Want to play the best Christmas games this holiday season? As far-too-short Christmas playlists have taught us, not only is it Chriiiiiiiiiiiiissssstmaaaaassssss, but it is the most wonderful time of the year, mainly as we take a break, spend time with the family, open presents, eat copious amounts of food, and dedicate time to tackle one game in our backlogs.
There’s a whole bunch of Christmas games out there if you know where to look. From big open-world games you can play through from morning to night, short narrative-driven games to fill the spaces between mince pie feasting, or multiplayer games to play with the family, whether that be online or together on the couch.
We like to keep a theme going here at PCGamesN, so this list is about games that embrace the winter wonderland of December. From fictional end-of-year celebrations to rescuing plague-ridden cities, videogames have offered up numerous ways to experience the joy of Christmas.
Best Christmas games
From constantly evolving multiplayer games that have holiday-themed updates to games set during the festive season, these are the best Christmas games:
- GTA Online
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice
- Icewind Dale
- Hitman 3
- Overcooked 2
- Dead Rising 4
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Epic Games has continually chopped and changed its battle royale game, even throwing it into a black hole at one point, but its endurance has ensured that Winterfest is now something of a Christmas tradition. Just as it has been in years past, Epic is giving away items, including free Fortnite skins, as part of the Winterfest celebration event. Players can enter a log cabin stuffed with Fortnite Winterfest presents to open and a fire that grants free XP as you watch the embers dance across the screen.
Fortnite’s latest season proves that there’s nothing more Christmassy than triumphantly beating a few rivals with the best Fortnite weapons, or getting the jump on them with a hired Fortnite NPC you found by consulting the Fortnite map. Be warned, though: only engage in a game with your family if you are certain it won’t provoke any Christmas day spats, or at the very least make sure they learn all of the top Fortnite tips first.
Every year in GTA Online, Los Santos gets a sufficiently Christmassy update with huge decorated trees dotted around the map, daily gifts, and wintery heists. Rather than shooting at other players, you can toss snowballs and have a genuinely festive time in a game not normally known for its wholesome aspects.
The Festive Surprise event generally runs for a few weeks, and this year includes a few snowmen collectibles scattered across Los Santos. There’s also a creepy Santa-costume-wearing lurker called ‘The Gooch’. Fend off its attacks to get bonus cash and The Gooch mask. Players also have the opportunity to relive the best Christmas film of all time, Die Hard, by scaling the Weazel Plaza to take out a criminal gang to earn the Season’s Greetings skin for the Pistol Mk II.
In addition to the Festive Surprise event, GTA Online recently got the Los Santos Drug Wars expansion which adds hallucinogens to the mix as you fend off “wealthy hippies and trigger-happy bikers” to make a name for yourself. Of course, there are also prizes to be won by checking out this week’s GTA podium car.
Minecraft can be any sort of game you make it, so choosing to turn it into a winter wonderland for Christmas will really get you into the festive spirit this year. Head over to a snowy biome and create the cabin of your dreams with a cosy fireplace and maybe indulge in a real-life hot chocolate while you play.
We have even created a list of the best Minecraft Christmas has to offer from the best Minecraft seeds, the coolest Minecraft skins, and some awesome Minecraft mods to help customise your world in even more ways.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
It was a nice surprise to see this Spider-Man game on PC so soon, but the spin-off to Insomniac’s first entry to the comic book franchise is everything we could hope for in a port from a PlayStation 5 game. As the new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, this is another one of those games taking place during the holiday season but otherwise plays no further part in the story aside from set dressing. You don’t need to have played the other Spider-Man game before this standalone adventure, although it does help as Peter Parker does play a ‘remote mentor’ role throughout.
Even though Miles has different techniques from Peter – Miles’ suit generates tons of electricity – combat still manages to be as slick, if not more so, than the previous game. It’s also not quite as packed full as the original with a slightly shorter runtime, but there’s no feeling quite like the sense of joy you get by swinging through the streets of New York in the snow, with Christmas decorations and fairy lights everywhere. Make sure you can run it first, though, with our guide to the Spider-Man Miles Morales system requirements.
Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice
While Hollywood can be relied upon to produce films for every major holiday, seasonal games are a rarity. Whether that’s a symptom of their long and unpredictable production cycles or an industry shortage of Christmas spirit is a matter for another article to interrogate. But thankfully, Double Fine has done more than its part to fill the gap – first with its Halloween-themed love letter to JRPGs, Costume Quest, and soon afterwards with its DLC campaign, Grubbins on Ice.
