24 gifts of hairstyles and accessories; for pictures of the gifts, see Andonia’s blog or the listing compiled by the Russian Vkontake group Second Life – FREE (use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser). UPDATE Dec 24th: Please note that on Christmas Eve, you only need to click on the green advent calendar ONCE, and you will receive a folder containing all 24 gifts! If you click on all 24 numbers, you will land up with 24 copies of all 24 presents!!!

UPDATE Dec. 21st, 8:58 p.m.: I forgot to mention Altamura‘s 12 Days of Christmas calendar! Free group join required; 12 gifts of seasonal menswear and womenswear, including free Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible full-body male and female avatars (more information here). As the Altamura group usually costs L$100 to join, you might wish to stay a member of this particular store group, as Altamura sometimes offers group gifts and discounts to group members throughout the year.

12 Days of Christmas gifts at Altamura include Bento, Bakes on Mesh avatars

Some other stores you might wish to visit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day include:

AppleTini: Free group join required; 24 gifts of women’s fingernails.

Amore & Amore: Free group join required; 24 gifts of women’s clothing.

Black Angel: Free group join required; 24 gifts of womenswear.

Blackbird Lace: Free group join required; 24 gifts of women’s apparel and footwear.

BYRNE: Free group join required; 25 gifts of women’s apparel, footwear, and accessories. UPDATE December 25th: You’ll need to take the teleporter to the Advent calendar. Most of the gifts are womenswear, but a few items are unisex, and the present for Christmas Day includes both a women’s dress and this men’s black Victorian-era suit, with either a red or teal vest:

The Christmas Day gift from Byrne includes this men’s suit, as well as a women’s outfit

Coveted: No group needed; 24 gifts of men’s and women’s wear, accessories, and home decor.

DM Design: Free group join required; 24 gifts of womenswear.

Donni’s Dollies: Free group join required; 24 gifts of men’s and women’s apparel and footwear.

Enchantress: Free group join required; 24 gifts of womenswear.

Fashion Fantasy: No group needed; 24 gifts of womenswear.

Fashion Fantasy for Men: No group needed; 24 gifts of menswear.

ROA Design: No group needed; 24 gifts of womenswear and accessories.

Sands Design: No group needed; 24 gifts of women’s clothing.

TrendZy: No group needed; 24 gifts of womenswear and home and garden decor.

Home and Garden Decor and Christmas Decorations

If you are interested in home and garden decor, including Christmas decorations, please visit the following calendars:

Chic Buildings: No group needed; while Chic does not have an Advent calendar this year, she has put up two calendars with gifts from 2017 and 2018 for a total of 48 gifts of home furnishings; for pictures, see Andonia’s Advent calendar listing on the Kinky Fox Designs blog (press Ctrl-F and do a keyword search for “chic buildings”).

Dench Designs: No group needed; 24 gifts of home and garden decor.

Flying Arts: No group needed; 24 gifts of outdoor Christmas decor.

Fonzo Fest: No group needed; 12 gifts around the Christmas tree; childrenswear, family poses, home and garden decor.

Illustrious: No group needed; 24 gifts of home and garden decor.

Kim’s Creations: No group needed; 25 gifts of home and garden decor.

Christmas Presents from Shopping Events

On Christmas Day you should also pay a visit to a couple of shopping events where the gifts are all gathered together. I have not added the count of the gifts from all these events to the total given in the title of this blogpost; there are so many, that I simply don’t have time to count all of them!

Cosmopolitan shopping event (running Dec. 14th to 26th, 2020): Free group join required; the gifts are in Christmas stockings hung on a huge Christmas tree near the entrance. Participating vendors are adding stockings to the tree every day between now and Christmas, so I would advise dropping by on Christmas Day and picking up everything at once. If you want to see pictures of all the presents in the stockings, please check the daily listing of gifts compiled by the Russian Vkontake group Second Life – FREE (use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser).

The Christmas tree at the Cosmopolitan shopping event has dozens of gifts!

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! (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! Thank you, Chic!\

Another shopping event you should hit is SWANK (running Dec. 18th, 2020 to Jan. 8th, 2021), which has four large Christmas trees at four corners of the sim (be sure to turn up your draw distance in your SL viewer to be able to see them!), under which are dozens of Christmas gifts from participating vendors. You will need to join the free SWANK group to pick up these gifts of men’s and women’s apparel, footwear, jewelry, and home and garden decor.

