The holidays are always a fun time to dress up your nails. You can adorn your manicure with tiny ornaments for Christmas or go sparkle-crazy for New Year's Eve. Thanksgiving nail designs, however, are a bit less obvious. The option is there to get literal with your designs (think: pumpkins and turkeys) or go for a less on-the-nose design that still captures the essence of the holiday.
"The best way to emulate Thanksgiving is to find inspiration from the season, the activities, or even the food you consume during this holiday," says celebrity nail artist San Sung Kim. "You can simply use earthy and warm tones of the season and add some Thanksgiving magic with simple designs such as pumpkins or leaves."
If you don't want something so literal, expert Amy Oung says you can stick to warm colors. "You can get into a festive mood by wearing rich neutral colors on the nails, says Oung. "Once you have the colors, you can matte, marbelize, add glitter, do abstract lines —the ideas are limitless." See for yourself, below.
Meet Our Expert
San Sung Kim is a celebrity nail artist who specializes in avant-garde, hand-painted designs.
Amy Oung is a nail artist and educator for Orly.
“The chocolate brown tips and leafy cuffs are a subtle way to celebrate the season of Thanksgiving,” says Kim.
This warm, brownish-red shade — Stiletto on the Run by Orly — is perfect for this time of year. And the touches of gold foil and glitter up the festive factor.
“For this Thanksgiving look, I added in fun details such as autumn swirls and forest details to capture the playful and warm mood of the season,” says Kim.
Lights Lacquer polishes were used to create this neutral look that leaves the half-moon at the base of the nail visible. In addition to looking gorgeous, the negative space also allows the nail to grow out beautifully.
Painted with polishes from OPI, this manicure keeps it warm and simple. It features the shades. Costal Sanctuary ($12), El Matadoring You ($12), Bonfire Serenade ($12), Endless Summer ($12), and Cliffside Karaoke ($12).
Aprés Sculpted Square Long ($17) was used to create this set of Thanksgiving nails. This design features shades Osiris ($15), Autumn Apricot ($15), Spiced Apple Cider ($15), Kana Believe It ($15), and Vampire Drunk ($15). Each nail has a glossy tip to contrast a matte base, creating a subtle design.
If you lean toward pink hues, this look is perfect for you. It features a blend of chocolate brown and mauve polishes from Luxio Plush ($18) to create a sweet, yet moody look.
It doesn't get more quintessentially spooky season than a deep Bordeaux red. This shade, Luxio Vamp ($18) from Polished Pinkies, is worthy of heavy rotation.
These aura nails use orange at the center and fade out to yellow, creating a gorgeous pumpkin-y glow. The look was painted on the Aprés Sculpted Almond Medium ($17).
Pop Art French
Cozy autumnal hues were used to create these playful pop art-inspired French tips. They're perfect if you want something that fits the season without being too Thanksgiving-y.
These nails evoke the cranberry-baked brie that I can't wait to eat this Thanksgiving. It was painted with the Aprés French Manicure Gel Vege Mighty ($15) polish on top of the Sculpted Stiletto Medium ($17) gel-x tips.
Carbon Coffee ($14) from Gel Baby LA is the perfect shade of brown to emulate milk chocolate. This look features a blank triangle at the base of the tip, which echoes the shape of the pointy almond tip.
Simple lines in yellow, orange, red, and dark brown were used to create this striking graphic look.
Neutral French Tips
These French tips are taken up a notch with the addition of wavy blobs in neutral shades using Lights Lacquer polishes in the colors Clueless ($11) Paper Snow ($11), Espresso ($11), Cappuccino ($11), Cookie ($11), and The Butler ($11).
Go bold with this mix-and-match look, which uses the polishes Luxio Base ($20), Luxio Innocent ($18), and Luxio Linger ($18) from Polished Pinkies Pro; All about Mimi ($12) from Magpie Beauty, and the Nails Thoughts Tortoise Shell Kit ($70).
A buttery yellow, cranberry red, and pumpkin orange come together to make this fall floral design. Having the flowers on just one nail keeps the look feeling delicate.
Although teal isn't usually viewed as a fall shade, it's the perfect bright addition to this fall manicure. It features the shades Fern ($19) and Jungle ($19) from The Gel Bottle Inc and Berries ($12), Chestnut ($12), and Mustard ($12) from Premier Gel.
If pumpkins are your jam, go literal with your Thanksgiving nail art. This look features pumpkin accent nails aside orange and beige solid nails.
This manicure uses polishes from Madam Gel and looks like a scene out of a field in autumn.
Gnomes may be big for Christmas designs, but they've been slowly popping into other holidays, like Thanksgiving. This look features one gnome per hand, along with pumpkins and a solid green shade.
The shade Lyra from Cirque Colors was used to create this stunning bronze look. It's the perfect polish to grab when you want an interesting look that requires minimal effort.
Checkered for Autumn
This checkered pattern uses light shades of orange, mauve, and brown to create this super pretty geometric look. Each nail is also sprinkled with a little bit of gold leaf to add some oomph.
Shimmering shades of autumnal red, green, orange, purple, and brown were used to create this vibrant look.
Go pumpkin crazy with this look featuring kitschy fall etchings and glittery shades of orange, green, and gold.
Candy Brown Shades
This neutral French tip design features three polish shades from gel Gel Care Official, including Girl Scout ($20), Archive Beige ($20), and Terracotta ($20). It's pretty any time of year, but works especially well for a minimalist Thanksgiving design.
Clean lines are used to create this geometric look. While some nails feature a checkered pattern, others feature color in monochrome blocks.
Get the pumpkin vibes without going too literal. This design features a shimmery pumpkin orange micro tip and a simple dot at the base of each nail.
An orange nail is a super simple way to approach your Thanksgiving manicure. The addition of the matte top coat adds an unexpected finish.
Sunflowers scream autumn, so sporting a few on your nails is perfect for Thanksgiving. This look also features orange and gold glitter polishes.
The polish Kafkaesque ($13) from Mooncat was used to create this deep dark brown nail. It's simply gorgeous.
Polka dots are a year-round favorite. Consider incorporating them into an autumnal manicure like this one featuring brown, orange, and cream hues.
Plaid is a fun way to enjoy design in a more minimalist spirit. This look is centered on a gorgeous pomegranate shade that's perfect for Thanksgiving.
Cable Knit Glitter
Brown Ombré Tips
Instead of going for a traditional French tip with a clean arch, this look features a gradient of brown to sheer.
Neutral Abstract Florals
Polishes from Magpie Beauty were used to create this abstract neutral look that features abstract splotches of brown polish and tiny white daisies.
Jazz up a pumpkin-orange look by reaching for this glittery number from Mooncat. It's the shade Magic Mushroom ($14).
Tiny overlapping dots were used to create this abstract look. It uses a mix of red, green, yellow, black, and white polishes from Magpie Beauty.
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