Christmas is right around the corner, and while that typically means planning out gift ideas and decking the halls, as beauty lovers, we can't help but wonder what we're going to do with our nails. You too? We thought you might be, that's why we searched high and low through the Instagram rabbit hole to deliver you with 28 must-try Christmas manicure ideas this holiday season. Whether you're looking for a minimalist red and green nail art idea or a maximalist sweater-inspired manicure, we've got you covered. And hey, if you start now, you might be able to fit a few in before the season's over. Whatever you do, just be sure to start each idea off with a basecoat so that it will last through your holiday parties, happy hours, and family get-togethers.
Candy Cane Edges
Red and white peppermint candy is a major staple during the holidays. To show your love for the treat, consider this candy cane-inspired manicure idea. To create the look, start with a white base. Next, you can either carefully paint a red ring around the outer edge of each nail and top it off with white stripes, or use a red nail polish pen to create red dashes on top of the white. Whichever you choose, be sure to have a touch-up brush nearby so you can easily clean up any messy edges.
Negative Space Nutcracker
We're going nuts over these Nutcracker nails (can you blame us?). The minimalist design offers maximal Christmas appeal with just five colors. If you're going to try to DIY the design, grab bottles of red, green, black, gold, and white polish, a toothpick for fine details, and a touch-up brush for clean-up.
Half Holly Berry
We love the simplicity of these half berry, half negative space nails on Betina Goldstein. She even included a tutorial on her IGTV so you can get in on the action at home.
Classic Christmas Colors
Who doesn't love a little tinsel action? These classic red and green nails look even more festive thanks to bold pops of silver. To create the look yourself, stock up on one of our favorite chunky glitter polishes, Essie's Luxeffects Nail Polish ($9) in Set in Stones.
These matte white nails create a snow-like base that makes the holly accents look even more dreamy. If you don't want to buy a whole set of matte colors to bring the look to life, paint as you normally would and top your glossy mani with a matte topcoat for an instant shift in the final look.
Abstract Christmas Tree
Ready for the most minimalist Christmas nail art? This manicure requires nothing but a metallic green polish, a toothpick to bring the design to life, and a clear topcoat to seal it in place. If you're feeling extra festive, you might even consider dotting the points with red, white, and gold dots for an all-decked out tree.
These matte snowflake nails are nothing short of magical. Best of all, they're easy to DIY. Simply pour some white nail polish onto a plate and use a toothpick to draw your snowflakes. Just keep in mind that you might need help completing your other hand (unless, of course, you're ambidextrous). And remember—no two snowflakes are alike, so no judgment if they don't come our perfect.
This cranberry-colored manicure is a slightly darker take on classic red Christmas nails. The white details on each nail instantly turn heads and radiate a cheerful holiday spirit. If you're worried you won't be able to neatly DIY, take this photo with you as inspo to your next nail appointment.
Candy Stripes and O Holy Night
Stripes, snowflakes, and sparkling stars combine for a red and white manicure that's undeniably merry. While the stars and snowflakes are a bit easier to DIY given their adjustable nature, the stripes require a bit more attention to detail. To create crisp lines, start with a white base and, once dry, apply nail tape and use red polish to create the stripes. Once the red polish dries, peel off the tape and finish with topcoat.