Nick Jonas doesn’t have much downtime, but when the holidays roll around, his hectic schedule doesn’t keep him from braving the stores like the rest of us. The 25-year-old star—who was just nominated for a Golden Globe for his song “Home” from the movie Ferdinand—does whatever it takes to make sure he scores the right gifts for his loved ones, although he admits that his timing for actually getting started is a bit, well, delayed.
“For some reason, my holiday shopping strategy is to wait until the very last second and do it all within two or three days,” Jonas told InStyle yesterday before performing a surprise mini-concert at the Chase Pay Village in New York City. “And it’s really dumb, because we know the date of Christmas—it doesn't change. It's the same day every year, and yet every year, I’m shocked that it arrives when it does. So I think the plan this year, for my family, is to target what they need—something essential—and then also find something that I think will make them feel good.”
The trickiest names on Jonas’s holiday shopping list? His nieces: Alena, 3, and Valentina, 1. “It's hard because my older niece, Alena, she’ll like something one time that I'm there, and then a couple weeks go by and she's at that age where she likes something new every week,” said Jonas, who teamed up with Chase Pay to encourage his fans to use mobile wallets while shopping this season. “And then the old thing is old news, so we can't get her that.” Jonas has started to think strategically so that his gifts for Alena don’t fall flat. “I have to be thinking ahead,” he said. “Like, what's the next trend she's gonna get on? And then spread it out and cover my bases.”
The proud uncle is certainly determined to find the perfect presents for his nieces, but he tries not to indulge them too much. “I think I am reasonable about it,” he said. “I don't spoil them. I just try to be really specific about what they're getting, and hopefully it's something that will last them a long time.” So far, his method is working. “I just got my niece a book—it was actually on her sister's birthday, but you have to get both of them a gift or they're going to be left out—so I got her a book that she'll have for her life. It's a nice little pop-up book, and hopefully she will think of me all the time.”
Scroll down for our full chat with Jonas, in which he dishes on his favorite holiday traditions, his turtleneck obsession, hitting the gym with Kevin Hart, and more.
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What's your favorite holiday tradition?
It used to be putting up the tree. My dad would take a very long time and explain every single ornament. My parents had an ornament collection that went back to basically when they met. So at that point it was 15 years of marriage, and at this point it would be 30-something years of going through it. So thankfully we don't do that anymore as a family, but there was a time. Now, the tradition is just to eat a lot of great cookies. My mom makes these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that will blow your mind. She puts a little oatmeal in there, as well. It's great.
When you were growing up, who was the first one to wake up on Christmas morning?
My little brother, Frankie. I'm 8 years older than he is, so I was a bit older at that point. Before that, I imagine that I was the first one—it's kind of always the youngest. But I also didn't believe in Santa, because my parents wanted me to know that they spent the money on the gifts. So it was pretty clear it was them. Like, if I had said ‘I believe in Santa,’ they would have kept the illusion alive. But then, conveniently, the thing that I wanted would have fallen out of my mom's closet, and she would have been like ‘Oh, I don't know how that got there.’
Is there one holiday song that never gets old for you?
Bing Crosby, White Christmas. That whole album, I could listen to it on repeat. And then “Blue Christmas.” I like sad Christmas songs, too—it's a lot of, like, positive songs, but I'm super into songs that make you cry. It's good, though. Because Christmas is so happy for the most part, but when you have the ones that are emotional, it just makes them so much better. Like “Christmas Shoes,” prime example. Great song. Highly emotional. It's good—good stuff.
You recently released your own Christmas song with Shania Twain, and you’ve told us before that you’re a huge fan of hers. Do you remember the first time you ever met her?
I do remember the first time I met her. I went to her Vegas show with my girlfriend at the time, and I was singing my heart out. And the last song in her set was "Man! I Feel Like A Woman." It's just such a great song, and I was singing it and met her right after that, and I've never felt so good in my life. She's a fantastic person, and then we've now had the chance to work together twice and I just think she's amazing.
Another song of yours, “Home,” from the movie Ferdinand, was just nominated for a Golden Globe. You’ve said that you wrote it about your family. Who from the Jonas fam reached out to congratulate you first?
My dad called me when I was dead asleep to tell me, but I literally was out. So I called him right back, put him on FaceTime with my mom and it was a great moment. I was still kind of half asleep at the time, but I called him three or four other times throughout the day to just still process it. It's been a week of that. It's a really special thing, and I'm still in shock and kind of blown away. I've just tried to tell myself that it's okay to take the time to really think about it. After that, I called all my family and they've been amazing—so happy and excited for me, and it's been cool.
You've worn many a cool turtlenecks in the past. What do you love about a really great turtleneck?
I love that a turtleneck can go south. I love the risk of it. I think the idea of taking bold choices like that is good. Taking bold risks like that is good. With fashion, it's always that line of, like, a really classic element and making it your own somehow. And from the time I became a man, I just felt like turtlenecks and I had an understanding where I wear the turtleneck—it doesn't wear me. If I meet one that is doing its own thing and trying to take over my face or my neck or cut my neck in half, it's not happening.
Do you have any tips for guys who want to pull off the turtleneck look?
Yes. You've got to find your turtleneck. Find your size. Your neck, the length of your neck, is a big piece to do with it. Some guys might like a mock neck, a mock turtle—like Daniel Craig pulls off the mock turtle, and a real one. But Dwayne Johnson, for instance, my cast-mate in Jumanji, wore one the other night. Big guy. He found a turtleneck, though. It worked.
When you were filming Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, did you ever hit the gym with The Rock himself?
Didn't work out together, no. He does his own thing and it's very secret, the whole operation. Except for when he posts about it on social media for his 25 billion followers. I worked out with Kevin Hart though, a couple times. His trainer is really intense and screams at him the whole time, and I didn't enjoy that. I like to have more of a meditative experience, kind of, when I work out.