The holidays are just around the corner, and with them come the usual festive-themed one-shots or sessions from a campaign. It’s a given and a lot of people do it, especially for Halloween. But why is it that so many people do it? And why should you try it out if you haven’t yet?

Running a One-shot

There are so many things about running a one-shot every once in a while that I would a whole article for it. If you are playing an ongoing campaign, it can be used as a way to try out new stuff. Pull out one of those adventures you collected for free last year and have everyone at your table create a character for it. Because it is Holiday themed, you can surely find many of those adventures on sale on sites such as the DM’s Guild, some with their own unique twist, such as holiday-themed subclasses. Trying out new things gives a bit of freedom to those players who have been playing the same character for a year and a half, as well as those DMs who might have become tired of exploring the jungles of Chult and might want a change of air.

Opportunity for other people to GM

We all know those forever GMs in our group (I’m the one in mine), and it can be tiresome for them to be constantly running games for you players. Why not take these holidays as the perfect moment to allow them to play as a player for once? Maybe use your GM’s world and run an adventure in which the players are all elves helping Santa on his journey, or create your own condensed world for holiday-themed one-shots that the whole group can keep playing every holiday! I’m sure that GM will be very thankful for being able to play for once, which can in a way be considered a great holiday gift?

Run other games

Your gaming group all show up to play as always, but it’s New Year’s Eve today. That’s when you can maybe pick up a board game and give your weekly game a break. I’m pretty sure you can find a way to make it holiday themed! (maybe you all have to show up with ugly sweaters?). If you plan on playing a roleplaying game, why not try other stuff different from your usual game? Grab Tales from the Loop and have an adventure in which you play as kids investigating why is it not snowing for Christmas this year in your little home town. A Dread game in which you have to escape from Krampus can be a lot of fun as well. Solving the mystery of the Holiday assassin can be quite some fun as well. Be inventive! Use the holidays as an excuse to play and invent a different story from the ones you are used to!

Perfect Time to Introduce new people

Is that cousin you haven’t seen in a long time coming for the holidays? Maybe it’s time for them to learn how to become a ranger in the wilds. What about that grandpa that always asks what it is you do weekly with your friends? Grab an easy TTRPG to introduce them to the hobby. The fewer rules they have to memorize, the easier it will be to have them understand what is going on and jump right in. Is that friend still looking forward to know what those horror games you play with dice are all about? Have them come and play a session with your gaming group or family. Many people have their loved ones come together during holidays! That’s the perfect time to create new gaming groups or have them discover how fun these games can actually be.

Have special events in your campaigns

Something I’ve also heard people do is use the holidays as an excuse to run your Holiday special session from your campaign. It’s possible Santa comes visit the famous group of adventurers because he needs help with something. What if a cult leader of Cthulhu dresses up and invites people to an event to create one big sacrifice in your Trails of Cthulhu game?

Wanna keep it simple? Maybe it’s just a special event and you tell your players to do an invisible friend game in which every party member has to gift each other a present their character would create or gift them. If you want to take it a step further, you can have the players create or buy that thing in real life and gift it to the player of that character while roleplaying the gifting scene.

There’s also the chance a carnival or special event is held in some cities during the holidays in your game setting, meaning the Player Characters might want to stop fighting the hordes from the BBEG for a few days to relax and have a fun time at those places. Create something special, unique! There are tons of ideas on the internet you can steal, or content you can buy and port into your own games!


The holidays, and particularly any kind of special event from our world can serve as the perfect opportunity to give a slight or harsh twist to your usual gaming sessions. Why not give it a try? Attempting to do something different this way can create very unique experiences you might not forget anytime soon! What’s more, the player group might end up looking forward to that same time next year to do it again.

Most people are cheerier during these events, meaning they’ll be looking forward to having fun, and will do their best to improve the experience. Players might give their all in usual sessions, but these rare special occasions usually stand out!

What’s your most memorable holiday memory? Be it from any sort of celebration! Make sure to let me know in the comments below!