The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (2022)

Update: This list has been updated for 2021.

Holiday-themed video games are not nearly as common as holiday-themed TV shows or movies, but if you want to get into the Christmas spirit with a game or two before Santa Claus visits, there are options out there. Here is a selection of some recent releases and old favorites.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Like some of the best Christmas movies, Miles Morales isn’t actually about Christmas, but it does take place during the holiday season. This Spider-Man adventure’s earliest moments highlight a heartwarming Christmas dinner before letting you loose to swing around a snowy, well-decorated New York City.

The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (1)

Cave Story’s Secret Santa

Available for free (at least for a limited time), Cave Story’s Secret Santa takes all the trappings of Cave Story, a longtime indie game favorite, and wraps it in some nice, new, Christmas paper.

This is a puzzle- and stealth-focused game in which you need to play the role usually filled by Santa Claus. Your character has recovered stolen presents, so now it’s your job to sneak into houses and put them back without getting caught by their sleeping residents.

It’s only on PC, but you can grab it on Steam, GOG or the Epic Games Store.

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Cthulhu Saves Christmas

An old-school roleplaying game (in the vein of the Super Nintendo-era Final Fantasy games you might have grown up playing) with its tongue firmly in cheek, Cthulhu Saves Christmas is a holiday-themed sequel to Cthulhu Saves the World. It’s self-aware and sometimes breaks the fourth wall, and it’s worth checking out if you want some very lighthearted Lovecraftian touches sprinkled into your holiday. It’s a short, enjoyable adventure that can make you feel nostalgic for both old video games and Christmas morning as a child.

It’s available now for a very affordable $10 (cheaper when on sale) on PC and Nintendo Switch, and it’s coming soon to PlayStation 5.

Fortnite’s Winterfest

As has become tradition, Fortnite is celebrating the holidays with some festive skins, items, and some Christmas-y touches on the map.

As of this writing the event hasn’t started yet for 2021, but it is more or less confirmed to begin on Dec. 16 and end on Jan. 6. According to people known for leaking information, we can expect a character named Sgt. Winter to be driving around the map throwing both good and bad presents for players to collect. There should also be a share of longer lasting presents for players in the form of free skins and emotes.

Super Mario Odyssey’s Snow Kingdom

The latest (and greatest) Super Mario game is packed with diverse locales to explore, including sunny beaches and hot deserts. But one of its worlds, the Snow Kingdom, is decked with Christmas flair.

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Well, OK, mostly you can just hear sleigh bells in the distance and some enemies wear Santa hats, but it's the little things that make the holidays cheerful.

The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (2)

Dead Rising 4

While running over zombies with an electrified go-kart is fun all year round, Dead Rising 4 shines with its Christmas setting, which adds candy cane crossbows, explosive Santa traps and plenty more holiday weaponry to keep your slay bells ringing (see what I did there? Like, slaying zombies. Because of the classic so--you know what, nevermind). The game's zombie outbreak begins on Black Friday, but thankfully, most of the action takes place in a mall and its surrounding stores, which means you have a wide variety (and high supply) of items with which to creatively kill the undead.

Originally an Xbox One exclusive, PS4 owners can experience the Christmas-themed mayhem for the first time this year, alongside a bunch of additional downloadable content that has been released for the game.

Christmas NiGHTS

An old favorite of mine, Christmas NiGHTS was a special version of the Sega Saturn classic NiGHTS: Into Dreams that people could get free through various means (with gaming magazines, mostly). If played during December, the game’s environments would be decorated with snow, lights and presents, and an instrumental version of Jingle Bells replaced the original music. Don’t have a Sega Saturn handy? The recently released NiGHTS HD (available on 360, PS3 and PC) features Christmas NiGHTS as an unlockable.

The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (3)

Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice

Costume Quest is by far one of my favorite games to play during Halloween, and its Grubbins on Ice downloadable content extends to festivities into Winter. Like the main game, it’s extremely charming and fun for the whole family.

The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (4)

Batman: Arkham Origins

Like Die Hard, a movie that takes place during Christmas and is thus listed as a great “Christmas movie,” this Batman game doesn’t deal with the birth of Jesus or the importance of giving gifts to others ... But it does take place on Christmas Eve. The snow-covered Gotham setting is actually one of the first things that struck me about the game, and I like it a lot -- even though it has a relatively minor impact on the overall experience. The game itself is the weakest entry in the “Arkham” series, but it still has a lot going for it and is one of the better comic book video games out there.

