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34 simple Christmas nail ideas to complete your holiday outfit

Straight from the North Polish, we've got cute nail designs to carry you through December.

It’s fun to toast the holiday season with your clothes (ugly Christmas sweaters, anyone?). It’s even more fun when you're met with a smile on your loved ones’ faces after they open the epic gifts you picked out. But for manicure enthusiasts, it’s even more fun to spread holiday cheer with a festive set of nails.

Looking to upgrade your Santa Claws (a solid pun, if we do say so)? We’ve tapped top manicurists, stylists and nail polish aficionados around the country to bring you tons of cute Christmas nails. From mini Christmas trees to sparkly tinsel-inspired creations, take a look at the holiday manicures below. In addition to easy-to-follow tutorials and nail polish selection advice, these pros also share why each and every idea is perfect for the holiday season.

Before you dive into all things snowflake art and Christmas plaid, make sure you have a solid base — literally — by brushing up on our at-home manicure tips and nail strengthening how-tos.

Now, whether you’re looking for inspiration to bring to your local nail salon or you're a DIY nail superstar who is ready to paint up a storm, keep scrolling to see some impressive yuletide designs.

Delicate snowflake nails

The weather outside is frightful, but at least your snowflake-covered tips will warm your heart. “This transparent nail wrap features delicate, baby blue snowflakes that can be worn on their own, over a bare nail or over your favorite polish!” Nina Park, nail artist and CEO of SCRATCH Nail Wraps told TODAY. As pictured, we think the look is the perfect complement to a cozy sweater.

Green and gold nails

"Just because it is subtle, doesn’t mean it has to be boring,” Jennifer Bell, Senior Marketing Manager of Bellacures, said of this design, adding that she calls it "Green Negative Space with Festive Gold Squiggle." To get the gold squiggle just right, Bell suggests starting the 'S' on the green section and finishing on the bare nail. " Fill in the ‘S’ until your desired thickness is achieved," Bell said.

Candy cane chic nails

Rachel James, the founder and CEO of luxury vegan, cruelty-free, nontoxic nail lacquer and nail care brand Pear Nova, L, uses a green base to make the cheery red and white really pop. If you want something less traditional, go with a white or pink base.

Rudolph red nails

Red is a perfect, festive and classic color when it comes to cold weather, especially around the holiday season,” Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of GLOSSLAB, told TODAY. Spice up any holiday outfit with — either matte, glossy or glittery.

Dramatic floral nails

“This transparent nail wrap is everything your holiday party needs — gorgeous vintage florals on a transparent base, so you can wear them over a bare nail or over your favorite polish,” Park said. 

Festive nails

Fa la la la la. “Tiny Christmas trees, holiday lights, snowflakes, wreaths, and holly — what more could you want in a holiday manicure?”said Park. Keep the rest of the nail bare or add an opaque color underneath for a bolder look.

"The Grinch" nails

The talented nail techs at Frenchies Modern Nails in Denver, Colorado, love leaning into pop culture for nail art inspiration. “This ‘Grinch’-inspired nail art can make even the biggest hum bug smile with glee,” Stephanie Coffey, the founder and CEO, told TODAY.

Modern plaid nails

Christmas plaid 2.0. “Add some sparkle to your plaid manicure this holiday season by opting for jewel-toned or glitter polish,” Sally Beauty’s DIY nail expert Juli Russell said. Personally, we say, bring on the gold.

Christmas cookie nails

Keep it simple and sweet with this cookie-inspired mani. This look pairs well with a holiday cookie swap, we hear. Check out our best holiday cookie swap recipes here.

Ombre snowflake nails

Looking for a way to jazz up simple snowflakes? Follow Issey Sapiens' lead by painting a white ombre base on each nail before adding detailed snowflakes.

Winter floral nails

“Winter nail art can still be light and airy —  this floral manicure features spaced-out abstract white flowers with delicate accents and foliage,” Park said. Here, Park used a very natural base, but this design can be done over any jewel-toned polish.

Festive minimalist nails

For clean, crisp lines, Park recommends using scotch tape to block off the negative space on your nails. Apply a mix of glitter and opaque nail polishes for added dimension.

Chrome snowflake nails

“Chrome nails are super trendy this holiday season,” Russell said. “Try it out as the base underneath some dainty snowflake nail art.” Don’t have that much time? Skip the snowflake design on each nail and just do it on one or two.

