12 Days of Gamesmas: Festive themes to celebrate the season with

Posted on December 25, 2016

Get pumped Aussies, it’s Christmas time! (and Holiday time for those of us who do not celebrate Christmas)

We may not live in a cold climate like our American and European friends do, but we still enjoy the festive spirit December brings us. When we’re not splashing around in the sprinklers or watching the third re-run of Die Hard, we will be testing out our new gifts. For some of us, that means setting up a new console and loading up some new games!

Surprisingly, fully festive themed games are a bit rare. Though select themes and DLC’s are picking up popularity in recent years. So to help spread some festive cheer for all you gamers out there, I have put together a collection of games and gaming themed specials and events to bring you some holiday joy.

Enjoy these 12 days of Gamesmas!

1. Overwatch – Winter Wonderland 

2016’s favorite game starts off the list with their seasonal event: Winter Wonderland!

The festival gives players a range of cosmetic options, like new skins, voice lines and even player icons. Some maps are also decorated with festive lights, and there is even the addition of Mei’s Snowball Offensive; A 6V6 brawl with Mei being the only available hero. Winter Wonderland will last from the 13th of December through to the 2nd of January.

As a bonus to this festive event, The latest Overwatch comic gives us a very sweet look into how Tracer and the heroes celebrate Christmas. It has especially ruffled a few feathers and sent the LGBT gaming community into celebration overdrive. Don’t just take my word for it, have a look here yourself!

2.  Kingdom Hearts 2 – Christmas Town

The great thing about anything Nightmare Before Christmas themed is that you can enjoy it twice a year! With Kingdom Hearts 2 they added in the festive Christmas Town that connects to Halloween Town. Christmas Town was previously unavailable in the first game, and so far is only available in the second game. Though Halloween Town is only a small part of where you can visit in Kingdom Hearts, it is still one that brings back a lot of cheerful holiday memories.

You can enjoy the usual missions in Christmas town, battle plenty of heartless and, of course, rescue dear old Sandy Claws! If you happen to own Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix, you will notice that the teams Halloween costumes have been swapped out for Christmas themed ones.

Whether you visit for the spooks or the snow, KH2’s Halloween Town is a perfect addition to your holiday celebrations.

3. Undertale – Snowdin Town

We can’t leave Tumblr’s favorite game out in the cold now can we?

This sweet, adorable, somewhat disturbing game hides within it a festive little town called Snowdin. The monsters version of  Christmas in Snowdin started when teens would torment a deer monster by decorating it with all sorts of things. The villagers felt terrible so they would put presents under the big tree in town to serve as an apology to the  poor deer. Thus, a tradition was born.

Snowdin forest and the town it’self are quite lovely to explore. The game as a whole can be a wonderful addition to December celebrations. Unless you decide to do the genocide run… please don’t do a genocide run.  It’s not very festive.

Think of the children!

4. YOGSCAST Martyn –  Minecraft Christmas ADVENTure

If you feel more in the mood to watch some Christmas gaming, then I’ve got the perfect Youtube series for you. Back in 2012, 4 members of the youtube gaming group YOGSCAST  decided to start a little minecraft christmas adventure together. The series players are Martyn (AKA InTheLittleWood , YOGSCAST Martyn),  Toby (SoTotallyToby), Lewis (xILubez), Henry (iBuze) and Elliot (MegaGWolf) who replaced  Henry in the third season.

The Christmas ADVENTure is a narrated Minecraft story with different builds,  maps and challenges each year.  On each day of December (in the lead up to Christmas) the adventurers open up one of the rooms of their advent calendar and complete the challenge or task given to them by the story tellers Aunty Sandy and Uncle Stephano.

It’s a perfect series to relax to around Christmas. The players are lighthearted and cheerful, which becomes infectious the more you watch them. So far they have 4 Christmas ADVENTures up, although they were unable to do one for 2016 due to most of the team being busy for the holidays. Still, there is plenty of festive content to occupy your time with.

The maps for each adventure are also available for download if you’d prefer to play through the story instead.

5. World of Warcraft – Feast of Winter Veil 

Greatfather Winter is back with WOW’s annual Christmas event!

There is a whole slew of content for the Feast of Winter Veil. Players can enjoy new music, festive outfits, collectables, decorations, new quests and so much more! WOW has always had a way with creating great seasonal events, Christmas of course being one of the most loved.

If you’re willing to risk being lost for weeks within World of Warcraft’s grasps then i highly recommend you make sure the Feast of Winter Veil event is on your list of must play games this holiday. The event started on December 16th and will end on January 2nd, so enjoy the festivities while you can!

6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf 

It wouldn’t be Christmas without adorable animals in cute outfits! Some lighthearted seasonal fun can be had during December for those who play Animal Crossing.  In place of Yule type celebrations, the game has what is called Toy Day.

