Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Holidays in Second Life

Christmas Holidays in Second Life

This will be my first Christmas in SL and, with decorations given to me by a friend, my home at Cherry Tree has taken on a holiday look. A four meter high tree with a silver star atop it, greets visitors in the foyer and a cheery red brick fireplace with stockings hung, awaiting a visit from Santa, graces the living room. Having been just below the prim limit, I had to move a few items back into inventory in order to set out the decorations, much as one would do some rearranging in their RL homes to accommodate the season’s decor. Stepping back and focusing my camera on the decorations, I felt satisfied with what I’d accomplished tonight. I glanced at the computer clock and saw the hours had crept by while I decorated and it was near midnight now.

"With the house done, now’s the time for some relaxation," I thought, "maybe some dancing." Opening my friends list, I scanned it quickly and was surprised that none were on line. "How odd?" I thought and then I thought that, perhaps, SL is acting up once again. Aha! I can check calling cards in my inventory, and was about to, when a TP request appeared in the top right corner of my screen. I glanced up and when I saw the name, I gasped. The sound was loud enough that my cat looked up from her nap to glare at me for waking her. "It’s not possible, there’s no way," I thought, "she’d left SL months ago and had closed her account. How could she possibly send me a TP request?" Leaning back in my chair, I stared at the screen, in shock.

“Hello Nazz *smiles* I had thought you’d have wanted to see me again,” she said in her IM. I leaned forward and was about to reply when the next IM arrived. “I haven’t much time and we need to talk,” she said. “Where are you? How did you get in? And, yes, I do want to see you again...I’ve missed you, Cassie,” I typed in my reply. “Then accept the TP request, silly. I’ll tell you all I can when you get here,” she said, laughing. I still couldn’t believe it was her, oh my God, Cassie is back, and my lips curled into a broad smile as I accepted the TP and arrived shortly after the whoosh.

She appeared on the screen, standing in front of me, her lithe figure clad elegantly in a red dress, sleeveless, with a thin ribbon of a strap across her neck. Her blond hair was pulled back and up, the ends tied off with a ribbon that matched her dress. She wore a gold rectangular locket around her neck, the one she wore all the time while in SL, and her diamond earrings sparkled. “Hello Nazz *smiles softly*,” she said as the site finished rezzing into my view. Still wearing the broad smile, I said, “Cassie, you’re looking every bit as lovely as I remember. I am still in complete shock though. How on earth did you get back into SL? Why did you come back?” Glancing around, I realized we were at her SL home and it was completely decorated for the season. I was baffled by the events and in being at her home, which had been an empty lot when I last saw it. I waited for her reply.

“Why, Nazz, it’s Christmas, it’s the season for miracles, *smiles softly* I see you’ve changed your appearance. I like you in that pony tail and…OMG, is that an earring I see sparkling? Very handsome, Nazz *very hot she thinks, OMG! He’s come a long way*,” Cassie said. “I’ve been reading your Lane’s List. I like it a lot. How did you come up with that idea?” she asked. I told her that, while the idea for the premise was mine, a special someone had given me a suggestion for the name. “Well it does have a certain cachet,” she smiled and continued, “aww...a special someone, how sweet *smiles*...I’m so happy to hear that Nazz.”

I had a strange sensation now, seeing her here and a thought crossed my mind. “Cassie, this isn’t like an SL version of ‘A Christmas Carol’, is it? You’re not going to take me around and show me my past are you?” I asked. Laughing, she replied: “No, sweetie, it’s not. I know you’ve been a good boy, other than that little episode shortly after I left SL. It’s just that I’d been thinking of you a lot lately. This’ll be your first Christmas in SL. The holiday in SL was always very special for me and I wanted to share some time with you, and show you some of my favorite holiday places to visit.” I smiled in relief and replied: “I know it was for you, Cassie, I can remember sitting at your house and listening to the stories of your adventures and the people you’d shared the season’s joy with.” Before she could reply, I continued: “but you still haven’t told me how you got back in. Your account is cancelled and you don’t even show in a "people search" any longer. I think of you often, Cassie, I have a picture on my desk, the last one we took. I look at it often, thinking of my SL Mentor.” It took a few minutes before she replied: “aww...that is so sweet of you, Nazz, *smiles softly*. As for how I got here, let’s just say that there are a few things that the Lindens know nothing about and leave it at that, sweetie.”

“Are you ready to go Nazz?” she asked. I told her I was and that she could TP me when she arrived. Cassie poofed and I leaned back in my chair to wait, happy and eager to share another adventure with her.

Candy Cane Lane - West Bernham 218, 165, 502

Upon arrival at the TP point, the visitor is immediately greeted by the decor as signs of the season. Just behind the arrival point is the Christmas tree lot with quite the selection of already decorated trees. A notice placard indicates that this is the fourth Christmas for Candy Cane Lane. It started out as a store in 2004 and evolved to its current state, now residing in a skybox built above the West Bernham Sim. A short stroll takes you to a central plaza with an ice skating rink. Ice skates are available for purchase and immediate use. The plaza is surrounded by shops, all with holiday themed goods. Candy canes decorate the paths along with snowmen, elves and Santas. This was the most heavily trafficked site visited

Betty`s Shopping Land Christmas Market - Caracoli 120, 58, 0

There is a very nicely done skating rink with a couple’s skating animation near the arrival point at Betty’s. Ice skates are for sale nearby, in the event you arrive without. There is a tree lot with a good selection of trees. Also, one can obtain free trees, wintry themed evergreens, and I take copies for a friend who is doing some decorating at her place. I find an igloo with couple’s poses that add a touch of romance to an evening of skating and shopping. Visitors are welcome to ride a Christmas Carousel and, of course, browse through the stores for gifts and decorations, with a decent selection of seasonal themed goods.

