15 Best Christmas-Themed Video Game Levels to Get You into the Holiday Spirit
It’s officially the holiday season, but for many, that Christmas joy hasn’t appeared. Christmas is just around the corner, and I still haven’t done any shopping. Not for decorations or presents.
If you’re like me and in need of some serious Christmas cheer, it might be time to check out some of the best Christmas-themed video game levels to put you in the holly jolly spirit. Whether these are platformers, simulations or action adventures, I guarantee there will be a game that you will know or might even own so you can get your hands on these levels.
These Christmas-themed levels will encourage you to decorate the house, spread cheer around town, and might even help you think of ideas for presents! Whatever you need to get in the holiday spirit, these games will help get you there.
What Makes These Christmas-Themed?
Not every game screams Christmas, though, and not every game wants to call their holidays Christmas. Not only is that a diservice to the various other holidays around this time of year, but sometimes it just doesn’t fit the game and the lore.
So, what makes it a “Christmas-themed level”?
It mostly has to do with the decor and the music. Having levels during the wintertime is pretty common with franchises, especially in the platformer genre. And having games that go through the seasons means there might be snow on the ground. But that doesn’t mean it’s a Christmas-themed level.
If there are lights on a tree, or something like that, with jolly music, presents, or gift giving, and any other form of those ideas, then I’d say it’s pretty close to Christmas. The game doesn’t need to use the words Christmas, Santa, or any of that for it to feel like Christmas in a game level.
Games Set During Christmas
Surprisingly, there are actually several games that are fully based during Christmas, which means they don’t fit this specific category, but they should be mentioned at least. Check out below a short list of some popular titles that are actually set during Christmas.
- Batman: Arkham Origins takes place on Christmas Eve actually and is the excuse as to why there are no NPCs around on the street. The streets are covered in snow and it’s a jolly time of year while fighting villains.
- Bayonette 2 doesn’t have the exact dates but does take place around that time. The game opens with Bayonette buying presents, which help fans get into the holiday spirit for sure.
- Dead Rising 4 is set in a city that has been abandoned around Christmas, so all the decorations are up even after Christmas, which basically means Christmas never ended!
- Parasite Eve is another that takes place during the holiday.
- We can’t forget Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of the more recent games and takes place around Christmas as well. The story follows Morales making his way home to spend time with friends and family during the holidays, however, something more sinister is at play that he needs to deal with instead.
Again, this is just a small list, not a complete one. There are many out there, but these are a few that I wanted to mention.
MMOs With Christmas Events
For those who are also a fan of MMOs, you might be wondering if they’ll show on the list. While they are absolutely amazing, I decided to make a quick subsection for those specifically. Trust me, the World of Warcraft Feast of Winter was going to be on the list, but I felt MMOs should have their own special section, because after all, they really are an amazing genre.
- Yule Festival in Lord of the Rings Online is the annual festival for the holiday, taking palce early December into beginning of January.
- Guild Wars 2 is my current MMO obsession, and I absolutely love Wintersday, which starts in December and lasts through the beginning of January.
- Dark Age of Camelot has Midwinter Festival which goes around the same time as the rest, mid-December to mid-January.
- One of the best ones is the Feast of Winter Veil in World of Warcraft which goes from mid-December through the beginning of January and is packed full of goodies for players.
- Another favorite of mine is Elder Scrolls Online with the New Life Festival that runs from mid-December to beginning of January and celebrates the new year coming.
Same for the games set during Christmas, this is just a small list. There are many MMOs that highlight the holidays during this time of year that I haven’t included.
Best Christmas-Themed Video Game Levels
Now that we’ve talked about MMOs and games that are surrounded with holiday cheer, let’s check out the best Christmas-themed video game levels that will surely put you in the right spirits. Grab some eggnog or cocoa, sit by the fire, and play these games while snow is falling outside. It will put you in the mood to give gifts and spread joy.
15. Banjo Kazooie, Freezeezy Peak
Banjo Kazooie is the first game in the series and was developed by Rare, releasing in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. The game features Banjo and his friend Kazooie who must save Banjo’s sister, Tooty, from an evil witch called Gruntilda, before she steels Tooty’s beauty.
Like several Nintendo games, you must traverse through several worlds in order to finally reach the main antagonist, and one of the worlds that Banjo and Kazooie go to is Freezeezy Peak, the fifth world. Like many winter lands in Nintendo games, they deck out the area to make it feel like the holidays.
With snowmen, trees, lights and more, you can wrap up in a nice blanket by the fire and get into a holly-jolly mood for Christmas.
