This is the sixth year of putting together a Xbox Gift guide for the holiday season. I've worked on compiling what I believe is a solid list of the bundles that will be available, which are the best and a wide range of games along with some other things that might be great for that gamer in your life.
Perhaps you're just looking to treat yourself over the holidays, that is of course entirely up to you. This guide is mostly focused on US/CAD options and that's about it for the general opening information on this detailed guide.
If you're buying anything, we have Microsoft/Xbox Store affiliate links added that automatically switch to your region and help support the work we do on the site. I hope you find this helpful and that it’s updated for this season well.
Xbox Series X/S Bundles
This is the next generation console family, and while there are no bundles for this year there still are the two options. We even reviewed the Xbox Series X and highly suggest both console options as your choice for gaming in the years to follow. Very powerful, well designed and silent devices. They’re also fueled by the wonderful Xbox Game Pass which is discussed further below.
Check our Xbox Series X Review
Click here for the Xbox Series X Console Store Page (Auto-Region Change)
Click here for the Xbox Series S Console Store Page (Auto-Region Change)
Xbox One Bundles
The Xbox One has never been cheaper or offered as great of deals as it does today. You get the option of a super affordable base model that's greatly engineered. If you just want a wide range of games ranging from Original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One then the Xbox One S is a solid selection.
It has a vast library of titles, once again made even better through Xbox Game Pass if you jump into the subscription service. Now with that, we don’t have any linking options since you’ll likely just find these physically in stores or at re-sale sites outside of the Microsoft Store since they’ve stopped carrying the Xbox One family of consoles at this point in time.
In this part of the guide we've broken it down into general games for the regular gamers, family friendly titles and free to play games to check out once on Xbox Live! I'll also mention Xbox Play Anywhere titles work on both Xbox and Windows 10 when bought digitally. Past that, games with Xbox Series X/S Optimizations will have that noted. Those titles take advantage of new console features.
Best Holiday General Games
Gears 5 (Xbox Play Anywhere) - Xbox Store Page
-The latest chapter in the Gears of War franchise brings a largely campaign experience, with multiplayer focused action and cooperative modes. Escape together against the creatures out there, or band together to survive waves in Horde. It's also Xbox Series X/S Optimized for 4k 60fps HDR gameplay with the option to do 120fps too on the higher end console.
Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Play Anywhere) - Xbox Store Page
-The Forza Horizon series is always a blast and this lovely British setting is just stunning. It's an open world, cooperative driving title where you explore all of the seasons in a dynamic world. Xbox Series X/S Optimization included.
Cyberpunk 2077 - Xbox Store Page
-The ultimate Cyberpunk game of your dreams, this brings one insanely detailed and expansive world to explore. It’s a very mature title with lots of customization and choice driven scenarios across one amazing environment within Night City. It will eventually be Xbox Series X/S Optimized too.
Sea of Thieves (Xbox Play Anywhere) - Xbox Store Page
-This is a cooperative blast where you team up with friends or random people to sail! Become the pirates you've always wanted to be in this epic large scale online world. It’s constantly getting updated with new content to enjoy and more ways to explore. It’s also Xbox Series X/S Optimized as well.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare- Xbox Store Page
-The series heads back to Modern Warfare with expanded multiplayer, a gripping current campaign and an expansive cooperative spec ops experience. Another good option is Warzone, a free to play spin-off battle royale that you can check out.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Xbox Store Page
-This collection is the definitive way to play the Halo franchise. It includes the main titles of Halo Combat Evolved to 4 alongside others. That’s Halo 3 ODST and Halo Reach though you may need to purchase those separately if not on Xbox Game Pass. This package has all of the multiplayer maps, modes and ways to play including Firefight for cooperative times. Work together with friends through the campaigns or in coop and even competitive options. This is Xbox Series X/S Optimized.
The Outer Worlds - Xbox Store Page
-It’s basically Fallout in space, do whatever you want in this wacky and bizarre RPG experience set in a colony within the wonders of this special solar system. What a riot of a time.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - Xbox Store Page
-Xbox One X enhanced with a native 4k resolution this is one remarkable world that presents the ultimate Western adventure. Play by yourself through an intense campaign or ride with others in multiple online modes. You can now buy just the Red Dead Online if you’d like outside of the story to play with others.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Xbox Store Page
-The final chapter in Lara Croft's origin trilogy sends her to the jungle for an epic adventure where her very skills are pushed to the absolute limit with a villain leads Trinity.
Control - Xbox Store Page
-Work through this crazy narrative driven psychological thriller from Remedy, as you deal with an office where everything is going insane.
Borderlands 3 - Xbox Store Page
-The well loved shooter looter returns while sending players out into space and beyond the perils of Pandora’s wasteland environments. Lots of DLC has released and this is Xbox Series X/S Optimized.