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Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa

Part Metal Gear Solid parody, part stealthy Christmas adventure, Merry Gear Solid is a fun, free way to spend a little time laughing at dumb video game jokes and sneaking past kids on the naughty list. It and its sequel can be downloaded directly from the creator’s website.

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The Escapists: Santa’s Sweatshop and Santa’s Shakedown

Despite its retro, almost "cute" aesthetic, The Escapists is a pretty brutal game about surviving and escaping prison. Santa's Sweatshop is a free add-on to that game in which you play as an elf. Much of the moment-to-moment action is the same, but with a lot of festive flair.

The 2017 sequel, The Escapists 2, also has some free Christmas DLC available: Santa's Shakedown.

Saints Row IV: How The Saints Saved Christmas

Saints Row's Christmas-themed DLC is brilliant through and through -- brilliant idea, brilliant execution. It takes the ridiculous, over-the-top world of Saints Row IV and tells a cheesy Christmas special within it. It parodies a lot of your old favorites -- A Christmas Story being a particularly popular target of references -- and had me laughing out loud more than once. Yes, it's extremely vulgar, which is why it's only for the adult players out there, but those adults will have a lot to love. Just don't shoot your eye out.

The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (7)

Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage

Let's just say, hypothetically speaking, that Santa was under a lot of stress. And let's just say that one day he finally cracked, got very drunk and slaughtered all the elves and reindeer, leaving a very bloody mess behind. Someone would probably have to clean all that up, and that someone is you. Merry Christmas! There's not a lot to it, but for its asking price of $2.50 there's some gruesome holiday "cheer" to enjoy here.

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The best holiday-themed video games to play this Christmas (8)

Bayonetta 2

There’s not much that’s family friendly about this high-octane action game starring a kick-butt woman that spends her day shooting at both angels and demons, but it does take place during Christmas and opens with a lot of snow, presents, and a hard-boiled Santa Claus, so... there’s that.

Duke: Nuclear Winter

This official winter-themed expansion pack to Duke Nukem 3D was largely blasted by fans of the original, but it's worth a mention here because of Duke's connection to the D-FW area (the series was made here). Snow-covered levels and pigs with Santa hats weren't enough to make this one stick in the public consciousness for long, but hey -- it's worth remembering that they tried.

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Seasonal Events

These games aren’t normally holiday-themed, but they get into the Christmas spirit in the month of December.

Fortnite, Destiny, Overwatch and other multiplayer games tend to have big events at the end of the year where their maps get snowy and their loot drops get Christmas-y. We’ll update this story as some of those dates get announced.

All those mobile game updates

Yes, I know I’m cheating a bit on this one, but the fact of the matter is that there are way too many holiday updates to mobile games (especially free-to-play games) to cover them all in-depth -- especially when most of the updates do little other than put a Santa hat on their icon. Still, if you have a favorite mobile game, check to see if it has an update!

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Some other festive games:

-- Google usually has a cool page called Santa’s Village, connected to their Santa Tracker, full of simple online games to keep you busy.

-- The retro-inspired 2D action game Azure Striker Gunvolt, on the Nintendo Switch and 3DS, has a Christmas mode that can only be played on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

FAQs

What is a good Christmas game to play? ›

30 MORE Christmas Party Games for Families
  • Snowman Bingo. Snowman Ball Toss. ...
  • Snowman Ball Sorting Game. Jingle Bell Drop. ...
  • Christmas Jeopardy. Pin the Heart on the Grinch. ...
  • Christmas Smell Guessing Game. Plastic Wrap Ball Game. ...
  • The Gift Exchange Game. Christmas Song Pictionary. ...
  • Christmas Charades Game. Reindeer Antler Game.

Is there a Christmas video game? ›

'Cthulhu Saves Christmas'

It's available now for a very affordable $10 (cheaper when on sale) on PC and Nintendo Switch, and it's coming soon to PlayStation 5.

What games are coming out around Christmas? ›

Upcoming games in December 2022
  • Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose - Cloud Version – December 2 (Switch)
  • The Callisto Protocol - December 2 (PS5, XSX|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Marvel's Midnight Suns - December 2 (PS5, XSX|S, PC)
  • Dragon Quest Treasures – December 9 (Switch)
  • High on Life - December 13 (XSX|S, PC)
4 Oct 2022

Is Parasite Eve a Christmas game? ›

Of course, Parasite Eve is a Christmas game. The game begins at an opera at Carnegie Hall on Christmas Eve. During the opera, everyone in the theater bursts into flames except for a rookie cop named Aya Brea and an actress on stage named Melissa. Aya pursues Melissa as she turns into a monster and flees to the sewers.