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14.Yakuza 5, Tsukimino
Like a Dragon, formerly known the Yakuza series outside of Asia, is an action adventure, beat-’em-up game created by Toshihiro Nagoshi and SEGA in 2005. Yakuza 5 is the fifth installment and continues the tradition introduced in the fourth of having multiple playable characters.
There are five main protagonists and playable characters in the game, the second highest number of main characters in the series. The story follows Daigo Dojima who met Tadashi Madarame, the patriarch of the local clan. He also meets with Kazuma Kiryu, who lives under the alias of Taichi Suzuki, and the story primarily revolves around the secret war between the Tojo and Omi, and the five playable characters must be manipulated, and even murdered, in order for the plot to manifest.
In the game, you can explore various areas doing mini side quests and several other activities. One such area is Tsukimino, an area of Sapporo, Hokkaido that is modeled after Susukino, a red-light district there. It features some amazing Christmas-themed items, making it one of the many great Christmas-themed levels in video games. From the ice statues, to even purchasing a Santa outfit, there is a lot that you can do in the area to get yourself in the holiday spirit.
13. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Hollijolli Village
The iconic brothers are here as one the examples for the best Christmas-themed video game levels that you can find to get into the holiday spirit. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is a role-playing video game developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo for the DS and is a sequel to Superstar Saga. The style resembles the prequel; however, the storyline is a bit darker.
The Hollijolly Village, like the name suggests, is truly jolly. it’s the first area you will visit when going to Mushroom Kingdom during the past. There are beautiful Christmas trees decorated in lights and stars around the village, and there are presents inside homes with decorations. This is a festive little area while trying to save the town from Schroobs.
12. Saints Row 4, How the Saints Save Christmas
In this list, DLCs count. And one such DLC that really puts you in the mood for the holidays is the Saints Row 4 DLC. Saints Row 4 is the last and greatest chapter in the franchise and released in 2013. It’s an open world action-adventure game developed by Volition and published by Deep Silver. Players are encouraged to explore the environment and play the story and side quests at their leisure.
The story follows the player who is the leader of the Saints, a street gang that has become one of the most popular and powerful organizations and becomes the President of the United States because of this. You also receive superpowers which helps you fend off an alien invasion. But about the DLC now. It has three missions and is the second mission pack for the game.
The story for the added content revolves around Playa who isn’t caring enough to rescue Santa from his Matrix-like Simulation and the Saints try to cheer them up with the true meaning of Christmas.
11. Various Kingdom Hearts Games, Halloween Town
This is the perfect game to play for all the Disney fans out there. The franchise is an extremely popular one and is developed and published by Square Enix. It’s an action RPG game and began as a collab between Enix and Disney Interactive Studios that feature a cast of Disney voice actors.
The franchise follows Sora whose home is destroyed by the Heartless and follows his attempts to restore the world and reunite his friends. During this process, he meets characters from both Final Fantasy and Disney. Halloween Town can be found in various Kingdom Hearts games, such as Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 2.
Halloween Town is a level in these games that feature Tim Burton’s classic stop-motion film, The Nightmare before Christmas. And as Disney fans are aware of, despite the name of both the movie and town, this is an extremely festive place for Christmas time.
An expanded part was added to the second game located through a door in the Hinterlands due to the overwhelming fanbase wanting more. What you can do and see in this town depends on the game you’re playing, but everything is Christmas-themed, making it one of the best jolly levels in video games.
10. Borderland 2, How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day DLC
While not technically a level, I feel as though DLC’s count. The Borderlands series is known for being hilariously chaotic and is one of the shooter games that even people who don’t enjoy shooters find amusing. It’s a science fiction first-person shooter with RPG elements created by Gearbox Software. The first one released in 2009 with the second one releasing in 2012 and built in Unreal Engine 2.
This installment is set five years after the first game where Handsome Jack, the main antagonist, has taken over the Hyperion Corporation and has declared himself Dictator of Pandora. The game starts with players on the search for the Vault, all while Handsome Jack does what he can to thwart and kill those who go looking.
However, the Christmas experience doesn’t really happen until you get the DLC which was released December 2013 for only $2.99. You fast travel to Frost Bottom, which is the town seen in the image above, where players must help Marcus find his shipment of missing guns in Gingerton. Players will be attacked by Snowman on the way there, and finally have to defeat a Mister Tinder Snowflake, all while exploring a Christmas-decked out town with trees, lights and more.
9. Tom Clancy’s Spinter Cell: Blacklist, American Consumption
Most of the list today focuses on lighter, cartoonish games from popular franchises or indie developers. Splinter Cell is not really light. While it’s an incredibly popular franchise, it’s darker. Blacklist is the sixth installment in the Splinter Cell franchise published by Ubisoft.
