This is the unexpected way Nate Berkus gets his R&R over the holidays – he calls it 'research'

And yes, it is a little decoratively fueled

nate berkus and jeremiah brent for living spaces
(Image credit: Living Spaces)

The holidays are well and truly upon us, and with Christmas only a few days around the corner, most trees have been decorated for weeks, our very best hosting is in full swing, and our homes are working hard at welcoming guests.

With all the Christmas prep done, surely we should all be relaxing with our loved ones? But with endless social engagements, travel, and all that comes with hosting, relaxing over the holidays – let alone recharging – is much easier said than done. 

As Nate Berkus stands in front of a beautifully styled Christmas marble mantel, still looking fresh with garlands and fairy lights - one of H&G's favorite celebrity interior designers assures us that we are not alone in finding the holidays overwhelming. 'So I know the holidays are just a super stressful time of year,' says Nate, who kindly admits that he can get stressed out too. But he has also shared his tips for how he winds down over the holidays.

Nate Berkus
Nate Berkus

Since Nate’s first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002, he has become one of the world’s most recognizable interior designers. He has authored two New York Times bestselling books and stars alongside his husband, Jeremiah Brent, in HGTV's Nate & Jeremiah Home Project.

Nate Berkus’s R&R tips for the holidays

And it seems that years of practice, likely with a festive calendar that is bursting at the seams, has equipped Nate with the perfect R&R recipe for the holiday period – no jacuzzi orders or excesses of Champagne involved. This is how the keeps calm and content over the holidays:

1. Always keep a wonderful book to hand

‘A good book every night is essential,’ shares Nate. ‘All of my Nate’s Reads fall into that category.’ Whether you are hosting or a guest and traveling with the whole family, keeping a great read to hand means that you will always be well-equipped to unwind, especially before a night spent in an unfamiliar bed. ‘As long as I have my book I know I can read for 20 minutes and then just tune out and fall asleep.’

2. Carve out time for fresh air and exercise

Although we might let our sweet tooth overtake at Christmastime, a brisk walk and a little exercise can shake off that unwelcomed sluggish feeling that can easily creep up over the festive period. 

Nate endorses his S10 Fitness class in New York City. ‘It is unbelievable,’ says Nate. ‘I’m too scared to do the weekend classes, but going to the trainer makes me feel like I’m active and not just sitting around.’ But for an even more achievable and equally as invigorating boost, try a brisk stroll. ‘Even a long walk around the city with the kids makes me feel like I’m actually not just sitting on the sofa doing nothing.’

3. Allow yourself to research your next decor ventures

Finally, if you are the type to sit on the couch, in what you thought was a near-perfectly styled living room space, only to start seeing a little too much negative space, or to begin dreaming of how you could bring more interior design trends into your home, rest assured that you are not alone...

On top of keeping a good book to hand and getting active where he can, Nate also shared a third thing he does to relax over the holidays, and this one speaks to us in a very important way.

‘And I guess my last thing, is I keep up with all these auctions, on vintage sites and things like that,' says Nate who happily admits he is always on the lookout for new and wonderful items for clients.

‘It keeps me engaged in work and Jeremiah teases me that I call it research, but I do call it research when I’m scanning all these auctions, looking for furniture, looking for decoration, and also looking for gifts for people,' he says. 

It is often when you least expect it that you can find something unique and if you're thrifting online, it often comes with an exciting price tag too...

Decor picks guests will love unwinding with

Help guests relax with some favorite pieces by Nate. A cool but cozy chair, comfy cushion, and decorative eye candy will not go amiss in a guest bedroom over the festive period. Combine these with Nate's latest holiday hosting tips and the season will be golden...

If you are a decor lover, the thought of having the time to sit down with your phone for a free hour or so and just spend time 'researching' and getting inspired sounds like a dream. And, let's be honest, if this is how Nate Berkus also spends his downtime over the holidays, then we think it's totally allowed.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Contributing Editor

Camille is the former deputy editor of Real Homes where she covered a broad range of topics, including house tours, small space design, and gardens. She studied English language and Italian at the University of Manchester and during a year abroad studying linguistics and history of art in Bologna, Italy she started documenting her adventures and observations in a blog. Camille is always creating and spends her downtime painting, taking photos, traveling, and writing short stories.