Since Since Red and Blue released in North America in 1998, the Pokémon series has introduced its players to collectible monsters based on everything from common animals to more abstract concepts, including holidays. With all that can go into a single Pokémon design, holidays are a natural source of inspiration to pull from, with each carrying association with distinct imagery, seasonality, and folklore. There are a handful of holiday-based Pokémon, but a certain few stand out the most via their seasonal themes.
Holiday-themed Pokémon are likely familiar to many regular enjoyers of Pokémon spin-offs. The series’popular mobile game Pokémon GO holds regular seasonal events, including those for holidays. Meanwhile, the trading card game has a tradition of releasing holiday packs, with a recent leak revealing the Pokémon TCGHowever, it’s the main series that’s primarily responsible for introducing new Pokémon with each generation, and so it’s the main series that dictates which Pokémon those spin-offs have to choose from in tailoring encounter and card pools to a season.
Pokémon with direct roots in individual holidays are quite few and far between. While it isn’t hard to put together a group of Pokémon with a holiday theme in mind, that’s largely thanks to broader symbolism and imagery. For example, Luvdisc is shaped like a Valentine’s Day heart and represents romance by virtue of its basis on tropical fish like the kissing gourami, a real-life pink fish that appears to kiss members of its species when it comes across them. Stantler and its evolution, Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘Wyrdeer, wouldn’t look out of place in a Christmas display, but they have no apparent connection to the holiday on a lore level. But the rare Pokémon with intentional holiday inspiration are all the more distinctive for it, contributing to their overall success as Pokémon to varying degrees.
# 3 –Gold and Silver’s Delibird Is Just A Christmas Pokémon
Introduced in Pokémon Gold and SilverDelibird is the first creature that’ll likely come to mind when thinking of holiday Pokémon. Between its white and red markings, its penchant for appearing in snowy climates, and a signature move that involves it pulling surprises from its bag-shaped tail, The penguinlike Pokémon is clearly themed after Christmas. More specifically, it’s a Santa Claus figure, with its fluffy white chest resembling a long beard and weird Pokédex entries about the Pokémon’s generosity. rounded features and large eyes invoke the friendliness and positivity commonly associated with the Christmas season.
Unfortunately, Delibird has difficulty distinguishing itself beyond its novelty. Its previously mentioned signature move, Present, is unreliable to use in all respects. It can have one of four effects based on RNG, but the base power it usually rolls is as low as that On top of that, its accuracy is sub-optimal, and Delibird can only naturally learn one alternative move to it. A player of the generic move Tackle, and its chance of healing the opponent is higher than its chance of dealing its maximum damage. can teach the Pokémon some good moves via TMs, but as the bird has a base stat total on par with common unevolved Pokémon like Aron, many players don’t find it worth training. Even so, the strength of its theming allows Delibird to feel While it won’t make many players’ teams, it’s an effective Christmas Pokémon.
# 2 –Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire’s Jirachi References Tanabata
Jirachi, one of two Mythical Pokémon introduced in Ruby and SapphireTanabata, also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival where, is known as the Wish Pokémon. While its star-shaped head immediately signals its association with granting wishes, the tags hanging from that star’s points take it further by referencing Tanabata. celebrations begin on July 7. Its festivities include writing wishes on strips of paper that look much like the ones on Jirachi’s head and hanging them from bamboo branches.
The rare Pokemon’s character and lore may also reflect the folklore behind the festival. Tanabata celebrates an annual romantic meeting between the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, normally separated by the Milky Way. According to its Pokédex entries, Jirachi hibernates for thousand-year periods, and can only use its wish-granting abilities during the week between those periods while its awake. Pokémon: Jirachi –Wish MakerBut it also predicates Jirachi’s awakening on the Pokémon having a special friend to keep it company until it sleeps again –thus rendering that friendship bittersweet.
As of 2021, players can get Jirachi in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl for free by playing the game on a Nintendo Switch console containing save data for Sword and ShieldThe Pokémon was seldom seen in the mainline series prior to this, only available through official events. But even if it’s less elusive than it once was –and even if its festive elements aren’t its core –the romantic and divine associations that Jirachi gains from its inspirations allow it to retain a mythical air.
# 1 –Sun and Moon’s Pumpkaboo Line: Great Halloween Pokémon
Like Delibird, Sun and MoonThey’re Ghost-types with jack-o’-lanterns for bodies, and Pumpkaboo’s top half resembles a cartoon bat. Another feature they share with Delibird is possession of a holiday- themed signature move, called Trick-or-Treat. Also, like real pumpkins, members of the Pumpkaboo line can come in various sizes.
Unlike Delibird’s, however, Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist’s gimmicks improve the Pokémon’s usability in addition to serving as entertaining further incorporations of their holiday motifs. Trick-or-Treat adds Ghost to a target’s types. Ghost is effective against itself, improving the Pumpkaboo line’s efficacy with its movepool, and unlike most Ghost-type moves, Trick-or-Treat works on Normal- and Fighting-type Pokémon, broadening their weaknesses. Meanwhile, Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist’s stats change with their size. Larger specimens sacrifice speed for higher HP and Attack It’s less surprising for a Pokemon player to want to train and bond with a Gourgeist than a Delibird, and it’s more likely for a trainer to have one at all than a Jirachi. Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist. are accessible and simple, but effective, well-designed Pokémon that don’t only embody their festive origins, but are elevated by them. This makes them the stronges t examples of holiday-themed Pokémon in the series so far.
It’s somewhat surprising that the series has seen so few holidays-themed Pokémon to date, particularly considering its continuous introduction of regions based on different countries. Every new generation introduces several Pokémon based on different cultures’ traditions, but world holidays have gone largely unexplored. That said, the Pokémon revealed in Scarlet and VioletIt’s possible that future promotional material or the games’ planned release in November will add to’s official trailers so far are off to a good start in communicating the upcoming games’ focus on their Spain-inspired setting. Pokemon‘s lineup of more festive monsters.
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