Don’t forget to hit the December rounds of all the other shopping events, too, such as FaMESHed (running Dec. 1st to 27th, 2020; pictures of some of the lovely womenswear gifts you can pick up from the FaMESHed shopping event can be found here).

Christmas Day Presents from Stores

Finally, the Firelight Hair mainstore has, in past years, allowed you to pick up all 24 hairstyles on Christmas Day, along with a free store gift card to use on any hair in the Firelight store. I don’t know if they are going to do that again this year, so be sure to pop in, just to double check on December 25th! The Advent calendar gifts are mostly women’s hairstyles, with a few male/unisex styles thrown in. The Firelight group is free to join.

Also, Entice usually puts out a store gift card as their Christmas present every year, so check that out too! The Entice group is free to join.

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts from the 2020 Winter Shop and Hop

The Second Life Winter Shop & Hop event opened today, and runs until January 3rd, 2021. Almost all of the 180 participating merchants in the nine-sim shopping mall have a free gift for their customers, and today I blitzed through the entire mall from one end to the other, to bring you my picks for the most fabulous freebies from the event!

Please note that there are a lot more home and garden vendors than in previous years, which I will not be covering here. Today, I will be focusing on women’s apparel and footwear gifts. (If I have time, I may make a second run and focus on the non-apparel items you can pick up for your virtual homestead in Second Life.)

All SLURLs in this blogpost should take you directly to the location of the freebie in the Shop & Hop mall, so let’s just jump in, shall we?

Free Gifts of Women’s Apparel and Footwear

First up we have two gifts that don’t quite match, but what the hell…as soon as I found these items, I immediately put them on and wore them on the rest of my perambulations through the Winter Shop & Hop mall! The frilly magenta Fondle dress is the gift from Toksik, and the strappy red shoes are a present from the Enchanté store:

Vanity Fair models this truly sexy black lace Raelin slip dress from Baiastice (the black panties are included), which comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Perky, and Petite, Meshbody Legacy, Belleza Freya, and Slink Hourglass female mesh bodies:

Next we have this warm, wearable red blanket from Belle Epoque (you will need to alpha out your arms and hands!), plus these wonderful powder blue women’s patrol boots with a snowflake pattern, the gift from Lapointe and Bastchild’s brand SWEAR:

The detail on the patrol boots is amazing! These are keepers for sure! I may even design a whole winter outfit around them…

Here, Vanity Fair is wearing a green top and matching skirt, the gift from Entice, plus a pair of Storyteller glasses, the present from BONDI (which come with a HUD to change the colour of the frames and the tint of the lenses):

This tartan December minidress from Faida comes in sizes to fit Meshbody Legacy, and three versions of the Maitreya Lara body: regular, petite, and flat-chested.

The gift from Pixicat is this red-and-black Aspen cardigan, shown here with the Christmas ball earrings from Aleutia, which come in silver and gold versions in a full fatpack of colours, to match any seasonal outfit!

The Adita Santa dress from Luas comes in a fatpack of colours, shown here with the Aster boots from Eudora, which come in your choice of brown or red leather:

This year, several stores are offering more than one gift! AlaFolie has four gifts for you to unpack, including this Christine sweater and skirt outfit (which comes with a HUD with six different colours and patterns), and the knitted woolen Bonnet hat:

From Flower Dreams comes this bold, floral mesh dress called Kim, which comes with a five-colour HUD as shown. In addition, there are four other free gifts for women, all of which are applier/system/Bakes on Mesh outfits, some including wraps or shawls for various versions of female mesh bodies!

And Neve is giving you ELEVEN gifts in total this year: this year’s gift of the Lumos scarf with tiny Christmas lights (which includes a HUD with four options for both the colour of the scarf and the Christmas lights), plus ten gifts from previous years, all in one package! Below, Vanity Fair wears the Lumos scarf with one of those ten gifts, this festive sweater outfit from 2016, which comes with a HUD to change the colour of the top, skirt, sweater and belt separately to make numerous combinations!

