When is GTA Online’s winter update? 2021 event start date, rewards & more

Santa Claus with a snowball in GTA OnlineRockstar Games

GTA Online’s winter update will be live before you know it, but just exactly when will Rockstar’s annual party get underway? Here’s what we know. 

Ever since GTA Online launched, Rockstar Games have celebrated real-world holidays with in-game events, giving players new content to get their teeth stuck into.

Each year, players look forward to the summer and winter parties, with the festive season being especially exciting given there are usually free gifts up for grabs.

This year should be no different, either, as Festive Surprise 2021 isn’t too far away. So, here’s what we can expect to see.

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GTA Online festive surprise posterRockstar Games
GTA Online’s Christmas update has always been known as Festive Surprise.

GTA Online Festive Surprise 2021 start date & time

In terms of when the Festive Surprise update usually goes live, the GTA developers have stuck to a set certain window every year.

The update usually hits the game’s servers in the third week of December, on the 18th, 19th, or 20th. Though, it might drop a bit later this time around.

This year the final Thursday before Christmas is on the 23rd, so Festive Surprise could go live right around then. It always ended in the first week of January, however, it depends to how much content Rockstar has up their sleeve as to when it ends.

GTA Online Festive Surprise 2021 free gifts and rewards

Previous Festive Surprise updates have come chock full of free rewards. These consist of daily log-in rewards and discounts that last for the whole event.

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We know there will be some kind of rewards coming, but we don’t know exactly what the free stuff will be. In the past, there have been free t-shirts, cars, and weapons included. So, we should hopefully get a good mix this year too.

Look for a mix of both log-in rewards and event-long discounts combined together, rewarding both dedicated and casual players.

GTA Online Festive SurpriseRockstar Games
Festive Surprise has happened every year in GTA Online since 2014.

When will the snow be in GTA Online?

Snow falling all around around Los Santos has been a staple since the first-ever Festive Surprise event. So definitely expect to see it return.

The white stuff will make roads slicker, and as a result driving will be a bit more difficult. Snow also means snowball fights around the map, so be prepared to get sniped by an icy surprise.

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Buildings and streets will also have holiday decorations up too which means snowmen, Christmas trees, and wooden reindeers all over the place.

If anything else changes, we’ll be sure to update this article, so make sure you check back in with us!