IMAGINE! - Winter Wonderland with Christmas Fair & lots of snow - Bruda Plateau 207, 13, 51

An underlying theme here seems to be romance as there is a delightful couple's “walk stroll” animation that can be used to tour the site. An ice skating rink also has a couple’s skate animation and, nearby, I find mistletoe hung from an arch with kissing poses underneath. The ice rink has skating snowmen and the couple spins through and around them. A short distance from the Gingerbread House, I find a place to visit with Santa. Feeling a bit too old to sit on his lap, I do take a present from his sack, a gingerbread cookie, which happens to be a RL favorite. There are a few commercial storefronts with seasonal themed items for the shopper.

A Touch of Ireland @ Cork Ireland CHRISTMAS SHOP - Cork 142, 167, 29

Nestled into a corner of the Sim, one is required to find the Christmas and holiday decor by following the signs at the arrival point, a minor irritation, but one no less. Once there, I find a tastefully decorated wintry and holiday scene with snowmen, candy canes and ice sculptures. A few decorated trees are for sale, but not nearly the selection as at other sites. The commercial aspect is limited, only one store with a limited number of seasonal themed goods for sale.

Kill Tower Park Winter Christmas Ice Skating Ski Rides and Amusement - Killtower 129, 88, 66

A crèche greets the visitor on arrival, the first I’ve seen in SL. This is an obvious commercial site but, if one is shopping, a worthwhile stop, as there are a few diversions such as a Christmas Carousel, ice skating and a visit into the Gingerbread House.

Bill Havercamp's Christmas Village - Sunset Beach 228, 76, 23

The village is a winter wonderland, the decor amongst the best I’ve seen. There is an ice skating rink, a Santa, snowmen, carolers and a Gingerbread House. I also found an igloo with a sled-riding snowman that is amusing to watch. Visitors can also take a train ride around the skating rink. There are also storefronts with gifts and decorations for the season.

Christmas Village - Japan 183, 225, 22

Another winter wonderland, smaller in scope than the previous site, but done effectively. I found the village with snow-covered houses a nice scene upon arrival. That and the snowmen, candy canes, carolers and a fair number of SL’ers are present when I arrive. There is, however, only a limited selection of seasonal themed items available to shoppers.

Christmas Wonderland - Deck 202, 60, 21

It may be that, because I live in the northern half of the US, I have expectations of snow and winter for the holidays, but I set those expectations aside as I tour this site. What I find certainly is a wonderland with a multitude of amusement rides. I find two carousels, two merry-go-rounds, balloon rides, a mission to Mars ride, something called "the claw", a pirate ship and another called "sunflower" at this site. There are Christmas trees, ice sculptures, a Santa lap-sit and present/gift bag at the site, along with an ice rink for skating. A nicely decorated Christmas cottage is available for romance with couple’s pose balls. The site has some commerce, I find a few storefronts with a selection of holiday items for the shopper.

Christmas Wishes - Drumm 56, 224, 0

Once again, I find myself back at a wintry and holiday themed site. There is ice skating here and it is the only one of a few places where I find free skates. Decorated trees are for sale, along with seasonal textures.

Christmas Market - Publishing Island 220, 149, 54

The Christmas Market is a delight to the eyes with the holiday theme very prevalent throughout. The village has snow-covered houses and candy canes decorate the paths as one wanders through the site. Snowmen abound, as do carolers and other characters from many of our favorite Christmas stories. I also find two carousels that visitors can ride. There are a fair number of commercial fronts for the shopper, with seasonal themed items available.

Christmas Market - Christkindles Markt - Krypto 28, 188, 421

A smaller site, but tastefully decorated for the season. An ice rink with skates for sale near storefronts that offer seasonal gift items.

A.K. "3D" Christmas Store - Trees you can Decorate - Toko 178, 128, 26

An amazing selection of decorations for the Christmas trees on sale here, one can purchase ornaments, lights and tree toppers for the do-it-yourself crowd to decorate for the holidays.

We’d completed our tour and arrived back at Cassie's house. Sitting on the couch, we talked about life, real and second, seemingly for hours. The virtual sun had begun to rise when she stood up. “I only have a few more minutes and I need one of your hugs, Nazz,” she said, smiling. I typed in the command ‘/hug Cassie’ and we were soon in a warm embrace. “*her eyes misting, she whispers softly* "Merry Christmas, Nazz" *gently kisses his cheek*” Cassie said as we embraced. “Merry Christmas, Cassie,” I told her, thankful that I could type it and not speak it as I was feeling a little choked up. “You know I’m never far from you, Nazz. We might not see each other, but I’ll always be with you,” she said as I handed her a tissue. “I know Cassie...I know,” I replied. “*blows him a kiss as she poofs* love you, Nazz,” she said and suddenly disappeared from my screen.

As I leaned back in my office chair, the screen lit up with multiple IMs from that special someone asking where I was and why I wasn’t answering. Looking at my screen, I saw that, somehow, I’d returned back to my SL home. A quick check of my friends list showed that it was working again. When I glanced at the clock on the PC and it read 12:25 AM, I was shocked. "That can’t be right," I thought. All the time I spent with Cassie, the places we visited, it seemingly took hours. I opened the IM window and typed in an apology, explaining that I must have been dozing off. She replied with a smile telling me it was okay and asked if I wanted to pop over. I told her I did and asked for a few minutes before she sent a TP.

In the corner of my screen where my Christmas tree stood, I noticed a sparkle that hadn’t been there before and zoomed in on it. The star on top was different, it was gold. I smiled, realizing that it was the one that had been on Cassie’s tree. It is, indeed, the season for miracles...

Merry Christmas Everyone!

No comments: