18 Festive Nail Art Ideas, Zero of Which Include Santa



This past summer, Skittles manicures were all the rage. Now that the weather has dipped well below the fifties, it’s time for more seasonally-appropriate nail designs. Yes, ’tis the season for Fair Isle patterns, glitter, and muted tones. It’s Christmas time, baby, and nothing brings me more joy than ogling my fresh, sparkly festive manicure while scarfing down my favorite comfort foods and binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Office holiday party coming up? Or maybe you’re ready for some personal holiday cheer. Ahead, 18 festive designs to inspire you this holiday season—and the next, and the next.

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Seeing Red

N.Y.C. nail artist Kia Stewart (owner of Brooklyn nail salon Lux K) specializes in minimalist designs and fine lines. Case and point: The classic red manicure updated with negative space and teeny tiny red-gold swirls.

Twinkle, Twinkle

Opt for a dainty, simple nude manicure with silver flecks peppered on the tips.

Work of Art

If you’re not quite ready to jump into holiday reds and green, liven up your nails with a colorful ombre that mixes neutral tones like beige and olive with oranges and berries.

Fudge Me Up

The holiday season isn’t complete without chocolate. Sweeten your nails with this delicious fudge-colored polish—add a few skinny gold lines for a little razzle dazzle.


So you subscribed to Disney+ and haven’t stopped watching The Cheetah Girls. Channel your inner Galleria, Chanel, Aqua, and Dorinda with sparkly gold and brown leopard spots.

Black Diamond

This kitty cat stiletto-shaped nail design is the cooler, goth sister of the classic French manicure. Using a beige base, outline the tip of the nail with a thick black line.

Twisted French

Leave it up to the Miss Pop to flip the French twist—literally. Here, she brings the end of the white tip all the way down to the nail bed to create what she calls the “Arch French.” Get it?

Olive Branch

A full set of glitter nails can be a bit much. For this design, save the frills for just two nails and paint the remaining fingers in a glossy moss.

Candy Cane

For those who blast “All I Want For Christmas Is You” the moment Thanksgiving leftovers are finished, this one’s for you. Each finger is decorated with Christmas signatures, including peppermint stripes, melted snow, and bows.

Sparkles and Marble

What makes this set special are the three takes on gold: Green and gold shimmer, honey gold marble, and straight up sparkles.

Red Negative Space

When you can’t decide whether you want full-red nails or negative space, Kia Stewart’s design gives you the best of both worlds.

Chess, Not Checkers

N.Y.C. artist Mei Kawajiri whipped up a design that works for Halloween and Christmas. Using cream and black polishes, she created a chess board design inspired by a Joker card.

French Girl

French manicures became popular again this past summer, and early aughts babes can rest easy because the craze hasn’t died down one bit. Opt for Bella Hadid’s take on the classic French, which adds a white swirl drawn along the side of the nail.


Keep it simple with a white, iridescent polish that shines bright when the light hits it. Not unlike a fresh snowfall, right?

Ready for This Jelly?

Yes, jelly nails are a having a moment. Here, Natalie Minerva adds dimension to the lucite nail by outlining the nail shape with a thin black line.

Ice Princess

There’s no such thing as too much “ice” on your nails. Drip drip.

Infinity Stones

Sorry Avengers, it was really Michelle Won who took all the Infinity Stones and turned it into this beautiful masterpiece.

Gold Half Moon

If you just want a subtle design, opt for a clear or light pink nail base, then add gold half moons to the bottom of each nail.

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