We’re halfway through December, which means Christmas events are hitting every live-service, ongoing, mobile, or gacha game imaginable. Which ones will put the most jolly in your holly?
It’s a hectic time of year, scrambling to prepare for the holidays. It’s also a time of year when many of us are getting new games to play. But as we cross items off our lists, many of our favourite ongoing games are doing their part to make daily life festive—by putting snow and mistletoe everywhere they can.
To call these Christmas events cheap cash-ins would be easy and extremely pessimistic, but is that what this time of year is all about? No, it’s about filling the last days of the year with light and joy, and gathering with loved ones. So here are five great events that will enrich your holiday spirit.
5) Overwatch – Winter Wonderland 2021
In some ways it’s hard to recommend an Activision Blizzard game‘s holiday event under current circumstances, but as a lapsed Overwatch player, I do have many fond memories of past years. Of all the various seasonal events the game puts on annually, the Halloween and Christmas events are nearest and dearest in my heart, and largely in thanks to the awesome character skins. Not only are all the previous years’ skins available, this year’s selections are great. Even my poor, nerfed main, D.Va, got the honours of a new feature.
Of course, special game modes like Yeti Hunter and Mei’s Snowball Offensive are back again, alongside weekly challenges with unique unlockables for Tracer, Symmetra, and Brigitte. Overwatch‘s character and style are its biggest strengths, and Winter Wonderland events always use them splendidly.
4) Pokémon Go, Pokémon Café Remix, & Pokémon Unite
If you play one of the Pokémon mobile games, there’s a fair chance you might play one of the others as well. And if so, you’ve got quite the hydra of Christmas events to work with. Pokémon Go is up to its usual tricks, putting holiday and snowy costumes on various monsters. You can even encounter some in shiny form while also partaking in this weekend’s Community Day event. Pokémon Café Remix is also leaning into the holiday spirit with a series of events through the New Year, including the Ice-type Alolan Vulpix and a considerable boost to shiny encounter rates.
Pokémon Unite is perhaps going the farthest, however. Beyond the standard smattering of new skins, there’s a full-blown snowball fight mode, and a series of daily login gifts from December 24 until January 1. The first day of 2022 is the only day a unique prize box will be available, containing one of four exclusive fashion items.
3) Animal Crossing New Horizons – Toy Day
Like most seasonal occasions in Animal Crossing, the Christmas events are more than a one-day affair. From now until January 6, evergreen trees on your island will be decked out in lights, and can be shaken ad infinitum to produce red, blue, and yellow ornaments. You can use these to craft holiday DIY items, the recipes for which can be obtained from villagers and balloons. Use these to deck out your island.
You may also want to hit up Nook’s Cranny every day until the 24th as well. Timmy and Tommy will stock a different “toy” item each day. On Christmas Eve, Santa’s helper reindeer Jingle will arrive and task you with handing out presents to each of the villagers, and you can also gift them the various toys you picked up beforehand. Special items are great and all, but isn’t the interactions with your friendly villagers the truly heartwarming reward here?
2) Destiny 2 – “The Dawning”
Not much has changed in the structure of this year’s Dawning event in Destiny 2, but that’s okay. It remains a great excuse to check back in with the game and sample everything it has to offer. In order to get the crafting ingredients needed for Eva Levante’s quests, you’ll have to fight each of the different enemy types, across various game modes, with all the means at your disposal. Turn those seasonal ingredients into customized snacks for each of the NPCs, like the deliciously-named “Gjallardoodles” for Zavala or Strange Cookies for Xûr.
Dawning quests and activities impart rewards like four seasonal weapons, and, of course, there are a handful of new cosmetics to help you dress the part. (My favourite is the holiday sweater-wearing Ghost, which—are you listening, Bungie—I would buy in real life to put atop my tree.) But for a game I’ve played for so long, I really do enjoy making my rounds in the Tower and “catching up” with these vendors and mentors.
1) Fortnite – Winter Wonderland 2021
Speaking of cosmetics, Fortnite. The world’s biggest battle royale is naturally getting in on the holiday spirit as well, with a plethora of themed items to spend your V-bucks on. Wrap your gear in candy cane patterns, don an ugly sweater, or become an actual candy cane. Or equip Reina, an animated skin that’s somehow a cross between Rudolph, Genshin Impact‘s whole aesthetic, and… Negan, with her nail bat pickaxe?
That’s all fairly standard fare for these Christmas events, of course, but what helps nudge Fortnite to the top of this list is the Lodge. Log in each day for a total of fourteen gifts: a Glider, Contrail, Emote, Lobby Track, Loading Screen, Emoticon, Spray, Banner, two Outfits, two Pickaxes, and two Wraps (and a partridge in a pear tree?). You even get to pick out which presents to open from a cozy, separate screen, complete with the ability to rattle the boxes first, so you can puzzle out what’s inside.
And then go into a match with your full holiday regalia and get mowed down by your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, thanks to the ongoing No Way Home crossover, because this is Fortnite, baby.
Whichever game you choose to log some extra time with over the holidays, we here at CGM wish you a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and all the best to you and yours in the New Year!