by Suzanne Barston, Walgreens News
19 November 2019
The holidays aren’t always picture perfect. Here’s how the power couple is embracing the messy truth about the season.
 
This year, Walgreens is getting real about the holidays. Instead of obsessing over Insta-ready perfection, we’re embracing the messy, frustrating, beautiful moments that make the holiday season memorable. And who better to help us let go of the rosy filters and find the beauty in the everyday than Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka?

While triple-threat star of stage and screen Harris and celebrity chef Burtka are pretty much the definition of #CoupleGoals, they’re also refreshingly candid about the challenges that plague all busy families during the holiday madness. As working parents of two young kids, they’re sharing their own #TrueHolidayStory moments as part of Walgreens holiday campaign.

Check out what happened when we spent the day with the couple to film the 2019 campaign:
 


We also had the privilege of sitting down with Harris and Burtka to get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into their holiday plans. 
 
Walgreens News (WN): So, Neil and David, what are you going to do this year to make the holidays legen – wait for it – dary?

Neil Patrick Harris (NPH): I see what you did there. Clever. I think this year we’re going to throw a holiday party. We go back and forth between years that we do throw a party and years that we don’t - and the years that we don’t, we regret them. The years that we do, we regret as well, but for different reasons, because it’s exhausting. David goes all out for parties. Big gift exchange, big meal, tray-passed hors d'oeuvres …

David Burtka (DB): Well, I have just published a book about throwing a party, so I’ve gotta represent.

NPH: Life Is A Party, by David Burtka. Best holiday present ever.

DB: Thanks! (Laughs) But we are excited for this year. Our parents are coming into town, we hired people to shuck oysters…

NPH: And a gospel choir!

DB: Indeed, they are spectacular. But all our friends in NYC will be there and it’s always so great to see all of our loved ones having a good time together. I also do a whole room that’s just like Candy Land - I get all desserts from delicious restaurants in New York City, and with all of the cookies that I make myself, curate the best sweets table you’ve ever seen.

NPH: We also go to Disneyworld at the beginning of December to kick the holiday season off, and then mostly we’re just looking forward to being with our family. One of the nice things amidst the chaos of the holiday season is that it quiets down, and you’re allowed to just coexist with your kids and your spouse and just be together. 

DB: True dat.
 
WN: How does Walgreens help you get in, get out and get jolly, whether you’re throwing what sounds like the party of the century, or spending quality time with the family?

DB: Well, it’s open all the time, which is very convenient.  

NPH: Agreed. And I’m always surprised at the breadth of products they have, for different situations that arise. You can go there when the snacks at your party have dried up, when you’re not feeling well, when you need a nice gift …

DB: And stocking stuffers. I think it’s going to be a big year for us with stocking stuffers from Walgreens. 


Walgreens is your BFF when the holiday snacks have "dried up". (Ahem, Neil.)

WN: Picture this – you’re in Walgreens, and you have 7 minutes to get a gift for your agent’s assistant. What do you do? 

DB: I’d probably get some type of large container and fill it withcandy. Something over the top.

NPH: I’m a big games and toys guy. I don’t think you have to be a kid to shop in the toy section. 

DB: You know what also could be good? You could get someone some headache medicine, vitamins, an ice pack … like a hangover remedy for the day after a holiday party.

NPH: Clever!

DB: Because you know, you’re at Walgreens … so you can take advantage of their pharmacy as well as getting hangover-friendly snacks – maybe spicy snacks?

NPH: Magazines?

DB: Oh and magazines, that’s good! You know, we should do a Walgreens challenge! “What would you do if you had $50 and had to get a bunch of last-minute gifts?” We should make everyone at our party go to Walgreens and come up with the most creative gift item.
 
WN: Here’s a controversial question for you: What’s your position on wrapping paper versus gift bags?

DB: I’m sorry, but I think gift bags are a cop out. I mean, come on. You can wrap it. Unless you’re talking about really cumbersome or weird, hard-to-wrap things, of course. Live animals. You probably would want a gift bag for a live animal.

NPH: I’d want to wrap a live animal, actually. 

DB: They don’t take the tape very well.

NPH: We can agree to disagree.


Tape from Walgreens has many versatile uses during the stressful holiday season.

WN: What about store bought versus homemade?

DB: Homemade! It comes from the heart, if you’re making a craft, or a card … 

NPH: I think homemade is way better, because whether the end result is perfectly delicious to your taste, or incredibly bespoke, the sentiment behind it makes it that much more thoughtful and kind. 
 
WN: Lastly, what are you hoping your kids, Harper and Gideon, will get you for the holidays? Because I mean, we can make sure they see this article …

NPH: If they could make some coupons that don’t expire that would say things like, “no fighting for one hour,” “no meltdowns”…

DB: … “Daddy’s always right”…

NPH: A “Daddy’s always right” coupon? You’d love that.

DB: At least a 20 pack.

NPH: It’s an interesting question, though, because this might be the first year they’re old enough to give us actual gifts that they picked out. So far they’ve made us little ornaments and cards, they’ve decorated pottery.

DB: Those types of things are the best, though. Last year, with the help of a few friends, they gave us the gift of their two hands together, molded in plaster.

NPH: That’s right! A plaster statue of their two little hands intertwined. It was very, very sweet. And makes a good door stop.

DB: You stop! (laughs)

See more of Harris and Burtka’s #TrueHolidayStory moments below – and share your own beautiful, messy truth this holiday season, using the same hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.