THE YEAR OF THE VIRTUAL CHRISTMAS: Part 3

Getting Christmas-sy with the help of the virtual world

It’s the final part of our “Virtual Christmas” mini-blog series. And we’ve pulled together a list of some of our favourite Christmas virtual experiences to get us in the mood for the festive season. We’re missing the buzz you get wandering around Christmas markets, the Big Smoke’s Christmas lights.. Even visiting Santa. Have fun with our selection below, and absorb the Christmas vibe in a new and totally immersive way. And if you’re looking for VR-inspired Christmas presents, or tips to pull off the best virtual Christmas parties check out Parts 1 and 2 of our blog mini-series!

Enjoy! Ho ho ho.

Favourite Christmas spots to visit

Carnaby Christmas Light Installation Virtual Tour, London. The Street’s iconic Christmas installations come to life this year through a virtual tour. And it’s one you can do with anyone in the world through a ‘shared view’ option. They’ve partnered with charity Choose Love. Get immersed in pink neon light from lightboxes running the length of the street, each with a positive word to give a message of hope, love and unity – and to bring a Carnaby “full of smiles” at the end of this crazy year.

There’s also Visit Britain’s short 2019 video tour of London’s Christmas lights which allows viewers to admire other famous spots in the city, including Oxford Circus and the giant mistletoe at Covent Garden. A fit for VR glasses, it also comes with Christmas music to get you in that festive spirit.

Berlin’s Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace has a 360-degree tour, including a version formatted specifically for VR technology. Meaning you can immerse yourself in the middle of the festive cheer. 250 vendors selling Christmas crafts, traditional German sweets, and Gluwhein – the works!

As for Lapland, there’s a fun livestream of Santa Claus Village (aka Rovaniemi – the official hometown of Santa Claus, in Lapland, Finland). You  simply view the village’s main square in real time, which, interestingly, is crossed by the Arctic Circle. This same village produces Santa Television with a whole host of video messages from Santa himself. Some delightful, some totally mad.

Online shopping? You can do that any time of the year! But if you’re looking for that Christmas inspiration you normally get from wandering around beautiful, festive displays, take a gander at John Lewis’ Virtual Christmas Shop on Oxford Street. You can move around the shop floor, see this year’s Christmas themes come to life and choose tagged products to learn more.

And finally for stunning shopping inspo, take a look at Circus’ 3D virtual tour of the Christmas “Snow Fairy Floor” of Lush’s Liverpool anchor store. It is, quite simply, the most beautifully-curated shop floor our crew have ever come across. From the wondrous Christmas decorations to the awe-inspiring Christmas products (think Snow Fairy Bath Bombs, Gingerbread Houses stuffed with sweet Lush treats, Christmas Candy Boxes…)It’s a recent project by the award-winning team at Circus. You can almost smell those gorgeous aromas as you make your way through the imagery.

[Somerset House – picture for the blog and add credit to Circus? Tom’s blog?]

Family Fun

Below is a list of a few fun Christmas virtual experiences to enjoy with the family. 

Ride with Santa in his magic sleigh on the biggest night of his year. A 360 video experience by Samsung VR. Great fun.

Special Delivery: 360 Google Spotlight Stories (2015). A charming collaboration between Google and Aardman Studios (creators of Wallace and Gromit). It’s a 4-minute long 360 video on YouTube following Santa Claus trying to make deliveries without being caught by a rather nosy caretaker. But the most genius thing about it: users on Android devices get to move around and even unlock characters or trigger events.  Your phone is a window to a story happening all around you. And that story becomes interactive through the sensors on your phone. When you move your phone to various scenes, you unlock mini-stories within the story. You can also watch with Google Cardboard.

Tip: you’ll want to watch “Special Delivery” a few times to find all the surprises within the story. Each viewing is unique. You can encounter 10 subplots, 3 potential ways to view the ending, and 60+ moments where you can decide to follow the story in different ways. Superb!

Balloon ride with Santa. A gentle 360 video experience by Brazil’s Black Studios

Santa – The Ride and Fireworks. A 360 video featuring a Christmas rollercoaster and fireworks. Also includes a 360 split screen VR mode.

And finally, not 360 experiences but intriguing personalised experiences for the family, provided by the virtual world..

Santa Claus visit the elf house video”, by Florida Theme Parks. A firm family favourite to bring Christmas magic into your home!

Santa the experience. A paid-for interactive journey to the North Pole with an elf-guided tour. Families get to see Santa’s Mailroom, the Elf’s Bedroom, the Reindeer Stables and Santa’s Toy Factory, and, of course, to meet Santa and Mrs Claus. The team hasn’t done this one yet but looks fun in the absence of our regular Santa’s grottos..

We hope these may bring some festive cheer to your home this Christmas. 

Have a great one. And don’t forget: if you’d like to explore what Circus can do to make a truly special VR experience for you, please contact our award-winning team today.

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