December 2021 has arrived, and with it comes the public opening of the Calas Galadhon winter / Christmas regions, put together by Tymus Tenk and Truck Meredith, ably assisted by the Calas team.
There are many things that make the end of the year special: the holidays, celebrations, snow and more – all of which are to be found in Second Life. However, what is unique to SL, and looked forward to every year, are the Calas Christmas regions. A highlight of the season every year, for 2021, the Calas Christmas setting once again returns to a 2-region layout, and as always both are beautifully decorated for visitors, with lots to see and do, be it wandering, riding, skating, cuddling, photography, or just getting into the end-of-year spirit.
The theme for this year is A Christmas Wish, and after the last couple of years in the physical world, we’re probably all already wishing for a brighter and more open 2022. In this, the Calas regions get us off to a good start; from the landing point, it’s a short walk to the Arctic Express – a familiar motif for the regions over the years – and thence along the train tracks to where a white stag stands waiting in the train tunnel. However, before anyone can reach the stag, they are teleported to the regions proper.
From here, signposts point the way to the main pavilion, the path itself fairly direct as it winds through snow-laden trees and around the edge of the frozen lake. But while it may be direct, it is not the only route to locations awaiting discovery with in regions, so wandering and exploring is strongly recommended.
The Pavilion overlooks the traditional skating lake, and provides within it opportunities for dancing and getting into the Christmas spirit by a roaring fire. Close by is the balloon tour gazebo, whilst a little further away is a pavilion set out for fine dining. Meanwhile, across the ice, a smaller pavilion awaits dancers who would like a smaller, more intimate dance area.
The balloon ride offer a skyborne tour of the regions, and it is joined at the ground level by the traditional sleigh rides through the region – these can be found close to the arrival point at the start of the pavilion trail. Also awaiting discovery within the region are a number of romantic spots, indoors and out, such as the cabins among the trees. These can be found via exploration or by grabbing a note card from the giver just inside the entrance to the main pavilion and which contains local LMs.
Prior to the public opening, Ty confessed to me he tends to drive himself to have the Calas team “outdo” the previous year’s build, which is getting harder and harder to achieve. My response to this is that, really, I don’t think it is necessary; all of the Calas Christmas designs have been richly engaging down the years, and sometimes a sense of less is more is better than trying to pile things on.
For 2021, A Christmas Wish offers an also perfect balance between offering a richness of Christmas cheer and a relaxed openness of winter settings and walks – some with touches of Ty’s and Truck’s usual humour. There are also numerous poses awaiting discovery that further enhance the opportunities for photography that also make it well worth while taking a wander, rather than just heading for the pavilion and the skating. Finally, there is a also a nice use of off-region elements to the setting that allow for a dense of depth without throwing up huge amounts of off-region landscape to distract the eyes.
Entertainment will, as always, be presented at the Pavilion, with additional entertainment also available via the main Calas regions; for dates and times, refer to the Calas Galadhon blog in the coming days.
The Calas Christmas regions are always a popular destination, and avatars can place the heaviest load on the viewer, consider keeping your avatar dressed accordingly, use Bakes on Mesh, and avoid outfits that utilise multiple high-res unique textures. Also, to assist the simulators, do lighten your script load..
Also, keep in mind that because the regions are popular, you may want to make adjustment to your viewer to help with processing: reduce the maximum number of fully-rendered avatars, perhaps turn off shadow rendering, if used (other than for photography), drop your draw distance, etc.
But above all, enjoy your visit!
Note that Sincere Estates is rated Moderate.