Today’s gift from Virtue is the Felicia outfit…the package says it’s green, but I see it more as light blue! The Virtue group is free to join.
The present from the Advent calendar at Firelight Hair is this longer Raquel hairstyle, which includes a mini-HUD with three blonde and red colours as shown:
Today’s version of the Hope Bakes on Mesh skin is in a darker skin tone called Walnut. The 7 Deadly S[k]ins group costs L$1,000 to join during the month of December, and you can purchase the previous days’ Advent calendar gifts from the store for only L$25 each.
Finally, we have these St. Lucia shoes in purple from Essenz, which come in sizes to fit Maitreya, Belleza, and Legacy mesh feet (not Slink). The shoes come with a HUD to change the metals and the colour of the sole. The Essenz group costs L$350 to join, or if you just want to get this single pair of shoes, non group members can purchase them for only L$50.
Today’s gift from Baby Monkey are these Esther boots. The Advent calendar at Baby Monkey does not require a group join; you simply pay L$1 for each day’s gift, and your Linden dollar will automatically be refunded. All gifts will be available and free until January 1st, 2021, so if you choose, you can visit anytime between Christmas Eve and the end of the year to pick up all the presents at one time! Very handy.
And finally, from JUMO we receive the Gala Rachel gold crown and earrings:
Remember, JUMO is another Advent calendar where you can swoop down and vacuum up all the fabulous free gifts between Christmas and New Year’s Day!
Well, as November winds down, it is time for the dedicated freebie fashionistas to begin planning for December, when many Second Life stores have either an Advent calendar or a Twelve Days of Christmas calendar, with gifts for you to pick up each day!
There are four lists of 2020 Advent calendars published by various websites:
UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2020: I have gone through and checked each of the SLURLs to the stores linked to below, and updated them where necessary. All of them should now take your directly to the store (some have changed location since last year!).
Six 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). The gifts are mostly women’s hairstyles, but there will also be a few male/unisex styles. All hair gifts 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! You do have to join the group; I believe the group join fee is L$125 until the end of November, then it jumps up to L$1,000 during December!
Appliqué Chic offers two separate Advent calendars, one for men and a second for women! Each day’s gifts are free, and you can buy gifts from previous days for only L$10 each. No group join is required.
Virtue offers an Advent calendar with beautiful clothing gifts for women. The emphasis here is on classic, modest fashion. You do not need to join the Virtue group to pick up these gifts.
Entice offers Advent calendar gifts of womenswear from December 1st to 25th (you do have to join the Entice group for free). They also have a very handy sign on either side of their Advent tree, which shows you what each of the gifts look like, so you can plan ahead!
Essenz has an advent calendar from December 1st to the 25th, offering gifts of high-quality women’s footwear (the group costs L$350 to join).
Four “Twelve Days of Christmas” Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day
Please note that none of these calendars will be set up until mid-December:
The Baby Monkey calendar runs from December 12th to the 23rd, 2020 and is free each day. This year, you can pick up all the gifts at once if you prefer to make just one visit, between Dec. 23rd and the end of the year. All the gifts together form a complete, colour-coordinated capsule wardrobe. Even better, you do not need to join a group to pick up the gifts this year!
Altamura has a 12 Days of Christmas calendar running from December 12th to 24th, with a different gift every day: male and female accessories, clothes, skins, makeup, even a mesh head! Please note that the group join fee for Altamura is usually L$100, but during December the group is free to join.
JUMO usually gives away gifts of women’s apparel and jewelry from Dec. 12th-Dec. 24th, as well as on New Year’s Eve. This is the place to pick up some beautiful ballgowns and costume jewelry!
The eBENTO Event has an advent calendar that runs from Dec. 11th to Dec. 25th. Last year, the large red calendar numbers are randomly scattered around the shopping event, with two or three gifts from participating vendors each day. The eBENTO group is free to join.
One of the Second Life vloggers I follow is Cat Pink SL, whose videos are in Spanish, but have English subtitles, so it’s pretty easy to follow along. She covers hunts, events, and freebies, and in a couple of recent YouTube videos, she talks about the free versions of the eBody Classic and Curvy female mesh avatar bodies (which now support Bakes on Mesh), and the free mesh heads, skins, and cosmetics from Genesis Lab:
I had talked about the three free Genesis Lab static (non-Bento) female mesh avatar heads before here (scroll down to the Genesis Lab section), so I am not going to repeat all that information here. But what I did not know is that the Genesis Lab group is once again free to join; there is a small black panel on the Group Gifts wall in the store (SLURL) you can click on to join the store group:
So I decided to experiment a little with one of my alts, using the Kenna head from Genesis Lab (still my personal favourite static mesh head, which comes with a HUD with lots and lots of options), paired with the eBody Classic mesh avatar body. As you can see from these pictures, she turned out looking really good!
I did have one problem: the Genesis Lab Cream skin I applied to the BoM eBody avatar did not work on the feet! However, this is not a serious problem when wearing a long ballgown such as this, and you can get around it in other outfits by using boots which replace the eBody feet completely (they are a separate attachment, along with the hands). I am not sure if this was a problem with the eBody mesh, the eBody BoM relay HUD, or the skin appliers I used (I tried several from the Genesis Lab group gifts, all with the same result). It’s a weird bug.
UPDATE Jan. 20th, 2020: I have now found the cause of the strange white patches on the feet of the eBody mesh avatar. It was the result of a classic, system shoebase I applied to the foot. You can get around this problem by removing any shoebase that causes this, and using the avatar hover height instead when wearing high heels. You can ignore my complaining later on in this blogpost about not being able to wear certain types of shoes; any Slink-compatible shoes should now work!