Another festive outfit is this cropped sweater and skirt from 2019, each of which comes with a four-colour HUD, so you can mix and match:

And there are still eight more gifts from Neve to unpack! Hands down, Neve is the most generous vendor this Christmas at the Shop and Hop! Even if you have picked up one or two of these gifts in your earlier visits to SL, it is so thoughtful of Neve to make all of them available in one package!

Free Store Credit or Gift Cards

This year, quite a few stores are offering the gift of free store credit or gift cards (once again, all links are SLURLs to take you directly to the store locations in the Shop & Hop mall where you can slap the boards to obtain these offers):

  • Bumblebee‘s gift is L$500 gift card, to spend as you wish in their store;
  • EscalateD Hair is also offering L$500 free store credit;
  • Glitzz is giving away L$500 in free store credit, too;
  • Salt & Pepper is giving you L$250 in free store credit, plus a rather funny outfit;
  • Tachinni Clothing is offering L$150 in free store credit to everybody, and an additional L$350 store credit if you join their group (the group join fee is L$15);
  • and ViSion is giving away a fatpack of women’s leggings, plus L$500 in store credit to anyone who joins the ViSion group (the group join fee is only L$18).

And that’s it for me today! Happy freebie shopping! Remember that you have until January 3rd to scoop up all of these items, plus many more fabulous freebies.

UPDATE Dec. 15th, 2020: I forgot to mention yet another free gift card offer at the 2020 Winter Shop and Hop! The Annex womenswear store is giving away a L$500 if you join their free group here:

Exploring the Weird and Wonderful World of Furries in Second Life (Plus Some Fabulous Freebies for Both Furries and Non-Furries from Positive Wavelength!)

You might be surprised to learn this, but in my 14 years of creating and styling avatars of various kinds in Second Life (see here, here, and most recently here for some examples of my weird, obsessive, creative little hobby), I have never created a furry avatar. All my avatars have been either 100% human or 100% animal—nothing in between!

Furries, of course, have been an active subculture in the real world as well as in virtual worlds for many years now. According to FurScience*, a website run by the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP), a multidisciplinary team of research scientists studying the furry fandom:

The term furry describes a diverse community of fans, artists, writers, gamers, and role players. Most furries create for themselves an anthropomorphized animal character (fursona) with whom they identify and can function as an avatar within the community. Some furries wear elaborate costumes or paraphernalia such as animal ears or tails, or represent themselves as anthropomorphic animals in online communities such as Second Life.

Furry fandom is an inclusive term that describes the community of furries that span online, local, and international settings. The furry fandom is global, with hundreds of local groups existing worldwide and dozens of conventions held annually.

Of course, since the coronavirus pandemic started, furry conventions in the real world have been cancelled around the world. But, of course, that doesn’t stop the vibrant furry communities and clubs in the virtual world of Second Life! In fact, aside from possibly VRChat, I would be hard pressed to think of a single social VR platform or virtual world that has as many furries scurrying around than SL.

So I decided to begin exploring the rich and sometimes crazy world of furries in SL. This will probably be the first post in a series of blogposts as I wander the grid in search of what makes furries tick. Did you know that one of Second Life’s oldest communities is Luskwood, founded in 2003? It’s still a popular hangout for furries to meet and chat. In my recent travels, I have seen a lot of weird and wonderful places and some truly outrageous avatars!

One thing that I have found very interesting is that (with rare exceptions such as Bray’s Place), for the most part, human and furry avatars do not tend to mix. You can go many popular clubs in SL and never run into a furry, and likewise, you won’t find many human avatars on sims catering to furries. In this respect at least, like tends to mix with like. In fact, some sims explicitly request in that you present as a human avatar.

Bray’s Place is one of the relatively few places on the Second Life grid where humans and furries mix and mingle

Many experienced virtual furries usually start with a human mesh body (such as Maitreya Lara, Signature Gianni, etc.), and then go shopping for additions such as skin appliers, paws to replace human feet, and (of course!) tails. Often, dedicated virtual furries will combine components from various and sundry vendors, in order to create a unique, one-of-a-kind avatar that they feel best represents themselves.

