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25 Festive Christmas Nail Ideas to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Everyone has a different way of celebrating the holidays. Some go full-throttle, wearing a different “ugly” Christmas sweater for every day of December, decking their halls (and the entire exterior of their homes) with more lights than Paris, and practicing for a perfect cork-pop on New Year’s Eve. Others prefer a more subtle approach, hardly dabbling in the traditional red-and-green shades of the season, preferring hints of sparkle over in-your-face festiveness.

The same goes for holiday manicures. If you’re picturing your nails covered in three-dimensional merry motifs — perhaps a cotton-bearded Santa and all of his reindeer, complete with pointy antlers and working light-up nose for Rudolph — there’s a nail artist who can make that happen for you. Prefer a simple coat of silver that will take you through to 2020? Your polish options are endless.

There’s really no wrong way to get your nails ready for the holidays, but if you’re having a hard time deciding on what manicure to get in these jovial last couple weeks of the year, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites. From Instagram’s greatest nail artists to Fashion Week inspiration to our very own editor in chief Michelle Lee’s lovely hands, you’ll find the perfect holiday-party mani that’s right for your particular level of spirit.

Negative-Space Green Glitter

Paintbox put it best in describing this option available at its salons: “Sophisticated negative space tempers ultra-luxe, luminous glitter.” And while this would look amazing with a glitter polish in any color, the green makes it a perfect, festive pick for the holidays.

Seasonal Symbols

There’s so much to celebrate about these nails. Florida-based nail artist Devin Strebler incorporated multiple themes into this manicure, from a cable-knit texture in royal blue to a red gift bow to an incredibly detailed nutcracker. Shimmering gold details and Swarovski crystals make it especially festive.

Artful Ornaments

Kane combines the subtlety of glossy, nude nails with eye-catching colors by dotting shimmering circles on her clients nails to create the look of ornaments. They’re “strung together” with delicately painted, curving black lines.

Snowy Silver

Spotted backstage at New York Fashion Week, this silver manicure gets a wintry upgrade with snow-like dots scattered not only on the nails, but on one of the fingers as well.

Plaid Accents

Classic red is perfect for Christmas on its own, but the stripes expertly placed by London-based nail artist Jay Deau make her client’s ring-finger nails look like they’re wrapped in pretty, plaid paper.

Golden Arches

Prefer gold over silver? Try a look like this one sported by Allure editor in chief Michelle Lee. “I’m not opposed to Santa or snow globe nails but if you don’t wanna get that wild, I love a metallic on negative space or a neutral base,” she says of her manicure on Instagram.

Superstars

Prefer your stars painted on? Try this manicure by Betina Goldstein. She used Lauren B. Beauty’s gorgeously glittery 33 Carats polish to paint stars on her bare nails, defining them with the brand’s black Paparazzi polish.

Green Tortoiseshell

Tortoiseshell nails have been having a capital-M Moment, and they’re made holiday-perfect by simply switching up the usual color scheme of browns and yellows to one focused on greens, like this manicure by nail artist Savannah Walker.

Snowball Pearls

No polish is required for this elegant nail art idea by Betina Goldstein. Glued-on faux pearls in two rows down the center of each nail are reminiscent of snowballs ready to be thrown at family members visiting for the holidays.

Ombré Snow

An ombré French manicure (sometimes called a “baby boomer” manicure) seems like just another pretty mani any other time of year, but it has a magically snowy feel around the holidays. Dress it up a little for holiday parties by adding a metallic dot near the cuticle, like Savannah Walker did.

Buffalo Plaid

Allure editor chief Michelle Lee’s red and black buffalo plaid manicure will make you want to throw on some flannel and chop down your own Christmas tree.

Starry Night

Inspired by the night sky, Natalie Minerva of @nail_swag on Instagram created this magical star and moon-studded masterpiece, which stood out beautifully against the pale, shimmering ivory base shade.

Holly Berry

There’s no snow in South Florida, but Boca Raton’s Nails by Marcy proves there’s still plenty of holiday spirit with this holly-inspired manicure. The red berries are even three-dimensional.

Winter Details

Nail artist Katie Masters took Christmas cuteness to new levels with this nail look, which consisted of tiny bird-inspired Santas and dainty holiday trinkets, like cranberries and hanging ornaments.

Pretty Polka Dots

There was no need to expertly dot polish onto the red and gold base of this manicure — manicurist Marisa Carmichael used tiny, reflective stickers for an extra-perfect finish.


Holographic Glitter

This mesmerizing manicure by Hamptons-based nail artist Regina Rodriguez is all you need to accessorize any basic black and white party look. The shimmering rainbow hues will catch the light wherever you walk, so people are bound to be asking you about your digits all night.

Gems Galore

Who says a manicure requires nail polish? Naomi Yasuda attached crystals of different shapes and sizes to Tina Leung’s long, uncolored nails, adding glamour to literally everything she’ll do with her hands.

Burgundy Base

We adore the contrast of the deep, moody merlot base color paired with silver and gold crystals — the perfect design for completing any holiday party ensemble this season.

Stars & Circles

Mia of @superflynails on Instagram is responsible for this work of art consisting of little gold stars and silver circles set over a clear base.

Winter Wonderland

To re-create these majestic, winter snowstorm-themed nails, you’ll need crystals from your local craft store, a tiny detail tool to make your snowflake, and various shades of white, creamy ivory, pale pink, and blue.

A Hint o’ Bronze

These geometric, sequin-emblazoned nails are the work of nail technician Damisa Ramdin, who used shimmering bronze and ivory accents against the baby-pink base shade for a festive finish.

Winter Wonderland

To re-create these majestic, winter snowstorm-themed nails, you’ll need crystals from your local craft store, a tiny detail tool to make your snowflake, and various shades of white, creamy ivory, pale pink, and blue.

Santa, Baby

Ugly Christmas sweater was the name of the game when it came to this Santa and candy cane-centric design, which was crafted by Elle, aka @enamelle on Instagram.

Starry Night

Inspired by the night sky, Natalie Minerva of @nail_swag on Instagram created this magical star and moon-studded masterpiece, which stood out beautifully against the pale, shimmering ivory base shade.

Retro Shapes

Portland nail artist Sarah Kane put a retro spin on this manicure, featuring shapes that look straight out of the intro to a 1960s Christmas TV special. The matte finish on a nude base gives the fun design a more subtle look.

Icy Elements

Miss Pop used real diamonds from nail-art jeweler Vero Krew to create this especially luxurious holiday manicure for Nail Pro. There’s no better season for nails covered in ice.

Peppermint

Manicurist Mar y Sol Inzerillo is responsible for our latest holiday nail obsession: this red-and-white-striped candy cane imitation she posted to Instagram with the caption, ” Candy cane peppermint patty #nails are always a good idea! Don’t you agree?” Of course we do.



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