Really, Costume Quest had almost the perfect setup for a Christmas movie in the American mould, to begin with – three kids run around town on rollerskates, solving a kidnapping by monsters that only they seem to take seriously – the adults dismissing their concerns as childhood flights of fancy. The candy-collecting conceit doesn’t make quite so much sense outside Halloween but draped in snow, Grubbins on Ice couldn’t feel much more Christmassy.
If you’re looking for a festive game with a hint of old-school Baldur’s Gate about it, then look no further. Icewind Dale is the perfect RPG game for you this Christmas, and no, it’s not just because it has ice in the title.
Of course, there’s all the slaying, dialogue traversing and RPG elements you would expect from an Infinity Engine game, but this time with little pixelated snowflakes falling gently and smoke pouring from the chimneys of snow-covered homes.
If Baldur’s Gate had even a single flaw, it’s that it did not feel particularly Christmassy with its high-fantasy world full of dungeons and castles. Icewind Dale is no less menacing, you understand, but if you are looking for an Infinity Engine RPG to play over the festive period, there is no better candidate than this.
Nothing says Christmas like dressing up in a Santa suit, sneaking into a home, tip-toeing past the tree, and throttling a security guard. That’s Hitman 3 all over – murder and looking fabulous while doing it. Last year, IO Interactive released a seasonal mission, Holiday Hoarders, so you can feel festive while being sneaky and dragging bodies.
Hitman’s Christmas levels and cosy interiors will fill you with festive cheer as you fill your targets with poison, steel, lead, and dread. There will also be a Hokkaido Snow Festival on January 3, which adds more festive fighting, this time with snowballs, to unlock a new wintery suit and the ice pick weapon.
Since we have had trouble making a simple burger as head chef at Chez Overcooked, the intimidating prospect of preparing a proper Christmas feast – with all the trimmings, of course – strikes fear into our hearts. And it threatens the fragile ceasefire after the inevitable Christmas argument.
There are two festive and free updates called Kevin’s Christmas Cracker and Winter Wonderland – each adds five festive kitchens to the cooking game, alongside some indulgent recipes (mince pies, Christmas pudding, pancakes, roast dinners, and hot chocolate), as well as new chefs: an elf and a snowman. We highly recommend the snowman doesn’t get too close to the oven though.
Dead Rising 4
Out of all of the Dead Rising games, the fourth one isn’t the greatest of the bunch, but it’s still an undead-slaying romp. Heck, it isn’t exactly set on Christmas Day, but as it’s set in a zombie-infested mall during Black Friday when everything’s all decorated ahead of the big day anyway, we think it counts.
Dead Rising 4 is still mindless, hokey fun which you’d expect from the zombie game series at this point, but now with a whole bunch of Christmas items to craft from items looted from shops. It also has an Exo Suit you can wear to smash zombie skulls with giant candy canes. If you can forgive the holiday gremlins that can occasionally mess things up, this is one festive adventure sure to bring holiday cheer.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Get ready, everyone, this one is a tear-jerker. Before the release of its sequel to Life is Strange, Dontnod put out Captain Spirit, a small spin-off adventure about Chris, a nine-year-old with a vivid and wild imagination who likes to play as his superhero alter ego Captain Spirit.
It tells the earnest story of Chris and his father, both struggling to handle the loss of Chris’s mother. Surrounded by toys and comics, Chris escapes reality and transforms into Captain Spirit, battling against the forces of the evil Mantroid.
This uplifting tale would instantly warm any Grinch’s heart. It’s a small, cinematic vignette, and it’s free to play over on Steam, so there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be on your Christmas gaming list.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
We are told outdoorsy people do exist, and some of them, presumably, use the holiday to climb an especially white mountain or trek across real desolate wastelands for whatever weird enjoyment they get out of it.
Well, Skyrim lets you do that and even puts some old men at the top of the beautiful, festively snow-capped mountain for you to find. The trees are woefully lacking in decoration, though. At this point, chances are you have already plumbed its cold depths, but have you tried the vast selection of Skyrim mods or some of the best games like Skyrim?
We would particularly recommend a suite of survival mods that make wandering more interesting and exploration more satisfying with the constant knowledge that an icy, starving death is stalking you. That is the kind of thing that makes you think of December 25 and the baby Jesus, right?