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Shawn Mendes Says He Was ‘Counting Down the Minutes’ to Bring Camila Cabello Home for Christmas

Shawn Mendes is home for the holidays — and he brought company!

The "Monster" singer returned to his Canadian hometown with girlfriend Camila Cabello and new golden retriever pup Tarzan.

"I’m going back to my home in Pickering," Mendes, 22, told PEOPLE just days before he made his return last week. "Camila’s coming with me, and we’re going to be quarantining in my parents’ house — so back in my childhood bedroom. And we’ll be with my immediate family."

"I haven’t looked forward to something so much in so long — it’s really like counting down the minutes," he added.

For more on Shawn Mendes, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

While tagging along to a significant other's holiday festivities can be daunting, Cabello has, of course, known Mendes's family for years — to the point that his dad has called her his "daughter-in-law"!

The "Señorita" duet partners have been friends since 2014, they went public with their relationship in July 2019, and it's getting serious: Mendes recently revealed they've talked about getting engaged.

So why is Cabello, 23, Mendes's "person"?

"I don’t know why, but I just know that she is," Mendes tells PEOPLE. "I think that your person really just has to be your best friend, and she has been that for so many years now. She is so unapologetically diving into love, and she really taught me what it is to be vulnerable and honest and true in a relationship."

"She’s really so brave and courageous in love," he adds. "I'm constantly learning from her."

Mendes spent much of 2020 quarantining with Cabello in her native Miami since the coronavirus pandemic hit North America in March. And Mendes has said the "Havana" singer inspired all the love songs on his latest album Wonder, which he completed in the pandemic and just became his fourth record to top the Billboard 200 chart. (A deluxe edition of the set features Cabello on a duet of the holiday classic "The Christmas Song.")

"My sister played me Frankie Valli’s 'Can’t Take My Eyes off You' one day when I got back from tour, and I was immediately tossed into ’60s love songs and amazing drum fills and the Beatles and the Beach Boys," he says. "Sonically my new album really was so ’60s-inspired. Conceptually I just knew that I had to free myself and be very authentic and honest and push that boundary."

"That’s always the hardest part, telling the truth, and I really feel like this one hits that on a lot of levels. During those three months in lockdown is when I really started to go inward and write down my feelings about what I wanted to say with this album," he adds.

To cap off the launch of Wonder, Mendes performed a virtual concert with the American Express Unstaged series, which benefited his Shawn Mendes Foundation, which aims to empower youth. Looking forward 2021, Mendes hopes to get back onstage with real crowds — when it's safe to do so.

"I'm obviously hoping coronavirus can start to make its way out and we can get back and play some shows because I'm dying to see everyone's face in person again," he says. "And no more Zooms!"


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