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The most festive Christmas-themed video games for the holidays

This holiday period, let the world of video games entice you into festive, Christmas-themed delights.
christmas video games disney dreamlight valley

If this holiday season hasn’t quite felt the same for you, thanks to a year filled with financial and social hardship, you’re not alone. There’s definitely something in the air – and it’s not all merry. But if you’re feeling a bit bummed, don’t fret! There’s still plenty of time to bottle the holiday spirit and feel the refreshing buzz of the new year. To that end, video games could certainly help.

From wholesome exploration and friend-making in Disney Dreamlight Valley, to not-so-wholesome Christmas assassinations in Hitman, there are plenty of colourful, light-filled holiday gaming experiences that’ll help you feel the joy of the season.

Here are a few of our favourite holiday-themed video games (and video game levels) to sprinkle some joyful buzz into your life.

Christmas Town, Kingdom Hearts 2

kingdom hearts christmas video games
Image: Square Enix

Kingdom Hearts 2 has a great representation of Christmas within the Halloween Town world. As you’re progressing through the Nightmare Before Christmas storyline, you’ll eventually wind up travelling through a special door to Christmas Town, where you’ll encounter Santa Claus and various elves in the process of creating presents.

You can help this production process via the Toy Factory, and eventually work to save Christmas by taking down the evil Oogie Boogie and his minions. On completion of these tasks, you’ll gain free access to roam around a winter wonderland, dressed as a gothic Santa, and even arm yourself with a candy cane-themed Keyblade.

As one of the best worlds in the entire Kingdom Hearts series, Christmas Town is a pure joy – and should help spark those festive holiday feelings.

Yakuza Kiwami (or most Yakuza games)

yakuza kiwami christmas video game
Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Yakuza Kiwami takes place around the Christmas period, and is brimming with plenty of festive spirit. As you wander the streets of Kamurocho (a fictionalised version of Kabukicho in Shinjuku, Tokyo), you’ll be surrounded by fancy decorations on every street corner, and festive jingles in every shop. While the main plot doesn’t necessarily focus on Christmas, you’ll still be able to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the season as you play through the story and wander the streets.

Really, you can jump in with any Yakuza video game to feel the same holiday joy – most entries in the franchise take place in December, and feature plenty of fun lights, wreaths, and Christmas trees in your nearby surrounds. If you wind up playing Yakuza 5 this holiday season, you’ll also be able to take on a mission wherein you dress up as Santa Claus and beat up some predatory ‘santa hunter’ thugs. There’s nothing that screams Christmas more than that!

Overwatch 2

overwatch 2 activision blizzard
Image: Activision Blizzard

Yes, Overwatch 2 is a Christmas video game. Between rounds of running and gunning, you can spend the holiday period earning special Christmas-themed skins for your favourite characters, and exploring fresh new game modes. You may even have Christmas skins from prior years in the original Overwatch, which should all have transferred to the upgraded version of the shooter.

While the Christmas theming is largely cosmetic, it helps Overwatch 2 feel colourful, vibrant, and very festive – the perfect vibe to enter the new year with. If you’re keen for some frosty winter wonderland adventures, don your stockings and elf hats, and head on down to the arena in Overwatch 2.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

spider-man: miles morales christmas video game
Image: Insomniac Games

Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the essential, bite-sized spin-off to Marvel’s Spider-Man, is one of the definitive Christmas video games. The entire story of this adventure takes place in December, with decorations, lights, and missions to match. In fact, there’s an entire segment devoted to Miles coming home for Christmas dinner with his mother and best friend, Ganke. Together, they share warm tales and discuss the holiday season in heartfelt tones.

It’s a wonderful scene, and helps players get to know Miles and his world a little bit more. It’s also a great way to ring in your own holiday dinners, and feel those warm fuzzies starting to build. If that’s not enough, go for a walk in the world of Miles Morales. Stare at the gorgeous, glittering decorations. Visit brightly-lit streets. There’s no doubt this adventure will spark warm holiday feelings.

The Darkside Detective

the darkside detective game
Image: Spooky Doorway

The Darkside Detective and The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark, both excellent point-and-click adventure games, each have a unique, spooky case file dedicated to Christmas. Each game is made of multiple supernatural-themed mysteries which can be tackled individually. For those strong Christmas video game vibes, you’ll want to check out ‘Buy Hard’ in The Darkside Detective and ‘Ghosts of Christmas Passed’ in The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark.

In ‘Buy Hard’, you investigate a creepy shopping mall as you help hapless police officer Dooley find the perfect last-minute gift for his nephew. It all goes awry when Krampus appears, and transforms the season in hideous ways. ‘Ghosts of Christmas Passed’ also tackles Christmas joy – this time, with a journey through space and time to meet the demands of unruly ghosts. Both adventures are extremely worthwhile, hilarious romps, and present a funny, horror-tinged take on Christmas.

Hitman: World of Assassination

Image: IO Interactive

If you’re looking to express some of your Christmas joy in less wholesome ways, consider jumping into Hitman: World of Assassination these holidays, and try literally tackling Santa. In the special bonus mission ‘Holiday Hoarders’ (available temporarily in Hitman and Hitman 2, and permanently in Hitman 3), you’re tasked with wandering Paris, France, and finding the best ways to take out two professional thieves named Smokey and Slick.

It just so happens that this mission takes place over the holiday period, complete with a colourfully-decorated sandbox world to roam through, and a Santa actor you can harangue (or kill) to disguise yourself in the iconic red suit. You even get a special ‘Secret Santa’ achievement for dispatching the bad guys in the suit – how’s that for a Christmas miracle?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

christmas toy day animal crossing
Image: Nintendo

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Christmas is replaced by ‘Toy Day’ – a non-denominational celebration that brings your village together via the magic of gifts. Throughout December, you’ll be able to dress up in special Christmas-themed outfits, collect gifts for your animal neighbours, and even decorate your town in shades of green and red. Toy Day is a special event in the game, and only comes around once a year.

If you’ve got a spare chance over the holiday break, pop in to see how your Animal Crossing villagers are doing. They might appreciate a smile and a nod, or even a small gift when you’re able. On Toy Day (24 December), you’ll get a visit from a special NPC named Jingle, and get to take part in gift-wrapping and gift-giving activities that’ll delight your entire village. It’s all very twee, and should help spark some real-life Christmas charm.

Disney Dreamlight Valley

disney dreamlight valley christmas video games
Image: Gameloft

Just like Animal Crossing: New Horizons before it, Disney Dreamlight Valley aims to foster wholesome, warm, and loving vibes as players establish themselves in a cartoonish world, make friends, and take on mini-quests across a mysterious island. The neat twist in Dreamlight Valley is that everyone you encounter comes from iconic Disney films – and they all need your help. As you take on new requests and explore further into the heart of a darkness-drenched paradise, it’s up to you to turn the tide, and refresh the lives of each Disney denizen.

With the latest update, a brand new festive Star Path (Season Pass) has been unveiled, with a range of Christmas-themed goodies in store for avid players. Earn enough points, and you can eventually unlock new Christmas dresses, lights, decorations, and more – all of which can help your town sparkle. You can also spend December exploring the game’s special Frozen-themed land, which includes snow, castles, and plenty of festive magic.

For those that celebrate, GamesHub wishes you a Merry Christmas over the holiday break! We hope any time away you have is refreshing, and leads you well into the new year.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.