All the Games With Christmas 2016 Events and Updates
Along with Halloween, Christmas is the other big holiday that inspires numerous developers to release special events and updates for their games. This year is no exception: There are a ton of ways to spend your time over the next few weeks if you're looking for some holiday-themed content.
You can check out all of the events and updates from the big console and PC games in the gallery above or jump directly to a game through the list below. We'll continue to update this as more are announced.
- Battlefield 1 (added December 21)
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
- Dead Rising 4 (added December 20)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (added December 15)
- Fallout Shelter (added December 21)
- FIFA 17 (added December 19)
- Final Fantasy XIV
- Final Fantasy XV (added December 20)
- Gears of War 4 (added December 16)
- Grand Theft Auto V (added December 20)
- Guild Wars 2
- Heroes of the Storm
- The King of Fighters XIV (added December 23)
- Minecraft (added December 19)
- Planet Coaster (added December 15)
- Pokemon Go (updated December 23)
- Rainbow Six Siege (added December 22)
- RollerCoaster Tycoon World (added December 16)
- Street Fighter V
- World of Warcraft
Destiny's latest big update, The Dawning, combines its holiday event with a number of other things, including the return of the Sparrow Racing League and Strike scoring. There are a wide variety of new items to obtain, from Sparrows to armor, along with festive-themed items like a mask that resembles a Devil Splicer snowman.
Dates: Now - January 3
- Destiny's The Dawning Event Has Modified Strikes, New Exotics, and More
- Destiny's Holiday Update, The Dawning, Includes This Year's Sparrow Racing League
- Official site
Much as it did for the Summer Olympics and Halloween, Blizzard has brought a Christmas-themed update to Overwatch. Like those events, this one introduces a ton of new cosmetic items, including skins (see them all here), voice lines, emotes, victory poses, and so on. These can be obtained through special winter loot boxes that are only available for the duration of the event. You'll receive a special player icon and a free loot box just for logging in.
There's also a special Brawl mode where everyone plays as a modified version of Mei, who carries a snowball launcher, and snowcapped versions of two maps.
Dates: Now - January 2
- Overwatch Christmas Update Is Now Live
- Video: Mei's Snowball Offensive Mode Gameplay
- Video: Opening 52 Winter Loot Boxes
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Call of Duty might not necessarily lend itself to the holiday spirit, but Infinite Warfare is giving it a go nonetheless. The game's Genesis map is being decorated for the occasion, and you'll be able to play the Genesis Holiday map through a special 24/7 playlist.
Additionally, you'll receive free gifts for logging in each day between December 21 and January 1 (for a total of 12 items). These include Salvage and Key bonuses, winter-themed customization items, and event-specific prototypes (ranging from Common to Legendary). Activision has also promised "special bonuses" like double XP events will take place in the weeks ahead.
Dates: December 21 - January 1 (free gifts)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered's holiday celebration isn't quite as extensive as Infinite Warfare's, but it does provide players with a reason to check in with the game. A special version of the Crash map called Winter Crash is being added to the game; this adorns the map with holiday lights, candy canes, and other decorations. Helicopters called in by killstreaks will even exhibit some holiday spirit. A 24/7 playlist with the Winter Crash map will be available starting on December 20.
Dates: December 20 - TBA
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV's Starlight Celebration returns again this year. Players can take part in new quests to "bring merriment and good cheer to the boys and girls of a local children's ward" by assisting Amh Garanjy, who can be found in the Steps of Nald in Ul'dah. Special items only available during the event include a Santa outfit and decorations for your in-game home.
Dates: December 15 (12 AM PT) - December 31 (6:59 AM)
Guild Wars 2
Coinciding with a big update that kicks off Season 5 of Guild Wars 2, this year's Wintersday event has begun. Divinity's Reach has gotten a makeover with snow, holiday decorations, and a Toymaster Tixx's airship, which is flying overhead. You can take part in new content in Tixx's Infinirarium, try to beat the Winter Wonderland jumping puzzle, earn special holiday-themed gifts and items, and more.
