The 9 Best Holiday Manicure Ideas That Are Actually Chic — And Not Cheesy

Let’s get festive.

by Natasha Marsh
Holiday Manicure

How people choose to celebrate the holidays is so subjective. One might indulge fully in the festive spirit and sport an “ugly” Christmas sweater at all holiday events, or put their tree up right after Halloween. There are also those who go more minimalist and take a subtle approach, opting for simple pleasures like seasonal coffee drinks, cozy Hallmark holiday movies, and the occasional sparkling ensemble. Regardless of where you fall on the celebration spectrum, your nails should match your energy. Luckily, there are plenty of holiday manicure ideas to take you through the rest of the year.

Yes, between the three-dimensional Santa motifs and reindeer sticker art and the classic coats of silver and red polish, festive nail options truly run the gamut this year. Regardless of what look you go for, celebrity nail artist Vanessa Sanchez McCullough recommends keeping your digits polished for an extra layer of protection during the colder months. “Traditional nail polish, gel polish, or even a hard gel and acrylic coating are great protection from the dry, chilly weather,” she says. “And make sure to slather your nails with a great cuticle oil so you’re all set for the season.”

And although there’s really no wrong way to do a holiday manicure, if you’re having a hard time deciding, TZR put together a jolly list of nine solid options for you to try out. Don't worry though — not one of these picks are cheesy. No, these merry and bright statement manicures are great for any level of holiday spirit. No matter what your comfort level or DIY skill is, there’s something here for you.

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Frosty Holiday

Pair your winter whites with a gorgeous elegant frost or rhinestone manicure. After all, diamonds are everyone’s best friend.

Abstract Decor

Eschew the traditional prints and patterns of the season and go more conceptual with your manicure this year. Throw some splashes of green, red, and gold onto your nails and call it a (holi)day.

Super Sweet Nail Art

For many, the holidays are a time to unwind, chill out, and relax with loved ones. Cozy up by the fireplace with this subtle, yet festive manicure.

Tree Trimmings

Allow the garland and tinsel of the season inspire your next holiday manicure. The great thing about this one is you can play around with which decor you want to highlight. Just remember to aways prep your nails before attempting. “Get a cheap nail brush, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and brush the nail plate before polishing,” says celebrity manicurist, Kimmie Kyees. “Pay special attention to the cuticle area and make sure the nail is free from any debris, oils, or contaminants.”

Holiday Light Show

It’s the holidays and the one thing you’ll probably find yourself doing is putting up some festive Christmas lights. Don’t stop at the tree though — your nails can join in on the fun, too.

Dot Party

According to Emily H. Rudman, founder of nail lacquer brand Emilie Heathe, dots and accent nails can be great embellishments to a darker manicure, tying into a wintry holiday theme. She also recommends testing this one out on long nails so there is more room for the design.

Full Christmas

Sometimes more is more, particularly around the holidays. Go all out with a different seasonal symbol for each nail. For maintenance, McCullough suggests keeping cuticles trimmed and properly conditioned.

Gold Party

“Metallic polishes reach their peak popularity during the holiday months,” Rudman tells TZR. “Metallics are festive as they match twinkling holiday lights and ornaments.” Gold chrome can also work nicely with a variety of holiday ensembles, perfect for all your upcoming parties.

Candy Cane Lane

Candy canes and Christmas go hand-in-hand, so why not bring the cheer to your fingertips? Red-and-white striped candy cane nails are a surefire way to be festive this holiday season. Rudman recommends using long-wearing top coats to extend the life of your manicure.