Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Share Their Expert Tips for Handling Holiday Stress
We caught up with Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka to find out how they prepare for the holidays
Their 9-year-old twins, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, help prep for family parties, they have list-making down pat, and together, they can handle any last-minute shopping needs thanks to their favorite one-stop-shop, Walgreens. This season, Harris and Burtka teamed up with the retailer to show how they handle the stress of the holidays, with grace and humor.
To get all their expert tips and tricks for perfect gift-giving and holiday-hosting, we caught up with the duo and found out what’s on their wishlists, how they handle holiday stress and where they’re hiding each other’s gifts!
What’s your favorite part about the holidays?
Neil Patrick Harris: For as hectic as the holidays end up being, with the managing parties and presents and lists (and checking it twice), I really do enjoy the fact that everything shuts down for a minute. You just get to exist with your family, sit and spend some time together. We live in New York, so the holidays are even more noticeable with the change of weather. For me, just hanging out with the kids with a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll on Christmas morning while I watch them open presents is something I really do look forward to every year.
David Burtka: Yeah, being together is really great, and not having any obligations is nice. I think that the day after Christmas when you can just take a breath since all the craziness of Christmas is gone and you can just chill – that’s always nice.
Do you two divide and conquer to prep for the holiday craziness?
David: For sure. It’s really a family effort. The kids have to be involved because of who we are. We love to entertain. We love to have people at our house. So when we do entertain, it’s a group effort. Harper likes to decorate with me and do the table settings, while Gideon is the timekeeper. Neil is in charge of the bar and I’ll do the hors d’oeuvres. We’ve got it all together. I think we all pride ourselves in making it a group effort, so we all divide and conquer. We all help out as much as we can and try not to yell at each other for putting our toys on the ground and stuff.
Neil: David is big on lists and I always used to think that it was a hilarious waste because it takes time to make the list itself and you might as well just get things done. I have seen the light and he’s very good at making sure we have a plan of attack, especially during the holidays, which is very helpful. I will say that when the list goes awry, and you find that you have 15 things that you forgot or someone gets sick, there is no place like Walgreens. It’s good for one stop shopping.
What’s a must-have winter grooming product for you two?
David: I really like Layrite hair pomade. The shine – my goodness! It’s a matte finish, but it also has a bit of a shine to it though. If you haven’t washed your hair in three months, no one will ever know.
Neil: I’m a big fan of La Mer. They have this moisturizing cream that is a must-have in my cabinet.
Are you guys last minute shoppers or you plan ahead when it comes to gifting?
David: We’re learning that last minute is a no-no. I think last year we did it pretty well. We were so ahead of the game. We’ve been together for 15 years, so the more we do this, the more we’re getting it. We are able to enjoy our company more when there’s less running around and last minute gift shopping to do. We try and get everything done in the middle of December so we can actually enjoy it.
Neil: With that said, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do it. There’s also something a little bit chaotic, yes, but awfully more fun when picking a day to get it all done in one big exhausting evening.
Have you two already bought each gifts?
David: I have a few things that are hidden away for Neil for Christmas that I already got earlier this year.
Neil: One follow-up question. Where did you hide those gifts?
David: You’ll never know. They are really hidden.
Neil: David’s lucky with me, because I hate accidentally finding gifts. It’s the worst feeling. If he says, ‘Don’t go into this closet,’ I never will. I have no interest in sneakily figuring out what I’m receiving as gifts and then having to act surprised. It’s the worst.
What are you getting Harper and Gideon?
Neil: We can’t tell you because they’re reading now so we can’t tell you.
David: We can spell it. L. E. G. O.
Neil: An awesome benefit to technology is that the kids who love playing on iPads can now search for things that they want and then they’ll put them in their own little wishlist. When they’re bored or in the car, they can start adding new things they want for the holidays, which is fantastic to give to grandparents, aunts, uncles, any extended family member who asks what they want. The drawback to that is if they’ve been doing it for a while, their likes change pretty radically from week to week. Roadblocks becomes Legos. Legos becomes Dungeons and Dragons, and so on.