Frosted nail tips

“A sparkly holiday spin on the classic French mani, this look adds a sophisticated shine,” Bell said. An almond shape will soften the look and “give more room on the tip to add the sparkle."

Navy and gold nails

Red and green are expected. Navy and gold, on the other hand, are a welcome twist. “This festive art perfect for a natural, short nail combines the elegance of a dark blue base and the pop of gold to elevate the look,” Coffey said of this manicure, which was done at the Beaverton, Oregon, location of Frenchies Modern Nails.

Snowy nails

“This green and white mani layers color and bling to elevate these stiletto nails," Coffey said of this manicure, which was done at Frenchies Modern Nails in Southlake, Texas.

Classic holiday nails

It’s a whirlwind of hues in this fanciful design. Here, nail artist Elizabeth M uses a range of bright and cheery colors to bring the festive cheer.

Cheery penguin nails

To make your manicure last longer, go the gel manicure route. “A traditional sparkling red manicure on natural gel extensions provides the perfect canvas to add a bit of whimsy with these adorable penguins and snowflakes,” Coffey said of this manicure from the Lakeville, Minnesota, location of Frenchies Modern Nails.

Reverse manicure

Cookie enthusiasts, rejoice. “Add a subtle sparkle to your holiday manicure with a gingerbread-colored glitter polish,” Russell said. “This design pairs beautifully over the base color of choice.”

Twinkle light nails

"Sheer nail polish with detailed Christmas light decor is a great pick for natural nail fans,” Russell said. Bonus: The electricity bill won['t skyrocket because of these beauties.

Simple snowflake nails

Sometimes, less is more. “Simple and effective, snowflake nails are sure to be a holiday hit this winter season,” Russell said.  For something unexpected but eye-catching, consider painting your snowflakes a bold color like blue or pink, and making your base color white.

Pretty present nails

It's not just about the presents underneath the tree. “Wrap those beautiful natural gel extensions up just like a present," Coffey said.

Red statement nails

Fun and festive is the name of the game here. “Use a thin nail brush to outline the space you would like colored. We went with a slanted line starting just below the nail tip on the left and then following down to the middle of the nail on the right-hand side,” Bell said. Once you draw the line, fill in the tip of your nail with a red polish and let dry.

Mistletoe tips

Here, Anahi Victoria dreams up a Christmas twist on a classic French manicure. Using a V-tip technique, it’s easy to dress this look up or down as you see fit.

Glittering gold nails

It’s shimmer time. “If you’re looking for just a little bling without all the fuss, opt for a glitter polish with great coverage,” Coffey said.

Silver snowflake nails

It's way easier than it looks. "Simply create an ‘+’ shape and then paint an ‘x’ through it to create an asterisk shape,” Russell said. Paint the snowflakes in metallic polish, then top them with a matte top coat for "beautiful velvet-like texture."

Blue and white snowflake nails

These nails are perfect for whatever winter brings you, whether it's a cozy getaway at a nearby ski lodge, a lazy weekend at home or a fancy holiday party.

Christmas glitter dot nails

Russell calls this “an easy, totally customizable polka dot design that’s perfect for all your upcoming festivities.” A tip: Nail this technique now, so you can try it with red and pink for Valentine's Day.

Glittery Christmas tree nails

How could we not have a Christmas tree in the mix? Incorporate a glittery tree into an otherwise subdued manicure. It’s worth mentioning that glitzy polish makes a statement, so you can get away with wearing less bling.

Rudolph nails

“The most famous reindeer of all just so happens to be the easiest Christmas nail design of all as well. Here’s a minimalistic take on the Christmas classic using sheer polish,” Russell said.

Red and white swirl nails

Here’s another riff on the candy cane nail. In this version, Franci painted a swirling red tip for a less traditional take.

Rose gold glitter nails

For some yuletide sparkle, Park likes using neutral glitters to create impact without being too flashy. “This polish has a lavender undertone amid a pretty understated holographic finish," she said. Use a crisp white polish to paint the snowflakes, so they really stand out.

Foiled candy cane nails

Another candy cane, we know. This one is too cute not to include, though. “Amp it up by adding some red transfer foil on top of a red base to add a ton of dimension" Russell said.

Winter scene nails

Now, this one might be a bit tricky to pull off at home. “Nail specialists can create beautiful art on the tiniest canvas. Nail art that speaks to you and adds whimsy — yes, please,” Coffey said.  Sweater weather nails