It takes place two years after Conviction as Third Echelon is discharged by the president. She forms the Fourth Echelon after a terrorist attack, however, and labels it Blacklist Zero with Sam Fisher as the leader. American Consumption is a solo campaign level following Charlie Cole’s hunch about the next attack.
This level starts off near a shopping mall around Christmas time. Sam uses this to his advantage though, as he maneuvers through all the trees and tinsel in order to take out the terrorists. There are decorations everywhere, which does help you sneak around, but for those that like minimalistic decorations, this might seem like it goes overboard. Nonetheless, this is truly one of the best Christmas-themed levels that you can find.
8. Hitman: Blood Money, You Better Watch Out…
Are you a fan of darker games like Blacklist? Well then you must know about the Hitman franchise. The series is a shooting stealth game created by Io-Interactive and published by Square Enix, but as of 2017, Io-Interactive has split from Enix and is self-publishing.
The franchise focuses on the life and experience of contract killer named 47, a genetically enhanced clone who is superior to any man and can execute any assassin with flawless talent. The fourth installment, Blood Money, was released in 2006. The seventh mission in the game, players must control 47 to assassinate a pornography tycoon Lorne de Havilland, and son of the US Senator Chad Bingham Jr, and retrieve crucial videotapes.
And while that sounds gruesome and not jolly at all, it really does focus on the holiday spirit. Agent 47 disguises himself as Santa during this… Christmas-themed event. With Christmas decorations around the mansion, and 47 being a holly father Christmas, you can’t deny this isn’t a bad Christmas-themed level, but it’s also a bit weird too.
7. Yoshi’s Woolly World, A Little Light Snowfall
Yoshi’s Woolly World is a side-scrolling platform 2.5D game for the WII U released 2015, and the first Yoshi console game since Yoshi’s Story, which released in North America in 1998. The game uses art material of yarn and textiles and was developed by Good-Feel. In 2017, a remake was made for the 3DS called Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World.
Players play as a yarn Yoshi that live on an island with other Yoshi’s of varying patterns. However, when Magikoopa Kamek turn all Yoshi’s, except for two, into bundles of yarn upon Baby Bowser’s request, the two Yoshi’s must find the bundles of yarn and transform them back. The game is split into six different worlds until he reaches Baby Bowser’s castle.
One such world is the fifth, the snowy world, where the fifth level, A Little Light Snowfall, has a wonderfully Christmas-theme. Not only is the music delightful, but you’ll be transported to a winter wonderland. There are even giant snowmen throughout the levels, and enemies trying to throw snowballs at you.
6. Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Snow Land
Similar to the Yoshi entry, this Kirby game can really cheer you up for the holidays, as it’s one of the best Christmas-themed video game levels. There’s something about Nintendo that brings in the most beautiful levels to their games. Another game developed by Good-Feel, this has the same yarn-like look and texture as the Yoshi one.
Kirby has always been one of my favorite Nintendo franchises besides Animal Crossing. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mario, but somehow the pink loveable ball stole my heart as a child. And Kirby’s Epic Yarn was definitely a favorite of mine when it released on the WII in 2010, besides Kirby: Squeak Squad for the DS.
In the game, Kirby is transformed into yarn and sent to Patch Land, a world made completely out of fabric. Here, he must help Prince Fluff by collecting seven pieces of magic yarn that is used to stitch Patch Land together in order to stop Yin Yard, the antagonist.
And one such patch is from Snow Land, the Winter world in the game. As you can see above, it’s gorgeous, and the music matches. From mittens and snowflakes to the wonderfully decorated trees, this is one of the best Christmas-themed video game levels.
5. Undertale, Snowdin
Undertale is an indie game that you might not have heard of. It has a huge rise in popularity for about a year or two, then was quickly thrown to the side, however, it’s still one of my favorite games to revisit from time to time. It also holds one of the hardest boss levels that you can play, and it’s a character you wouldn’t think would be hard, Sans.
Undertale is a 2D role-playing game created by Toby Fox where you control a child that falls into the Undergound, a large, secluded region under the surface of the earth. The main aspect of the game is the fighting system. You can either play the whole game in a pacifist run, where you never harm anyone, or a genocide run, where you kill literally anything and everything. Or, as most people who play for the first time, a mixed of the two.
What makes this game so interesting is when you replay the game, Sans will remember you from past playthroughs, and he’ll have interesting dialogue. But enough about me gushing over it. Let’s talk about Snowdin, a land that is covered in snow, even though they’re underground, and even has a Christmas tree where monster kids talk about presents.
