(The Nail File)

10 Holiday Manicures That Are Festive Without Going Overboard

Red and green nails aren’t the only option.

by Lisa De Santis

Our nails, like accessories, allow us to express ourselves. Whether you have fake, natural, short or long nails, they’re the perfect blank canvas for showcasing your personality. And there’s no better time to get creative with a manicure than around the holidays. Now, you don’t need to get tiny Santas or reindeers painted on each nail, but there are lots of thoughtful and fun ways to incorporate a festive feel without going overboard.

Although the days of a single glittery accent nail are long gone, you can totally sport a trendy mismatched mani with several varying designs and colors that vibe well together. This is perfect for commitment-phobes who find it difficult to choose just one design, especially if you get a gel or powder manicure that will last you longer than two weeks.

In terms of colors, the winter holidays are all about coziness, but it’s also the time of year that’s best known for wearing darker colors like the classic Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI. Because of these two opposing feelings, you can’t go wrong with quiet luxury, creamy whites and nudes, or hot chocolate browns and brooding navy.

Another easy way to level up your mani for the holidays is to experiment with texture. This could include a velvet effect, rhinestones, or even decals. Regardless of your personal style, there are plenty of ways to allow your nails to be an extension of it.

Read on for 10 holiday manicures that are festive yet stylish.

Touch Of Red

A candy-apple red mani is chic year-round and feels especially at home during the holiday season. But this design only paints a quarter of each nail crimson for a fresh take on wearing the color. It allows you to keep things basic with a nude base, but also incorporate a festive shade. The tiny gold stud in the middle brings a little edge, too.

Glitter Dust

If full-on glitter nails feel a little too on the nose, this swatch of silver can be just the touch of shimmer you’re looking for. To add even more interest, grab a dotting tool to create some white specks and black starbursts – these intricate designs elevate the festive look while keeping it understated. There couldn’t be a more perfect mani for when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Candy Cane Swirls

This groovy design can be done with various colors, but choosing seasonal ones like reds, greens, and browns pays homage to the traditional candy canes you find this time of year. Choose a different shade for each nail as Bre Sheppard does here, or stick to one for a matchy-matchy look. Feel like a lot to you? Minimalists can paint the design on only a few nails and leave the other ones a solid color.

Chrome French

Red and green not your vibe? We feel you. The addition of chrome glaze over this creamy French manicure gives an icy feel to the look without having to paint on literal snowflakes or snowmen. While the pointed almond tips are especially flattering as they lengthen the fingers, you could easily replicate this design on a shorter set.

Holiday Hearts

If you already have a nude manicure but want to step it up a little bit, why not add some tiny yet adorable hearts? Even in red, green, gold, and white, they don’t feel overly Christmas-y and you can pretty much guarantee that no matter how long your mani lasts, you won’t get sick of this design. Even if it’s not your top choice for now, this is a great design for any time of year – with any colors – so, save it for later.

Winter Velvet

What goes better with winter weather than some crushed velvet? This unique polish technique uses a magnet that creates the illusion of texture even though your nails remain completely smooth to the touch. Fair warning: You will get tons of compliments.

Glimmering Gemstones

Somewhat like ornaments on a tree but more subtle, this gemstone manicure doesn’t scream “holiday” too loudly. It’s another great pick for keeping nails a neutral color with a wow factor thanks to the multicolored gems. To dress it up even further, you can draw metallic dots around each decal as seen here.

Pretty Presents

Gift yourself with these present-inspired nails. Choose a pale shade for the base with a corresponding darker color for the ribbon and bow. This design would also make a great accent nail, should you want to keep the rest of your manicure more minimalistic.

Mismatched Evergreen

Leaning into a few of the most popular trends of the moment, this combination features velvet texture, a French tip, and a nail with a tree design to create a festive mismatched mani. While the tree may feel too literal for some, the fact that it’s done with the same velvet emerald green polish ties the look together and gives it a cool not kitschy vibe.

Chocolate Ombré

Gingerbread, hot chocolate, pie; so many holiday treats come in shades of brown, which makes it easy to gravitate toward this understated ombré mani. And it’s arguably the easiest DIY option because you don’t need to create any intricate designs; just choose five different polish colors to achieve your gradient from light to dark.