Star Wars Battlefront II - Xbox Store Page
-Xbox One X enhanced, this game is a gorgeous display of the Star Wars universe across a wide selection of planets from all three eras. It continues to grow and get support even at this point towards the Rise of Skywalker.
Best Holiday Family Games
Minecraft - Xbox Store Page
-It's a must have for the family audience since it's essentially a staple at this point. It's the ultimate sandbox for creativity and interactions with others as you quest these beautiful randomly generated worlds together.
One of the biggest games of all time and a huge draw for all ages. With this new Better Together version players on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Pocket Edition, Windows 10 and VR can all play with each other! There are Realms for online play and it’s constantly getting updates with tons of content.
Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville - Xbox Store Page
-The wacky plants and zombies shooter is a blast for all ages bringing a wide range of customizable creatures for either team. There’s expanded cooperative modes, and even more multiplayer action than ever before.
LEGO DC Super-Villains - Xbox Store Page
-LEGO games are always a good choice, the latest release has you playing as the villains against a fake Justice League.
Minecraft Dungeons- Xbox Store Page
-The world of Minecraft has been expanded upon with this great coop effort. Raid dungeons for loot together in a world designed after the style of Minecraft. It features crossplay across platforms and continues to be expanded upon with fresh content all the time.
Slime Rancher - Xbox Store Page
-This is an absolutely adorable and addictive farming type game. You run a space farm sucking slimes and feeding them food in order to get items to sell for money. This allows farm expansion, there's a whole story it as well. It's very appropriate for all ages as I'm sure anyone can get charmed by the smiling slimes.
Free to Play Games
A simple selection of titles will be presented below as it’s easier than breaking each of them down. There’s also a listing for a top ten selection of games as well to help you find more options that cost nothing to hop in on.
Call of Duty: Warzone
World of Tanks
Roblox (Great for Kids!)
Crackdown 1 & 2
Xbox Game Pass
Think of this like the definitive Netflix for games, it's got well over 100 games and costs $9.99 a month. There are many opportunities to trial it as well. It's got a nice selection of popular Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Original Xbox games.
This has continued to grow and as first party titles release they're automatically added. This includes games like Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Sea of thieves, The Outer Worlds or Forza. You also get those first party games day one through the subscription service, it’s amazing!
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
An even better deal that bundles in your Gold, and allows access to PC titles as well as Xbox One games which is just an insane deal. It’s like what’s above, but combined and ready for the future. There are also some special perks that occasionally show up too, like DLC in games. On top of that it also has EA Play included. Again, so many mega hits and from day one you get the first party options.
The Xbox One has continued to build its library and the growing Xbox Backwards Compatibility that now has around 500 Xbox 360 titles and some Original Xbox titles as well. If you own any of these old games you can either download them digitally or just place the disc in to play it.
I hope you found this helpful for checking out content on the platform for this festive season. There’s a lot, and this should have covered the basics.
You will also need a Xbox Live subscription in order to play online, get free games and benefits of the membership. These run for about $60 or $70 a year though there are deals all the time and most consoles come with trials to check it out.
It's well worth the money for the experiences. You also get four free games a month, two for Xbox One and two Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 titles. I would suggest getting Xbox Game Pass Ultimate instead as it provides this as part of a better subscription service with so many games to play.
I also suggest checking out the LucidSound or Turtle Beach line of headsets, they some affordable models if you're looking at getting a more professional and much better quality device. We’ve reviewed headsets from both groups and highly recommend them.
If you’ve ever wanted cool clothing and gear styled after Xbox, you can visit gear.xbox.com to see a wide range of cool gear including the majestic Xbox Onesie. That can be ordered from the link here which is noted as the Xbox Hooded Union Suit
EA Play (Now Included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate)
This is definitely one of the best deals available on Xbox One, for $30 a year you get dozens of EA titles to download and play. These include big titles on Xbox One and Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 games. This includes games such as Mass Effect, Titanfall, Sports games and more! I do suggest getting Xbox Game Pass Ultimate however since it includes EA Play within it.
Watching Streaming Video Content on Xbox
The Xbox consoles can all download great apps for watching regular video content. I’d like to highlight some that are definitely worth grabbing since they’re free outside of their own separate subscriptions for said services.
Access to thousands of movies, and shows among so much original content.
Access to the past library of movies and shows from Disney alongside new original content. There will be Star in Canada too that expands the service to include adult content from say 20th Century.
Access to a wonderful selection of delightfully British content including that of BBC, a grand offering of movies and shows. In Canada the service is available for $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year, there's even a free trial available.
HBO Max (United States) / Crave (Canada)
Similar yet different these offer the HBO content and depending on region some Warner Brothers content across shows and films.
Check out our review of their latest big first party game or the general hub for additional coverage of what they have out there. Merry Christmas, and be sure to check back next year for another one!
Read our Gears 5 Review
View our Xbox Hub