Me, I just did a quick search on the SL Marketplace, and after a cursory exploration of the wide variety of options available, I decided to buy an Anthro Wolf avatar from Spider Productions (here’s the SLURL to take you directly to the Anthro Wolf vendor panel, just right-click on it your inventory, select Show on Map from the menu that pops up, and follow the red arrow!).

The nice thing about the Anthro Wolf package is that it is a complete avatar package; you do not need to hunt around to assemble components from different vendors such as feet, ears, tails, etc. There’s little fuss and bother. It’s perfect for a newbie furry like me! Even better, you get both male and female versions of the wolf avatar in the same package if you want to be a true gender bender!

Here’s what my male wolf avatar looks like after choosing a fur colour and eye colour from the included HUD, and making a few tweaks to the default head and body sliders:

The Spider Productions Anthro Wolf avatar costs L$3,250 (instead of going to the in-world store, you can buy the Anthro Wolf via the SL Marketplace), and the full-permissions T-shirt and shorts cost L$300 each, for a grand total of L$3,850. You don’t need to spend a penny extra, and you’re all set to go!

Now, I am going to share with you news of some fabulous freebies available to both furries and non-furries alike at a store called Positive Wavelength. Located at the centre of the in-world store is Christmas tree with gift boxes underneath it:

The Christmas tree at Positive Wavelength

Wander around the tree and check the floating text above the smaller gift boxes, which are wrapped in colourful paper. The floating text above them indicates what is in the box, and it might also say “(on cooldown)”.

The gift box for the Sinwave tail gift

These are very special giftboxes, that are on a four-hour cooldown. What that means is, only one avatar at a time can receive a gift…and then everybody else has to wait 4 hours before the next person can click on the box! I was lucky enough to win a Sinwave Bento tail, the full version which retails for L$450 in the store:

This tail comes with a HUD and a detailed notecard, explaining how to set it up and get it working. You can choose from a mind-boggling 23 different shapes of tail and tint it any colour you want (it supports tintable Bakes on Mesh layers!). Here’s a very short video of it in action (there’s no sound):

This is definitely an upgrade from my original wolf tail which was included in the Spider Productions Anthro Wolf package—fluffier, infinitely tintable to match whatever colour fur my avatar is wearing, and with many more animations to choose from, including special animations when your furry avatar is walking or running!

In addition to this wonderful furry tail, there are other fabulous free gifts if you are lucky enough to be around when the gift box is claimable. Among them are a wearable, animesh bear mount or a bear avatar, which are also available for purchase in the Positive Wavelength store if you are impatient:

Other gifts on this cooldown system include a ridable unicorn plushie and a unicorn plushie avatar. There is also one gift which is not on the cooldown system, which means that anybody can claim it without having to wait: a “noodle” animesh dragon companion which flies around your head, and is quite delightful!

So, head on down to Positive Wavelength and try your luck! Here’s your taxi.

*Thank you to Rainwolf, a furry acquaintance whom I first met on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server (who brings his signature purple wolf avatar into as many social VR platforms and virtual worlds as he can), who told me about the FurScience website!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Advent Calendar Gifts for December 7th, 2020

Here’s my blogpost with links to four lists of Advent Calendars and 12 Days of Christmas Calendars, plus my “Top Ten” Calendars you should not miss in 2020!

Today’s Advent calendar gift from Virtue is this lovely floral dress (the Virtue group is free to join):

The following gift from Celestina’s Weddings, this beautiful gold Beck ballgown, includes all the jewelry you see here: the diamond waist brooch, earrings, and necklace (there’s also a ring, as well as optional flexiprims for a fuller-looking skirt; the Celestina’s group is free to join).

Entice‘s present today is this light blue crop top (the Entice group is free to join):

And at 7 Deadly S[k]ins, today’s skin tone for the Hope Bakes on Mesh skin is butter (it costs L$1,000 to join the 7DS group; there’s also an Omega applier for the same skin tone, and a men’s skin included in the gift package):

And from Firelight Hair comes this blonde ponytail style with a 3-colour ombre mini-HUD:

Fittingly, the Advent gift from Emerald Couture is an emerald green sweater and separate black skirt, a very smart-looking emsemble! The Emerald Couture group is free to join.

Eclectic Stars is giving away these wonderful Rainbow Nebula pumps (no need to join any group, just hit their Advent calendar at the back of the store):

Happy freebie shopping!