With all of the festive nail polish colors — candy reds, deep greens, and icy blues — and holiday decals, there’s plenty of jolly inspiration to get you in that holiday mood. These Christmas nail ideas include snowflake decals, candy canes, glitter nails, llamas (trust us), and a bowl full of jelly’s worth of red and green accents.
Grab that extra glass of eggnog because, best case, your right hand will match your left hand when you unwrap your presents. Worst case, gloves.
22 Christmas Nail Ideas
1. Christmas Tree Nails
Save your holiday energy for eating fruitcakes by using nail stickers to create a simple-yet-festive manicure. This pack from LA-based nail salon Olive and June features reindeer, candy canes, Christmas trees and ugly sweaters.
2. Holly Jolly Christmas Nails
These bright red nails matched with a deep green Christmas floral pattern are whimsical and perfect for when you wish both joy unto everyone. You will definitely need a nail brush and dotting tool for these.
3. Red Plaid Nails
Plaid is a classic winter pattern, akin to our parents’ pattern of failing to get us what we really want every Christmas. We love this unique nail design by Aja Walton using 3M signature plaid tape, but you can also use these nail decals. Then throw on some flannel and go chop down your own Christmas tree. Preferably one without an owl living in it.
4. Matte Red and Green Christmas Nails
These matte nails have got a little bit of everything: Christmas sweater patterns, a cute little reindeer, and a shimmering gold snowflake. Using Magpie polish in Bloody Mary and Come On Eileen as well as acrylic powder in ice queen, nail artist Melissa aced this classic look.
5. Green Winter Nails
These forest green Christmas nails by manicurist Rachel Messick are adorned with gold lines and a winter forest landscape. Both can be achieved using a detail brush and nail tape. Neither can be achieved when you’re wearing mittens.
6. White Christmas Nails
Pretend you live inside a snow globe – kind of like that one cheesy holiday movie, the Truman Show. Stephanie used a stencil to add Christmas trees to a starry sunset backdrop, but you can choose whatever base polish color combination you like best for your nails or miniature manager scene. Don’t forget the stack of TPS reports in the corner.
7. Christmas Gnome Nails
Gnomes aren’t just for that one neighbor with the too-cute lawn. You can create these nails inspired by @glossxglow with a little bit of patience, a detail brush, and then a lot more patience.
8. Snowman Nails
One up Anna by building a snowman on the tip of your finger. Freehand these snowmen with a detail brush or, if you’re not quite up to the challenge, with a stencil. The starry glitter scene at the top of the nails is done with “Home for Christmas” polish by JLLacquer.
9. Polar Bear Nails
The most adorable hand-painted polar bear this side of a Coke-guzzling corporate shill is a great icebreaker and really stands out against these snowy white coffin nails by Emily Gilmour.
10. Abstract Christmas Nails
11. Mistletoe Nails
Looking to get lucky under the mistletoe this year? Careful: That’s how our cousin got a debilitating case of the cooties in ‘15. All the same, you can paint your nails like these by Amy Holland and dangle your fingers over someone’s head. Use GelBottle’s Teddy Biab polish as your base.
12. Pink and Gold Ornament Manicure
This holiday manicure by @nailsby__emilyrachael was created with GelBottle polish in Rose Gold, Pink Rose, and Daisy. Use a nail brush for the small details and nail tape for the diagonal lines. Now you’ll have at least two ornaments the cat doesn’t break — three if you include the kevlar tree topper we bought at the Army surplus store.
13. Candy Cane Nails
These candy cane press-ons are perfect for Christmastime, come in both stiletto and coffin shapes, and require neither tape nor steady hands — unlike the superb wrapping job we did after too many peppermint patties.
14. Red and Gold Polka Dot nails
These Christmas nails by artist Paulina look simple, but nobody ever said the holidays had to be complicated. Except for our roommate, who starts freaking out right around December 10. Use Kinetics Beauty polish in Mild Flaws and Rebel Heart, Cirque polish in Reflektor, and a nail dotting tool to get those perfectly shaped circles.
15. Christmas Lights Nails
These nails by manicurist Kassandra Jones are significantly easier to pull off than untangling your mess of Christmas lights. Just how did you manage to tie in a cluster of stringed beads into that, anyway? With this design, your nails will definitely be “lit” this holiday season. You can either freehand the lights with a nail brush or use these tiny stick-on nail crystals.
16. Abstract Christmas Nails
Using The GelBottle colors in Jungle, Almond, and Vegas, nail artist Abigail creates this beautiful abstract nail design perfect for Christmas and all winter long. Wait — Christmas isn’t the end of winter?
17. Reindeer Press-On Almond Nails
18. Sparkly Christmas Nails
This sparkly ombré manicure by Imarni Nails has tons of twinkle — and the decals help take it to Star of Bethlehem territory. Even better, you can keep them for New Year’s Eve, provided you don’t touch anything for a week.
19. Penguin Christmas Nails
If you’ve got an artistic bent, try something like these cute penguins by Hang Nguyen. Did you know there are no penguins in the Arctic or South Pole? That is, there weren’t any — until you showed up with these.
20. Green and Gold Press On Nails
These press-on nails from Nail Honey Press Ons will deliver a little glitz, glamour, green and gold, and, apparently, alliteration. Oops, we did it again.
21. Christmas Llama Nails
Look, reindeer might be more traditional, but llamas can be super festive by adding in a little snow, gold embellishment, and Christmas colors. Yes, this trick could work with any animal — like a wolverine. (You’re welcome for cluing you in on next year’s trend.) You can re-create this look with some llama nail stencils and a nail brush.
22. Blue Snowflake Ombre Manicure
Save time this holiday by using these snowflake press-on nails from Press and Slay MIA and by not buying anyone gifts this year — tell them you’ve renounced commercialism or some such.