During the lead up to Christmas day there are plenty of things you can do and prepare for Toy Day (starting 6PM December 24th). The town is decorated, you are able to give gifts to your villagers, get prizes, buy special items and even dress up as Santa. You will also have your friend Jingle the reindeer helping you spread joy throughout the town. oh, and did i mention you can also build snowmen?

The winter season will last until the first week of January. Animal Crossing always has some cute seasonal events for players to enjoy, and December is one of the jolliest!

7. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa’s Rampage

“Ho Ho Ho, MerryGO *#@% YOURSELF!”
Oh dear…. It seems like all the stress was too much for dear old St Nick this year. He’s snapped, and the workshop is a mess!

If the happy and cheerful vibe of the season has been too much for you this year, maybe cleaning up the bloody aftermath of Santa’s Rampage will put you in a better mood. Invite one of your friends to join you in this messy task too. Share the Christmas spirit.

While Viscera Cleanup Detail doesn’t really scream “joyful festivities” it still is a lot of fun to rummage through the gore and countless empty liquor bottles scattered around the workshop, maybe setting the occasional present alight. Adding the multiplayer option to the game means you still get to spend some time with your loved ones. Even if it is a little more…RED, than you were expecting.

8. Canis Canem Edit – Christmas at school 

Oh Jimmy, where would we be without some of your teen angst for Christmas?

The controversial game Bully (also known as Canis Canem Edit in the PAL region) Is perfect for those who want to forget about being an adult this season. Like many of the games on this list, it’s whole theme is not centered around Christmas, but the prospect of some snowy fun makes for a great excuse to play through this classic title.

Along with missions and dress ups in ugly sweaters, it’s a lot of fun just to mess around in game, starting snowballs fights and wrecking snowmen. Australian gamers out there will probably find this more appealing, as we have no idea what a real snow day would be like. We live vicariously through these games!

9. Saints Row IV – How the saints saved Christmas DLC

Saints Row keeps the joy going by giving us their hilarious DLC titled How the Saints saved Christmas.

Released back in 2013, this is a perfect DLC to play if you are in need of some serious laughs, or just a bit of silly Christmas spirit. The story centers around the protagonist and their mission to save Santa Claus and save Christmas! I really don’t want to spoil too much JUST in case you haven’t yet played it, as this is something you just have to experience. I will say though that it sticks to the usual Saints Row style we love, and look forward to kicking some ass with Santa!

10. Destiny: Rise of Iron – The Dawning

Destiny’s winter celebration The Dawning sees us racing off on hover bikes across snowy white tracks as the Sparrow Racing League returns to Destiny once again (don’t worry, there’s more)

Rise of Iron’s winter event also gives Destiny fans new quests and bounties, along with lots of loot, presents and fashionable festive gear. The tower also looks super dazzling covered in decorations and lights. Plus more wintery goodness for you to discover. This years Christmas event may be the last one we see, as we expect to see Destiny 2 releasing sometime in the later part of 2017.

The festivities are due to end around January 3rd so don’t miss out on getting all that sweet sweet loot while you can!

11. Dead Rising 4 – Stocking Stuffer DLC

With all the doom, gloom and gore that comes with a zombie outbreak, You have to wonder if survivors ever have any fun. Fortunately, the people of dead rising have managed to make an apocalypse look like an absolute joy ride.
If you’ve ever wanted those shambling corpses to look a little more festive, then you really must  get the Stocking Stuffer DLC  for Dead Rising 4.

You can now lay waste to zombies with sweet new weapons (I’m being literal, there is one called “candy pain”) take a joy ride on a motorbike fittingly called “Santa’s Little Melter”  and all while dressed in a Santa costume. Not only does the player get an outfit, but the NPC’s and Zombies do too, making for some hilarious encounters.

There’s no better way to celebrate the season than by spreading a little joy, especially if that joy is a baseball bat wrapped in Christmas lights and barbed wire.

12. Final Fantasy XIV – Starlight Celebration

If you’re feeling like spreading a little more(simulated) cheer around to others, then Final Fantasy XIV slides in to give it to you.

FFXIV’s Starlight Celebration comes back this year bringing with it Santa outfits, home decorations and good deeds! For the event you receive a new quest called Naughty or Nice, in which you will spread some much needed joy and merriment to the young children of the nearby ward.

The Starlight Celebration will continue through to December 31st, so if you would like to spread some of this festive spirit around, now would be a great time!

And there you have it folks! 12 days of gaming Christmas for you to all enjoy.

It’s great to see more seasonal celebrations being presented in gaming now days. Researching this list though made me realize how lacking we are in representation for other holiday celebrations such as Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so on. Hopefully as gaming continues to evolve more and move forward, so too will it’s diversity.

Regardless of what you do or do not celebrate, we here on the Checkpoint team wish you all the happiest and most fun filled of times this holiday season. May all your wildest dreams come true!