TV personality and interior design guru Nate Berkus is counting his blessings this holiday season as he celebrates Christmas with his husband, Jeremiah Brent, and his daughter, Poppy. One more reason to be thankful? The designer is no longer a smoker. Berkus talked to CBS News about his quit journey and his holiday plans.
What motivated you to quit smoking?
I quit smoking a little over four years ago and it was largely a decision I made for my family. It’s not just for me. I’m a father with a 20-month-old daughter and my priorities shifted. I realized for me it was more important to take care of myself so I could take care of the people that I love.
What’s been the biggest challenge of quitting smoking?
I think for me, it was more the social triggers and things that made me want to smoke. I lived in Europe for a while, which, back in the day, everybody was like coffee, cigarette, wine, cigarette, cheese, cigarette. So I definitely had a hard time with quitting but I’ve been a nonsmoker for over four years and using Nicorette gum actually was a fantastic thing for me.
Do you have advice for people trying to quit?
I think everybody’s story is different and everybody’s quit story is different. Everybody’s motivation for wanting to quit is different. What worked for me was changing up my house a bit and also using Nicorette gum to stave off any cravings and those two things in combination is why I’m partnering with Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ to do this campaign, “What’s your why?”
What we’re doing is asking people to send a photo of an area of their home that makes them feel like they want to smoke and I’ll consult with the winner and help them make changes to give it a refresh and that was sort of borne from the fact that those were the things that worked for me personally.
You and your husband now have a daughter. What’s been the biggest challenge of being a dad?
I think it’s the biggest gift in the universe. It’s amazing. I’m so grateful it’s even possible for my husband and I to have a child.
I think the greatest challenge for me as a new parent has been saying no. But it’s really important to me that we don’t sort of raise a daughter who thinks that she can have everything that she wants. It’s not part of my DNA as a parent or person, but that little voice begging to watch a video of herself every five seconds really difficult to turn away from and say no, let’s read a book.
What books does she like?
She goes on cycles with books. We read five books at a time and she has to have those books. “Goodnight Moon” is huge right now. “Brown Bear” is another one in the lineup currently, but they always change.
You were talking about having wine and socializing. Has it been hard for you at all to leave and make that transition to family life?
No, I wouldn’t say it’s been difficult. I think it’s been a really natural and wonderful evolution for both Jeremiah and I as a couple because a lot of our friends have children the same age as Poppy. The world has definitely changed, but only in the best way. I’m 45 and I don’t need to be in a bar.
What are your Christmas plans?
Actually, Thanksgiving belongs to my side of the family and Christmas belongs to Jeremiah. We’re not traveling for Christmas. Poppy’s having her first Christmas at home, which I hope will be a tradition that sticks.
What’s the best gift you ever got?
I’m surrounded by people who are really great gift givers. I think my favorite gift I ever received was a framed manifesto for family life that Jeremiah framed in a vintage frame for me. It was written by a clinical psychologist, Brené Brown, and it was a manifesto that is available online, but it talks about what was important to her family and how she wanted to raise her kids and it struck a chord with both of us when we read it the first time.
Do you have any last-minute Christmas decorating tips for hosts?
It’s funny. I’m not one for massive traditional holiday decorations but I appreciate them as I see them through my husband and daughter’s eyes. For the first time in my entire life, we have garlands going down the stairs and it makes me so happy. But I think one really easy thing that looks really beautiful is just fill different bowls and vessels with metallic ornaments on the coffee or entry table and they can be pottery bowls or serving bowls you have. It’s fast, it’s quick and it’s festive.