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Here comes Santa Claus! Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner

Reviewed: Mermaids Christmas Ball 2014

Full disclosure: I love everything about Christmas Ball. Christmas is my favourite season and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was always one of my favourite stories growing up. So you can imagine me, giddy as an elf, skipping off to Christmas Ball on Sunday night with fairly high expectations.

I must say, they were definitely met. Possibly even exceeded.

The pre-event at the Union, hosted by the Just So Society, was laid back and sweet with holiday decorations and festive punch. When I walked in, sidestepping the fur coats hung in the hallway (like you’re going through the wardrobe! Get it?), Emma Taylor was belting out ‘Do You Wanna Build A Snowman’ from Frozen with Jack McMillan accompanying on piano. I was beginning to get that warm, fuzzy feeling that only comes from Christmas cheer (or one too many glasses of punch).

Once on the bus, a very rowdy but fun group (I suspect they’d been pre drinking a bit harder than most) began leading Christmas carols to pass the time, which really added to the mood that lasted through most of the night: excited, drunk, and full of festive cheer.

Being the hard-hitting, investigative journalist that I am, I began interviewing people almost immediately (after grabbing a glass of Cava and some Turkish Delight, of course). First up? The people waiting to get to see Santa. When asked how they felt about the queue, one excited guy said “it’s magical. It feels like my childhood.” The people in line for the bathroom, however, weren’t nearly as impressed.

Here comes Santa Claus! Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner

Here comes Santa Claus! Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner

Next up, I tried out the bars. Though it took a while to get to the front, it seemed much less congested than last year due to the presence of a third bar. Weirdly, no one seemed to know where this bar was – perhaps there was a secret entrance through a wardrobe somewhere? But the drinks were good and cheap and the bar staff were cycling through people as quickly as possible, so it worked for me.

The highlight of most people’s nights seemed to have been the grilled cheeses being sold by Fine Food and Dining. Most of those I talked to couldn’t manage to do anything but moan in a wholly inappropriate manner as they enjoyed their gourmet toasties. Word seemed to spread fast and they were kept busy all night. As those behind the counter put it, “we’re the Cinderella of grilled cheese. We’re going to be sold out by midnight and hitting the dace floor to find our prince!” Which wasn’t entirely an exaggeration. The committee was spotted tearing it up with some cool dance moves around 12:30 am.

Of course, I couldn’t help but notice how amazing everyone looked. While the ladies at these events are always stunning, it’s usually harder for the gentlemen to stand out. I found three strapping young men, though, who really nailed it. These guys had (somewhat) matching waistcoats; one printed with snowman, another with Rudolph, and the third with Father Christmas. According to the chap covered in cartoon Santa Clauses, “I feel I’m in the Christmas spirit. To be frank, tonight’s all about a cheesy overpriced Christmas waistcoat.”

Oh so Christmas!

Oh so Christmas!

After dancing for a while, I went back to the food (what can I say? Jumping around like a lunatic to amazing music is exhausting). As per usual, Jannetta’s ice cream was on point, described explicitly by one as being “incredi-fucking-bull.” When I approached two girls both enjoying some marshmallows smothered in melted chocolate, one said “the chocolate fountains were the highlight of my night.” Her friend, looking hurt, replied “I was going to say being here with my best friend was the highlight of mine…” So there you have it. The chocolate fountains were so delicious, they tore apart what I’m sure was a beautiful friendship.

'Um yeah, they're for my, er, friends'. Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner

‘Um yeah, they’re for my, er, friends’. Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner

I was looking forward to the music more than anything, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. From singing along to Black Sheep’s set list, grooving to The Correspondents, and dancing as dorkily as possible to DJ Asquire, I had a great time. From the looks of things, it seems like most everyone was as impressed as I was. I’ll let some of my new (drunk) friends explain for me: “they played Mr Brightside and I almost thought I was Mr Brightside,” one exclaimed. Not sure what he was going for, but I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. “I think my ass grew 2 feet when they played Baby Got Back,” another exclaimed. Most succinctly, one girl declared “this music is fucking awesome. I’m gonna dance until my feet bleed!” (to that girl – I hope you had some bandages in your purse!)

Sweet sweet music. Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner.

Sweet sweet music. Image credit: Jamilah Jaffer for The Sinner.

I finally got to try Turkish Delight and fulfil my childhood fantasy of going through the wardrobe to Narnia. As one girl put it, “tonight has been amazing and fabulous and I have loved every minute of it.” I completely agree.

Thank you, Mermaids, for another magical Christmas Ball.

The Sinner Six:

Atmosphere – 9

Food & Drink – 9

Music – 8.5

Value – 6

Fun factor – 9

OVERALL – 8.5

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