5 color palettes for the holiday season

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The holiday season is a colorful time of year that presents the perfect opportunity to explore color from a design perspective. This article explores five holiday color palettes that break the traditional mold and push the envelope for seasonal colors while still retaining the holiday spirit.

1. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving color palette


Most are familiar with the infamous Thanksgiving orange and brown. This Autumnal pairing patterns decorations, greeting cards and even tabletops to commemorate the holiday.  In the color palette shown above, rather than starting with orange and brown, the departure point becomes the feelings of Thanksgiving; warmth, comfort, togetherness, food, rosemary.

Observe how well a dark muted green can evoke warmth. The dark grey becomes a comforting anchor for the palette. When used sparsely, orange can actually become an exciting flare. As the palette opens up, note how non-traditional colors can now feel quite at home. A calm purple and desaturated green add atmosphere.

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2. Snow Fall

Snow color palette

Along with the holiday season comes frigid temperatures (for some at least). In this color palette, you can craft a chillier feeling through dissonance and desaturation.

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3. Hanukkah

hannuka color palette

Similar to the ideas explored in the Thanksgiving palette, these colors shown here can expand on traditional holiday characteristics. Hanukkah is known for its celestial blue, silver, the famous orange Hanukkah candles and chocolate gold coins.

All these elements are present yet the palette remains balanced, festive and most importantly design-forward: it has a fresh look while staying true to the spirit.

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4. Christmas

Christmas color palette

In this example, note how the traditional Christmas red can be slightly shifted in hue toward orange. The red-orange color opens doors to a deep complementary blue, which then justifies pushing the hue on the other side of green, which then welcomes a strong and festive yellow. Look for inspiration this holiday season and try using this palette for any Christmas card design ideas, ads, packaging, flyers, ads and branding. 

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5. New Years

New Year color palette

Happy New Year! Bright colors pop on a black background. It could be said that this example is particularly effective in concept because black represents midnight and the bright colors represent festivities.


The color spectrum can be bent in ways that expose beautiful color relationships, while still being representational and evoke meaning using the psychology of color. These concepts are especially valuable to designers interested in experimenting more with graphic design and pushing their creative ability. With practice, color selection can become a celebrated part of the creative workflow.

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Author bio

workerbee is a self taught designer from the east coast with a relentless curiosity in all realms of life. 99designs profile: workerbee.