Dates: Now - January 10
Heroes of the Storm
The annual Winter Veil event has returned to Heroes of the Storm. Playing 25 matches during the event will net you a snowflake portrait and the Festive Treasure Goblin mount. This is the same mount you could use during 2015's event. This time, not only can you use it for free, you'll also be able to permanently add it to your collection for use year-round.
Brawl matches aren't counted toward those 25, but a special "frosty" Brawl will be available during a portion of the event. All matches played during the event net you 25 percent bonus XP. Additionally, two special bundles are available with some holiday-themed items, such as Gingerdread Nazeebo pictured above.
Dates: Now - January 4
Hitman has offered a stream of limited-time content throughout the year, and it's doing so once again for Christmas. A special mission called Holiday Hoarders is temporarily available that decks out the Paris level with snow, Christmas trees, and other decorations.
Your goal is to take out two thieves looking to steal presents located around the map. If you reach the presents first, you can use what you find--including a Santa suit. There's also a Home Alone reference to be discovered.
Dates: Now - TBA
- Become a Killer Santa With Hitman's Free Holiday Update, Out Now
- Hitman's Christmas Mission Has a Brilliant Home Alone Reference
- Official site
Street Fighter V
As with Halloween, Street Fighter V has received some new, holiday-themed content for Christmas. Unlike many of the other updates games are receiving, however, you'll need to pay for the bulk of it. There are new Santa-inspired costumes for Ken, Zangief, R. Mika, Laura, Karin, and Juri, as well as a holiday stage. You can see them all here.
The costumes each cost $4, while the map is $2 (or 40,000 Fight Money). A bundle with all of this content is also available for $20. However you choose to buy it, you only have until January 17 to do so.
Dates: Now - January 17
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft's Feast of Winter Veil brings Greatfather Winter to Orgrimmar and Ironforge. He'll offer up special quests that can net you the Merrymaker title. During the event, you'll get to rescue Metzen the Reindeer, drink special egg nog, and obtain a stolen present. Starting on December 25 and going for six days, you'll also be able to pick up a free Winter's Veil Gift each day from the Winter's Veil tree.
Dates: December 16 - January 2 (Winter's Veil) / December 25-31 (free gifts)
Alongside the addition of a few new Pokemon, mobile sensation Pokemon Go is celebrating the holiday with a special, Santa-hat-wearing version of Pikachu. These will be available in "large quantities" for the duration of the event.
Developer Niantic has since announced plans to expand the event, offering a better shot at hatching new Pokemon--like Togepi and Pichu--and discovering the original starter Pokemon and their evolutions (such as Charizard, Blastoise, and Venosaur).
Dates: Now - January 3 (Pikachu) / December 25 - January 3 (hatch chance) / December 30 - January 8 (starter Pokemon)
- Pokemon Go Holiday Event Begins on Christmas Day
- Pokemon Go: More Creatures Arrive Alongside Holiday Event
- Official site
A free DLC pack called Festive Seasoning has been released for cooking game Overcooked. It adds two new unlockable chefs (a snowman and reindeer), two new dishes (turkey dinner and stew), a Santa hat for chefs, and eight co-op levels that feature a new Winter Lodge theme. There's also a flamethrower for cooking (because why not), as well as a winter-themed world map.
Dates: Available now
The Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online's holiday celebration, the New Life Festival, is now underway. To get started, speak with the NPC Breda outside of Windhelm, which will kick off a questline. You'll be able to take part in a series of limited-time daily quests, each one themed around one of ESO's races. Completing these rewards you with a New Life Gift Box consisting of a Skinchanger style item, a random crafting material, and a New Life-exclusive item, among other things. You can also earn double XP for two hours by drinking a special mead that Breda offers.
Dates: Now - January 4 at 7 AM PT / 10 AM ET
Theme park simulator Planet Coaster has been updated with new holiday-themed content. The free Winter update adds the Festive King roller coaster, sleigh ride, iron horse transport, a scenario (Festive King Coaster's Crackers), a winter theme, and other winter-centric objects. These let you decorate your park with snow, a tree, a choir, and more. All of this comes as part of a wider-ranging update that adds a lot of new content not tied to the holiday.
