It may not be Christmas in New York but it certainly is in St Andrews, with the annual Mermaids Christmas Ball at Kinkell Byre bringing a close to large events this Semester. One of the largest and most exclusive events on the St Andrean calendar, Christmas ball is famed for long ticket queues and selling out in minutes. Hell, my first year here I joined the line at 2 am the day before and still only just managed to scrape in. Although they’ve had to move ticket sales online for health and safety reasons (people queuing at the union overnight isn’t one of the university’s favorite things) it still managed to keep this level of competitiveness, selling out in two minutes this year. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that the levels of excitement around the ball are extraordinary. Those who got a ticket certainly have bragging rights.

Getting into the actual event, the night was superb. To start guests had the customary glass of champagne, followed by a selection of chocolate fountains and ice-cream from Janettas designed to suit any sweat tooth. Being on the first bus meant that these things weren’t quite set up when I got there – they were running a tiny bit behind but, more importantly, it meant I got first dibs on the chocolate fountain. The level of decorations and effort that went into the design of the night was truly astounding – Mermaids truly did manage to make Kinkell Byre a Christmas wonderland. Sticking with the New York theme there were street signs scattered throughout the main hall, and the tables were adorned with New York post cards. The very fact there were tables was a godsend for all of us girls in heels, as standing around for 5 hours in stilettos is a pain. Standing out as something most balls don’t seem to have, probably in preference for dance space, the tables filled the tented room and there were a few scattered near the bars in the main hall. It was a really nice touch and meant that those weary from dancing could have a moment of respite throughout the night.

Christmas Ball this year really stood out for me. For one thing this ball seemed far more organized than other balls I’ve been to, in part because there didn’t seem to be a huge and annoying queue for everything at the venue. Because there weren’t any rides we didn’t have to wait in the cold, and the variety of food available meant that the queues for the vendors was shorter than I’ve previously seen. I’m not sure if there were smaller numbers than previous years but it certainly felt like the night had been cut down so as to ensure the guests who came had a good time – rather than being packed together like sardines. My only point of complaint was that the bar prices weren’t put on the walls and therefore in the queue for drinks it was difficult to ascertain if you had enough to buy booze. However, the Christmas Pablo they had created for the night was delicious, so I can’t complain about the running of the bar in the slightest.

Overall I have to say that this year’s Christmas Ball was above and beyond my expectations, and possibly the best ball I’ve ever been to. Congratulations to Mermaids and all involved for pulling it off.

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