With the holidays officially upon us, more about now is the time to start preparing for a month teeming with social gatherings. Therefore, adiposity there’s no better time to test out a few of the season’s most coveted nail polish colors, seeing as no celebration preparation is complete without a fresh coat or two of a Yuletide-ready varnish. (Think of each individual nail as an artfully painted ornament.) From richly decadent dark reds to molten metallics and even a bright green or blue thrown in for good measure, we’ve covered all the bases and taken out the guesswork with our selection of the hottest holiday lacquers. Try ’em out for yourself, give ’em as gifts (they do make for excellent stocking stuffers, after all), or both — these polish picks are sure to spread plenty of holiday cheer.

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A time-honored holiday classic, you really can’t go wrong with a red nail polish this time of year. Instead of going the typical Santa’s-suit-red route, why not shake things up with a slightly darker shade of crimson? Bonus points for choosing a ruby red lacquer with a hint of shimmer, because as we all know, the holiday season and shimmer go hand in hand. One of our favorite polishes of the season, Chanel’s limited edition Le Vernis Nail Colour in Malice, has a name that’s seemingly destined for the top of you-know-who’s Naughty list, but the stunning burgundy-scarlet color is most certainly Nice.

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 On the holiday nail color hierarchy, metallics are typically a close second to rich reds, and for good reason — with social calendars filling up at breakneck speeds, it simply makes sense to reach for a sparkling and appropriately festive metallic polish once the holidays draw close. This season’s metallic offerings are more sophisticated than your run-of-the-mill golds and silvers; with understated shimmer, flecks of holographic sheen and finely smoothed finishes, our top picks include shades of gorgeous gunmetal, copper and a pale gold that’s reminiscent of champagne…all the more reason to break out the bubbly!

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For some of you, going with a cheery red or glittering metallic nail polish for holiday may be a little too on-the-nose. We get it — sometimes you may just want a lacquer that has a touch of celebratory spirit but with a slightly darker sensibility. As opposed to going full-goth, we’d advise that you try a black polish swirling with glitter in gold or graphite. Be it superfine and ever so understated or packed with more substantial chunks of dimensional glitter, the blackness of the base polish makes it look elegant as opposed to over the top.

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Now, here’s where things start to get really interesting. If you want to make a standout statement with your manicure this season, eschew tradition in favor of unconventional yet gorgeously rich jewel toned lacquers. Whether it’s a shade of regal purple, an iridescent peacock-teal that subtly changes its hue depending on the light, or an unexpected mistletoe green infused with more than a sprinkle of chunky glitter, these polish picks are just different enough to turn heads yet still seasonally appropriate and fun.

by Gianna Froccaro