How to Design Your Nails for Christmas

By Nora Fiore , last updated January 29, 2012

Last year, you may have worn a festive sweater or two over the holidays, you're ready to really show off your holiday spirit this year by learning how to design your nails for Christmas! Of course, like all holiday decorations, there's a fine line between festively alluring and, well, tacky. Below, you'll find some original ideas inspired by the soundtrack of Christmas, from your favorite carols to The Nutcracker. It’s tricky to paint designs on your own nails, so for a pre-party blast, crank up the tunes, invite over some girlfriends, and put a song in your heart and on your nails!

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Just because it’s that time of the year doesn’t mean that you can’t show of one of the hottest, and coolest, nail colors on the scene: deep, serene navy blue, the color of a clear winter night sky. But navy doesn’t exactly scream holiday spirit. Here’s the fix: buy some French manicure templates (the curved little stickers that let you keep the color edges crisp and smooth), but instead of placing the sticker on the tips of your nails, place them roughly outside the moons (the light semicircle right by your cuticle). Paint the main surface of the nail in midnight blue and fill in the moon with an opaque silver lacquer, either iridescent or glittery. The combination of colors and the unexpected accent will make for a Christmas look with both sophistication and infectious sparkle!

Let It Snow

You can evoke the magic of a Christmas snowfall through a color scheme of white and light blue. Paint all of your fingers one color, say a bright white, and your thumbs a slightly contrasting color, perhaps baby blue. To capture the diamond-bright glint of fresh, unprinted snow, search out a clear top coat with the same kind of rainbow sheen, like Electric Lane Holographic Glitter Clear Coat from Nails, Inc.

If you want to really show off fancy or festive nails, nix the final glitter coat or save it for the top layer, purchase nail art pens, like those available from SEPHORA by OPI, and write out a message of cheer. It’s no accident that "LET IT SNOW" can fit across all your nails except one. Write LET IT on one hand, writing in white on blue nails, and blue on white, and SNOW on the other, saving the blue thumb. As a finishing touch, doodle a simple snowflake on the thumb for an eye-catching, sweet vibe that will have everyone reading your nails.

Rudolph Remixed

Who doesn’t love a rockin’ holiday remix of a classic? As much as you may admire the artistry of those who can fit an entire reindeer inside their cuticles, most of us don’t have that much time to lavish on the miniature canvas that is the nail bed. So why not pay homage to the little reindeer who could in a simpler way? Paint your nails an iridescent, but not glittery, gold. Then, either using nail stencils, or your good judgment and a steady hand, dot the center of each nail with a vibrant point of fire engine red. Again, depending on your nail ambitions, you could use red rhinestones and nail art glue to up the ante and guide the sleigh. Or, you could totally embrace the “remix” idea and use white or red nail pens to paint abstract antlers in red or white onto the gold base, alternating with Rudolph’s adorable ruby red nose.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Tchaikovsky’s whimsically lovely Nutcracker ballet represents a holiday tradition. Channel your inner prima ballerina and let visions of sugar plums dance on your nails. Use a crackle-style paint, like SEPHORA by OPI’s Blasted Nail Color in a rich purple hue, frosted over with brilliant white, and paint all your fingernails. Then, as an ultra-girlie accent, take Who's Spinning Tonight? from OPI’s Urban Ballerina collection, or any similar plum shade you happen to have, and paint your thumbs. Finally, with a white nail art pen, draw a little bow on each thumb to remind you of the gift-giving tradition of the season in a devastatingly adorable way.

The Holly and The Ivy

One of the best things about Christmas lies in the season’s almost miraculous ability to make people shake themselves out of their routines and be a bit more fun and outrageous. If you’re feeling rather beige at the moment, a refreshing, vivacious green will perk you up. Whitehall Teal from nails, inc. offers an extra advantage: a unique magnetic process that results in a mind-boggling ripple effect that will set jaws agape. Paint all your fingernails this color, saving one, perhaps your index or maybe your thumb, on each hand. With a strong, but compatible red or maybe a more sedate burgundy, coat the nail. For even more festive fun, adhere a tiny constellation of green rhinestones to the red nail. Like the Christmas tree, you’ll look ever lively and joyous and even in the depths of winter.

Whatever your plans for the holiday, adapt one of these relatively easy nail designs to make your season merry and bright!

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