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head: Kenna by Genesis Lab (includes the mesh eyes shown here; free group gift; group is free to join)
Mesh Body: eBody Classic from the eBody Shop (pay the vendor in the store L$1 and it will automatically be refunded; these mesh bodies do not have Bento hands, and they only have “thick” alpha selections on the included HUD, which means you have to be somewhat careful what you wear with them)
Skin Applier: Cream skin by Genesis Lab (part of the Lakki skin package from Genesis Lab; free group gift; requires the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD which you can get from the eBody store, just pay the vendor L$1 and it will automatically be refunded)
Gown: Holly gown by JUMO (a recent Advent gift which comes in a size specifically for eBody Classic mesh avatars)
Hair: Bella by Alli & Ali, an elegant updo with a colour-changeable comb in the back (a freebie I picked up at a recent virtual conference; it pays to check conference sims in Second Life for any freebies provided for presenters and attendees to outfit and style their avatars!)
Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. (Note the freebie versions of the eBody do not come with Bento hands, so you don’t have to worry about animating them.)
TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE! (All you need is L$1 to pay the vendors in the eBody store to get the eBody Classic mesh body and the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD, which is automatically refunded.)
Note that I do not know how long you will be able to join the Genesis Lab group for free (they used to charge for it), so if you are interested in picking up their free group gifts, I recommend you don’t wait to do so.
UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: You know what? I am actually going to do something that I’ve never done before on this blog: I am going to NOT recommend (un-recommend?) a freebie. And that is the latest freebie version of the eBody Classic and Curvy mesh avatar bodies.They are dreadful. The problem with the feet not taking Bakes on Mesh skins is bad enough, but it gets even worse.
I went over to The Free Dove freebie store, and picked up a few outfits that said they came in versions designed specifically for eBody, like this minidress from Hilly Haalan, and even the eBody stuff doesn’t fit properly!
The previous version had slightly more workable “thick” alpha sections than this new one, especially in the chest/bust area and the back, and it’s a absolute pain in the butt to find something—anything—that works with them, short of a gunnysack where you can alpha out your whole body (and I’m not even sure about that anymore, either!). I also tried adjusting the body sliders to get rid of the skin breaking through, but to no avail.
The brutal truth is that even the Holly gown I showed you up top had some problems with certain poses in my freebie AO, where some skin would break through at the sides of the gown, a problem that the included alpha sections on the freebie eBody Classic mesh body can’t fix.
Perhaps the paid-for eBody version (with the full complement of smaller alpha sections) would fix the problem, but I don’t think that even that would fix such issues as I found with the Hilly Haalan minidress above. I am discovering to my dismay that many “eBody” versions of garments simply don’t work as advertised, particularly for the freebie version (here’s their HUD showing you the alpha sections; the top part is all greyed out and cannot be used):
(Note: I do have an alt with a paid-for version of the eBody Classic avatar, and I might just go back and try all these dresses from The Free Dove on again with that body, to see if they work out any better.)
UPDATE Jan. 11th, 2020: I tested the Hilly Haalan minidress I mentioned above on my paid-for full version of the eBody Classic mesh body, and it fits perfectly, without any issues! So something is up with the latest freebie version.
The best I could come up with was this outfit, consisting of the Faythe dress by GeMyles, paired with the Lita Lolita shoes in ochre, which include the socks and allowed me to completely alpha out the feet:
There was only one other pair of free shoes I found at The Free Dove that I could wear with this mesh body, the Paper Sparrow Alice heels which also came with socks (worn here with a free red minidress from eBody, which I had picked up in December as an Advent gift at the eBento event):
Here’s a better look at them in a place that’s not all black-on-black:
So, after over an hour on unpacking and trying on garments and tossing them aside in frustration, I found exactly two mesh dresses and two pair of shoes that I could wear with the freebie eBody Classic mesh body (and one of those dresses was already in my inventory). Every other dress specifically designed for eBody that I picked up at The Free Dove would not work properly with the “thick” alpha sections.
Nope, sorry, pass. Consider the freebie eBody Classsic and Curvy as demos only, not for actual wear.
However, if you are looking for a nice static (non-Bento) mesh head, I can certainly still recommend the free group gifts at Genesis Lab, especially if you are down to your last Linden dollar!
The only thing that the following three outfits have in common is that they are black, they are elegant, and they are free! Each is a free group gift, with a free group join.
First we have a lovely Lia black chemise with matching black pants, a free group gift from Clef de Peau. Perfect for the SL ladies who lunch! Simply join the Clef de Peau group for free, and click on the gift box on the ground at this SLURL:
The Lia outfit comes with a HUD to change the arm and leg cuffs to one of several different colours, including black (as I did with the pants this avatar is wearing in the picture above, to make them all one colour).
This is the beautiful Pelaides full-length ballgown; with materials enabled, it truly shimmers! Here I paired it with a white fur stole from Glitzz (one of their group gifts, the Glitzz group currently costs L$250 to join):
You can pick this up for free from the JR Wolf Creations store, just click the panel to join the group for free! The gown comes with a HUD with six different ombre tones, as shown, and let me tell you, it’s simply stunning (these still pictures simply do not do it justice!):
But I think I left the best for last! Here Vanity Fair models the sexy little black Kali dress, simple but elegant, perfectly paired with some chunky costume jewelry from JUMO (the Olivia earrings and necklace, a previous Advent gift):
(As an aside, the champagne glass with the Bento hand pose is my new favourite party prop! I bought it as part of the Celebration Champagne set, which includes two of these poses as well as champagne bottles and buckets, at Hive for only L$250. I just love it!)
The Kali dress is one of many free gifts you can pick up at the Apple Blossom & Seeds store, just click the black panel to join their group for free, and scoop up many lovely items of women’s clothing! Here’s the exact SLURL to find the group gifts wall, and the red arrow points to the Kali dress that Vanity Fair is wearing: