30 Cool Nail Ideas to Impress Your Family With at Thanksgiving

Updated 11/06/19

I love Thanksgiving, and not just because it's an excuse to fly home and visit family members that I miss oh so much. It's not even because it's an excuse to eat as many mashed potatoes as I can possibly fit in my stomach. (Although, I will be honest; that's up there.) I love it because it's an opportunity to pause the hustle and bustle of my daily life, reflect on my situation, and express real gratitude. By the way, regularly expressing gratitude is scientifically proven to make you a happier person. But I digress.

As with any holiday, my favorite way to get in the festive spirit is by channeling it onto my nails. Seriously, there's something about a fresh manicure that makes me feel a visceral sense of anticipation and excitement, especially if there's some sort of nail art involved. To clarify, I'm not talking about painting turkeys and cornucopias on my nails. No, I'm talking about sleek and subtle nail designs that channel the colors and the warmth of the season. Keep scrolling to see my 30 favorite nail designs for Thanksgiving. 

1. Sweet Potato Fade

One way to grab your family's attention at the Thanksgiving Table is to match what's on it with your manicure. And let's be real, this pumpkin-inspired fade is nothing short of sweet.

2. Fall Foliage

One of the prettiest parts about fall (apart from the gorgeous chunky sweaters and knee-high boots, of course) is how the leaves change from lush green to brilliant shades of burgundy, orange, and yellow. To show off your love of the transition, pay homage to it on your nails this Thanksgiving.

3. Buffalo Plaid

Thanksgiving is a time to eat, drink, and be cozy as can be. To project those good vibes, try painting your tips with this festive buffalo plaid pattern.

4. Black Florals

Dark florals are a hallmark of fall and winter, which is why I've been ogling over this black rose design from nail artist Naomi Yasuda as of late. 

5. Nail Bouquet

If your family members struggle with seasonal allergies, skip the floral centerpiece and paint a bouquet on each nail instead.

6. Abstract Art

Can't decide what you want to wear on your nails? Why not rock a few patterns layered together in the name of abstract art? This metallic, dotted masterpiece is sure to turn heads.

7. Gold Shimmer

The holiday season is right around the corner, which means all things glitter are also right around the corner. Why not bring it into your beauty routine early by opting for this subtle gold glitter mani from buzzy L.A. nail salon Olive & June?

8. Tortoiseshell Tips

These tortoiseshell nails play into the always-in-style pattern while offsetting it with bold pops of black. And, hi, we're obsessed (chances are your family will be too).

9. Metallic Gold Half Moons

To keep your nails simple yet eye-catching, try a gold shimmer tip with a negative-space half-moon. For added allure, paint on a solid drop of slightly-brighter gold at the arc of each moon.

10. Pumpkin Slice

Sometimes it's as simple as pairing two complementary colors with a diagonal slant. Just look at these Paintbox beauties that have become a staple for the NYC-based nail salon.

11. Colorful Details

If you stray toward pastel shades, even in fall and winter, then take inspiration from this colorful nail design that's fit for a harvest festival. 

12. Nude Florals

This manicure, which was also created at Olive & June, starts with a base of mocha-colored polish. The dainty daisy detail is thanks to the salon's namesake Lovely Day Nail Art Sticker ($8), but it's super popular and often sold out. 

13. Pumpkin Bites

These teeny, champagne shimmer-lined, pumpkin-colored accents bring one thing to mind: Thanksgiving's most popular pie topped off with a hefty heap of whipped cream. 

14. Graphic Fall Florals

These graphic fall floral nails have a unifying theme of black pistils, while each nail features a unique petal shade (or a combination of a few).

15. Curvy Details

Negative space nails are a great way to make a bold statement without using tons of polish—take these burgundy cuties, for example.

16. Jet-Setter

For many people, a large part of the Thanksgiving holiday is spent traveling home to see family and friends. If that sounds like your plan this year (or maybe you're staying put and experiencing FOMO), paint your city on your nails as a little reminder of home. It's a very sweet sentiment, no? 

17. Geometric Nails

This mani comes courtesy of the buzzy NY nail salon Chillhouse. It encapsulates the colors of the autumn season by combining various shades of orange. 

18. Rectangular Accents

Match your solid sweater with a minimalist nail design like this one from Paintbox Nails. Simply start with a base of white polish before adding a matching cube at the base of each nail. It's simple yet chic. 

19. Tortoiseshell Halfsies

Not ready to commit to a full bold nail? Try going halfsies with this negative-space tortoiseshell print.

20. Metallic Masterpiece

I have two things to say about this. The first is that this foiled manicure reminds me of fall foliage. The second is that it pairs extremely well with a denim jacket. 

21. Simple Wreath

This nail look is perfect for fans of nude nail polish. The exact shade that was used in creating this cute design was OPI Nail Lacquer ($9) in Tiramisu For Two, according to Olive & June's Instagram account.

22. Dots and Lines

Neutral lovers, rejoice! This three-toned nail look is bold in print and minimalist in shade, making it a great option for your Thanksgiving mani.

23. Gold Foil

Ever since Base Coat Nail Salon posted this image to its Instagram page, I've been completely and thoroughly obsessed. Black and gold are, after all, one of my all-time favorite color combinations. 

24. Nude Ombré

If you prefer to stick to warmer neutrals, take heed of this kooky yet chic manicure, which was created using all Côte nude nail polishes. Simply choose five colors in varying shades and paint them one on each nail. 

25. Cranberry Accents

Is there anything more beautiful than a bold autumnal berry color? I don't think so, especially when applied in a graphic diagonal shape. 

26. Oxblood Plaid

This nail art looks like the pattern of an argyle sweater, which is why I plan to replicate it throughout all of November. 

27. Floral Digits

To me, this manicure all but screams fall. Thanks to a combination of light and dark shades, plus the dainty foliage designs, I'm getting a very harvest-y vibe from it. 

28. Slender Slices

Minimalist nail art is my absolute favorite type of nail art. I love the brown and beige color combination, as well as the puzzle-piece negative space design that's happening here. 

29. Burnt Orange Beauties

Feast your eyes on yet another foil-infused manicure from Paintbox Nails. It combines shiny gold with burnt orange for a nail design that's unmistakably autumnal. 

30. Thanksgiving Spread

If you don't want to stop at Thanksgiving color palettes, you can feature a full festive spread on your nails. These seasonal nails might be very themed, but given the light backdrop and on-trend shimmer, they don't look over the top.

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