How do I make Christmas fun for adults? ›

Fun Christmas Activities For Adults
  1. Make Spiked Hot Cider/Hot Cocoa. Warm up this holiday season with a festive cocktail that will put you in the Christmas spirit. ...
  2. Set Up a Christmas Photo Booth. ...
  3. Host Your Own Paint And Sip. ...
  4. Enjoy A Drive-In Movie. ...
  5. Host an Eggnog Tasting.
23 Dec 2021

How do you play the Christmas present game? ›

Everyone brings a wrapped gift and gets a number. The first person chooses a gift and unwraps it, the second person can steal that gift or choose another, and so on. I don't even have to write out exact details because you all know. It's the same game everyone plays at their holiday party every year.

How do you play the reindeer game? ›

Give each player a pencil and a piece of paper with the word "reindeer" written across the top. Set a timer for three minutes and challenge players to write down as many words as they can from the letters that make up the word “reindeer.” When time is up, the player with the most words wins.

How do you play holiday bingo? ›

How to play Bingo: the Christmas version! - YouTube

What is the #1 game in 2022? ›

Elden Ring

What is the most popular game in 2022? ›

If we look at the recent trends, a substantial number of online games are available on different platforms like Android, iOS, Windows Phone OS, Symbian, and gaming consoles.
...
5. Call of Duty Mobile
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
  • Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • Call of Duty WW2.
31 May 2022

What games are coming out Holiday 2022? ›

December 2022 video game releases
  • Gundam Evolution [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO] – December 1.
  • Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered [PC. ...
  • The Callisto Protocol [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO] – December 2.
  • Marvel's Midnight Suns [PC, PS5, XSX] – December 2.
  • Need For Speed Unbound [PC, PS5, XSX] – December 2.
19 Oct 2022

Where can I play Parasite Eve? ›

Parasite Eve Remastered is a Survival Horror RPG developed by Square Enix and Published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PS4 and PS5.

Is Project Eve on PS4? ›

The futuristic title will be exclusive to PS5 on consoles.

What is Parasite Eve game about? ›

Parasite Eve

How do adults make Christmas magical? ›

How to make Christmas as magical as when you were a child
  1. Follow a Santa tracker.
  2. Post a letter to Santa.
  3. Visit a Santa's grotto.
  4. Go to a carol service.
  5. Buy more than one piece of xmas clothing.
  6. Do a mini nativity with all your friends.
  7. Leave a mince pie out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
  8. Do stockings for your family…
20 Dec 2016

How do you make Christmas feel like Christmas adult? ›

Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.
  1. Make some hot chocolate or eggnog. ...
  2. Throw a holiday party. ...
  3. Watch a Christmas movie. ...
  4. Read some Christmas classics. ...
  5. Look at Christmas lights. ...
  6. Put up a tree. ...
  7. Plan a romantic holiday-themed date.
25 Sept 2021

What is the trend for Christmas 2022? ›

Christmas decoration trends 2022

Dark blue and black add a graceful depth to the theme, which is enhanced by gold and white accents. Traditional Christmas motifs round out the festive mood. Classic Christmas shines in fresh and bold colors.

How do you throw a fun holiday party? ›

Top 10 Tips for Hosting The Ultimate Holiday Party
  1. Plan Your Menu. Everyone will appreciate a varied menu that appeals to guests with diverse palates and preferences. ...
  2. Pick a Color Scheme. ...
  3. Make Menu Cards. ...
  4. Create a Signature Cocktail. ...
  5. Set The Mood. ...
  6. Have Awesome Music. ...
  7. Make Some, Assemble Some. ...
  8. Make Something Cute.

How do you play steal the gift? ›

The first person opens a wrapped gift, and the turn ends. On subsequent turns, each person has the choice to either unwrap a new present or to steal another's. When a person's gift is stolen, that person can either choose another wrapped gift to open or can steal from another player.

How do you play the Christmas steal game? ›

Player 1 picks a present and opens it. Player 2 decides first whether to steal Player 1's present, or open a new present, and then does so. (Pro tip: Ensure players declare this loudly before they touch a single present.) If your present gets stolen, you may either steal from another player, or open a new present.