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4. Terraria, Christmas
You might be able to tell that I love indie games, especially pixel games. Terraria is an action-adventure sandbox game developed by Re-Logic and released in 2011 and is often associated with Minecraft. And don’t let the look of it sway you, because it can be a brutal game. With 17 bosses in total, this is a game you can play by yourself or with friends if you’re ready to struggle.
It focuses on exploration, crafting, building, painting and combat, and is one of the best-selling video games. Even though it seems simple, there is a lot of content. One such kind is during Christmas. This is a seasonal event that occurs from December to early January where presents can be dropped from enemies. Hearts are also replaced by Candy Canes and Mana Stars are replaced with Sugar Plums.
If you’re doing Hardmode, you have a chance of getting a Snow Globe in one of the presents, which summons the Frost Legion, one of the many events in Hardmode. If you defeat the legion, the Santa Claus NPC can spawn if housing is available, but will leave once the season is over. Another way to unlock a day of Christmas is by reaching wave 15 of the Frost Moon, another Hardmode even which is summoned with the Naughty Present at any time at night.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Toy Day
Can you tell which games I enjoy most by my rankings yet? Animal Crossing is a franchise I’ve been playing since the second generation, Animal Crossing: Wild World on the Nintendo DS. I could not get enough. And since then, I played City Folk for the WII, New Leaf, heck even Pocket Camp for your phone, and then finally New Horizons. I even purchased the Switch specifically for the game before heading to college.
And it came out at the perfect time. The world was shutting down from COVID, but at least we all had our little island to space out too while the world was quiet outside. It brought us together as well, from sharing clothing codes, building ideas, and how we transformed our land. There were several updates and events that kept us busy, and let’s not forget that amazing Happy Home Paradise DLC.
One event that is one of the best Christmas-themed video game levels is Toy Day which has appeared in every game besides Wild World and occurs December 24th on both hemispheres. During this event, which is in the Winter season, you can purchase new clothes from the Able Sisters along with toys and holiday items from Nooks Cranny.
Jingle also visits the island, and absolutely adorable reindeer with sparkling eyes where Santa gear and holding a sack. Jingle will ask the player to deliver gifts, and in return will give you DIY gift pile recipe and a Toy Day Sleigh. And if you hang a stocking up, you can find a framed photo of Jingle the next day. While only called Toy Day, it can’t get much more Christmas than that.
2. Super Mario Odyssey, Snow Kingdom
The 2017 platform game gets out number two spot for having the best Christmas-themed video game level to help you get in a merry spirit. Mario is one of the most successful gaming franchises in the world, and this is just another amazing example of how well the franchise does.
In this installment, players travel across many different worlds known as “kingdoms” to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, the classic trope. This game encourages exploration that was featured in Super Mario 64. One kingdom in particular is the Snow Kingdom, which is home to the underground town of Shiveria and its community of people.
In this area, you will see the frozen land of a world made of ice and snow that freezes everyone who steps onto it. What makes it so jolly is that we get to see amazing winter-like creatures and enemies, as well as Santa hats on some enemies, making it a delightful, chilling experience.
1. Stardew Valley, Feast of the Winter Star
This might be incredibly biased as Stardew Valley is my favorite game of all time. Since its release in 2016, I have spent several hours on it. Between my switch and PC, I have about 500 hours clocked in. While that doesn’t compare to many other gamers out there, I still think this qualifies me to say that the Feast of the Winter Star is the best Christmas-themed video game levels I have seen.
Is it exactly like Christmas? No. But does it represent various holidays within winter? Yes! Stardew Valley is a farming simulator developed by ConcernedApe and is an indie game. The game was inspired by Story of Seasons, and is based in a fictional Pelican Town, located in titular Stardew Valley, so having a fictional holiday to match their lore and history fits perfectly than adding an exact Christmas level.
Still, when you walk around the town in the winter season, you’ll see Christmas trees, candy canes, presents and more. You can even purchase amazing goods at Pierre’s booth to decorate your own home like your own tree, banners, light strings, house plants and dining tables.
One of the main activities that you do in this season as well is gift a special item to your secret Santa, which they call Secret Gift-Giver. All in all, if you need someplace to get yourself in the mood for Christmas, Stardew Valley is home to amazing festivals, characters, and excitement.
After this hefty list of the best Christmas-themed video game levels, I hope I have inspired you to get going on your holiday shopping and decorating. These levels have always brought joy for me, and I truly hope they do for you.
The holidays can be a tough time for many, so enjoying a game, or even preparing yourself for the events coming soon, might put a little excitement back into your life. Whether you’re preparing to host for the family, or spending the holidays solo, make time for yourself, and perhaps purchase one of these games as an early present to help you get a bit cheerier.