Sunday 24 December 2023

A Merry Surprise

I found it hard to believe that there wasn't going to be some sort of official Christmas party for the whole community to join in with but I had been starting to wonder when we managed to reach the day before Christmas Eve and there was still nothing announced.

Then, finally. we got an announcement that afternoon that the party would be held that very evening. Talk about last minute! I suppose that's why it was called the "Merry Christmas Surprise Party", although, As I've already alluded to, the only real surprise was how late they left it to spring the "surprise".

And, presumably as a consequence of that, it wasn't as well attended as previous mega events. Still a very healthy attendance, which created a nice festive atmosphere, but there was actually room to move for once.

That said, lots of friendly faces were missing. That's the risk you run when you leave an announcement so late though. With only a few hours notice, many folk will already have made plans, especially at this time of the year when everyone has so many things that they need to cram in over the festive period.

Regardless, I still got to hang out with a few friends and had the chance to meet a few new people that I follow on Twitter (still not calling it X) but have new previously had the opportunity to meet in person. Annoyingly, I forgot to get selfies with any of them which was a big faux pas on my part.

There were also a few other random people that tried to talk to me while I was a bit overwhelmed trying to talk to multiple people at once. I'm not one of those people that can talk to like a dozen people at the same time. I have to focus on just a few people at the same time. So apologies to anyone that I couldn't engage with due to already being spread too thin.

Sadly, no sign of community celebs Gizmo or Lisa this time. At least not during the 3 or 4 hours that I was there for. It probably goes without saying that our elusive Community Manager was also a no show but I suppose that is about par for the course at this point. But, like the Murphy's, I'm not bitter...

To be fair, and I don't mean this with any disrespect to those that help put on the event, it didn't feel like there had been the usual level of organisation for this one. I mean, I'm not sure there was a designated photographer for this one which would be a first. Usually there is somewhere for guests to pose for photographs, with Santa for previous Crimbo parties.

The entertainment also seemed to be scaled back from previous parties. For instance, it looked like there were just 2 dance teams on duty this time, which must be an all-time low. Not necessarily a bad thing though. 

The event location was stunning as always though. You can't beat holding a festive party on top of a snow-covered mountain. But, despite the epic surroundings, the arena itself actually felt a bit more intimate that many of the previous ones which have tended to be a bit to expansive, leaving lots of empty areas. This one felt just right in terms of size.

Actually, my only complaint about the arena was that the organisers still refuse to listen to my yearly pleas for there to be some mistletoes for guests to snog under. Every year I say how much of a no-brainer it is but there's never any acknowledgement of that. I'm not going to hold my breathe on this changing for next year either. I can live in hold though...

As for my night out, it was a pretty uneventful evening. Upon arrival I had a little walk round to checkout all the stalls and displays. I got pictures with most of those. I was also gifted a picture by the wonderfully talented Mintie, who I have been following on Twitter recently. If you haven't checked out her posts yet, you really should.

I may also have stuffed my face with a donut , whilst I was wondering round the arena. Hopefully I didn't ruin too many pics by being covered in crumbs. I imagine there will be a few that need binning though. Once I'd circumnavigated the arena once and finished devouring my sweet treat, it was time for a drink break so I found a nice (relatively) quiet spot out the back for a little sit and drink. 

By the time I'd finished that, a few friends had started to turn up so it was time to head for a boogie on the dancefloor, which is where I spent pretty much the rest of the evening. Mostly shaking my botty with Ember, who, as you can see in my pics, must have been absolutely freezing in her outfit, or should I say lack there of. Apparently, her Christmas hat is magical and keeps her warm. Not sure I really believe that though.

On that topic though, there were lots of wonderful Crimbo outfits being worn by guests. Some of them not leaving too much more to the imagination than Ember's, while other's were a bit more family-friendly. All of them carrying a very strong red, white and green theme which created a wonderful synergy between all of the outfits regardless of how revealing they may be.

Oh, and just like last yeah, Oliver Cream was dressed as Santa Claus. Don't think it was in an official capacity this time but he still took the time to let so guests sit on his lap and ask for something nice for Christmas. 

And I think that's about it really so all I have left to say is Merry Christmas everyone!

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