How do you play the elephant Christmas game? ›

The White Elephant Game Rules

Sit in a circle and place the gifts in the center, preferably under a festive tree. The person who drew #1 selects a gift from the pile, opens it, and holds it up for all to see. The person who drew #2 decides whether to steal that gift or unwrap a mystery present from the pile.

What can you do on Christmas Day at home? ›

Something Relaxing
  • Watch your favorite Christmas movie(s). Choose your family favorite, or check this list for something you haven't seen.
  • Give yourself an at-home facial. ...
  • Go walking in a winter wonderland. ...
  • Drive around to look at Christmas decorations. ...
  • Light a fire. ...
  • Take a hot bath. ...
  • Give yourself a festive manicure.
18 Dec 2021

How do you entertain a Christmas party? ›

Icebreaker games are fun and can lighten the mood so everyone feels comfortable at the start of your party.
  1. White Elephant. ...
  2. Christmas Charades. ...
  3. Christmas Carol Pictionary Relay. ...
  4. Christmas Carol Bingo. ...
  5. Stocking Guessing Game. ...
  6. Name that Christmas Song. ...
  7. Christmas Movie Trivia. ...
  8. Christmas Mad Libs.
14 Dec 2021

How do you play the reindeer game? ›

Give each player a pencil and a piece of paper with the word "reindeer" written across the top. Set a timer for three minutes and challenge players to write down as many words as they can from the letters that make up the word “reindeer.” When time is up, the player with the most words wins.

What am I who am I game? ›

Who Am I? is a guessing game where players use yes or no questions to guess the identity of a famous person or animal. Questions are based upon the characteristics of a person or animal everyone will be able to identify.

What is the marshmallow stack game? ›

Place a paper plate in the middle of the table. Everyone takes turns placing one marshmallow at a time on the paper plate to create a marshmallow mountain. Continue playing until one or more marshmallows roll off the plate. The player who causes the marshmallow avalanche loses.

How do you play holiday bingo? ›

How to play Bingo: the Christmas version! - YouTube

How do adults make Christmas magical? ›

How to make Christmas as magical as when you were a child
  1. Follow a Santa tracker.
  2. Post a letter to Santa.
  3. Visit a Santa's grotto.
  4. Go to a carol service.
  5. Buy more than one piece of xmas clothing.
  6. Do a mini nativity with all your friends.
  7. Leave a mince pie out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
  8. Do stockings for your family…
Dec 20, 2016

What do do on Christmas morning? ›

(1) Use last year's Christmas cards to make puzzles for your children. (2) Make a wreath using torn paper. (3) Decorate cookies together as a family. (4) Watch an old Christmas movie (It's a Wonderful Life & White Christmas are my favorites… the kids like them, too.)

How do you throw a fun holiday party? ›

Top 10 Tips for Hosting The Ultimate Holiday Party
  1. Plan Your Menu. Everyone will appreciate a varied menu that appeals to guests with diverse palates and preferences. ...
  2. Pick a Color Scheme. ...
  3. Make Menu Cards. ...
  4. Create a Signature Cocktail. ...
  5. Set The Mood. ...
  6. Have Awesome Music. ...
  7. Make Some, Assemble Some. ...
  8. Make Something Cute.

What is the Candy Cane game? ›

When you say go, everyone must start twirling the candy cane on one finger. As soon as someone either drops the candy cane or it stops spinning, they're out. Keep going until you everyone is out other than one person. That person wins the point for their team!

Is Rudolph a girl or a boy? ›

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer is actually female, scientists have said. Edinburgh University professors Gerald Lincoln and David Baird say Rudolph cannot be a male because female reindeer still have antlers at Christmas. Males shed theirs before mid-December.

Who is the oldest of Santa's reindeer? ›

Dasher is the eldest of Santa's reindeer, respected by all the other reindeer and is the leader of the reindeer pack.

Videos

1. Wham! - Last Christmas (Official Video)
(Wham!)
2. Bruce Springsteen - Waitin' On A Sunny Day (Official Video)
(Bruce Springsteen)
3. This Is Halloween (From Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas")
(DisneyMusicVEVO)
4. 6 Christmas Games For Your Next Holiday Themed Party! (Minute to Win It Game Ideas)
(Outscord)
5. Fugees - Ready or Not (Official Video)
(Fugees)
6. Ariana Grande - Santa Tell Me (Official Video)
(Ariana Grande)

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