Dates: Available now
RollerCoaster Tycoon World
A new update for Atari's RollerCoaster Tycoon World adds holiday-themed content. This includes new items such as a snowman, Santa's sleigh, a gingerbread man, and snow globe that you can place in your park.
Dates: Available now
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4 is celebrating the holidays with an event called "Gearsmas." There are gingerbread and snowmen weapon skins up for grabs, along with the game's take on "ugly sweaters." Also added to Gears of War 4 with the event is a Snowball Fight mode where you have a modified Boomshot, called a Snowshot, that fires snowballs. Also, Gears of War 4 is discounted to to $39 right now on Xbox Live for the duration of the event.
Dates: December 16-28
Microsoft's sandbox game, Minecraft, gets in the holiday spirit with a Festive Mash-Up Pack. The DLC, which includes a snow-covered world and Krampus and Santa costumes (among others), is out now on PC and mobile.
Dates: Available now
FIFA 17 is getting into the Christmas spirit by giving away free Ultimate Team items every day for 12 days over the festive period. All you have to do is log in, and you'll receive a bunch of free coins, or a pack, or something else entirely. There's also a bonus daily gift for those who log into the web app, including a free Christmas-themed kit when you log in for the first time.
Dates: Now - January 3
GTA Online is giving away a load of free content to celebrate Christmas, including some fetching jumpers and hats. There's also bigger rewards for stealing cars from the recent Import/Export update, (not quite in the festive spirit, but still), and 25% discounts on a bunch of guns and apartments.
Dates: Now - unknown.
Dead Rising 4
Dead Rising 4 gets in the holiday spirit with the Stocking Stuffer Holiday Pack. Main character Frank West faces off against zombies who are now dressed up as elves and snowmen.
You can wear a Santa suit and lay waste to the zombies with new weapons such as a "Candy Pain" and a baseball bat outfitted with barbed wire and Christmas lights. Additionally, you can drive around in a vehicle called "Santa's Little Melter," which is basically a motorcycle with a reindeer head on it that shoots lasers. On top of this, the game's selfie camera now has a holiday-themed border option.
Dates: Available now in the season pass or for $5 by itself.
Final Fantasy 15
Final Fantasy XV has received an update that adds Christmas-themed photo frames for your selfies with Prompto, while more festive goodies will arrive in a free DLC pack on December 22.
Dates: Some content available now; some available December 22.
- Final Fantasy XV Update Brings New Game Plus Mode and Christmas Content
- Final Fantasy XV's First Free DLC Pack Coming in December, Here's What's in It
A new update for Bethesda's mobile game adds themed decorations and outfits, as well as new quests. All of this is available in the game for a limited time only. As you can see in the image below, items like Christmas trees, wreaths, presents, and elf costumes have been added in the update.
Dates: Available now for a limited time
EA's World War I shooter joins in with its own holiday event. As part of the campaign, which runs until December 29, DICE will release a new mode, a new dog tag, and more battlepacks, among other things.
Dates: December 21-29
Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege is offering up special charms and other cosmetic items for completing certain challenges. Killing a certain number of players with melee attacks or gadgets, for instance, earns you a special Sneaky Santa charm to decorate your weapons with. Challenges are each available for only a few days, so you'll need to play a number of times during the event to collect everything up for grabs.
Dates: Now - January 3
As it did for Halloween, Dying Light is offering another global Be the Zombie event, which is just the second one ever. Over the Christmas weekend, players can compete in the community bounty Zombiefest #2. The rules are a bit different for this one, stripping Survivors of their survivor sense ability and giving them only two flares. Night Hunters, meanwhile, are restricted from using Howls, Spits, or Tackles, and have only two UV blocks and heals available to them. You can win a gold-tier weapon by participating.
Dates: December 23-26