The Most Annoying Home-for-the-Holidays Behaviors

A HotelTonight survey reveals the grating behaviors that aggravate parents and their adult children while visiting for the holidays. Use this information as a method of keeping the peace this holiday season.

Movies, sentimental Christmas cards and television specials capture our holiday-with-extended-family fantasies. Thoughtful relatives, cheerful décor, cozy spare bedrooms and interesting elders populate those scenes. But HotelTonight, a company whose app makes it easy to book last-minute hotel rooms, knows the truth.

HotelTonight’s survey of 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Poll, found out what exactly annoys adult children about their parents and vice versa. Think nosey questions and comments about appearance on one side versus being glued to their smartphones and not cleaning up on the other.

“I love my family, but over the years, I’ve had to endure a great aunt who insists on kissing me on the lips with bright red lipstick, and singing Bible hymns by the piano in an alcohol-free home, which is a challenge for me as I only sing loud after a few glasses of wine,” says Sam Shank, HotelTonight co-founder and CEO. “Inspired by our own holiday family grievances, we came up with the idea to Visit, not Stay.”

Obviously, a hotel booking site would promote hotel stays. But, if your budget can handle a hotel room, then what you lose in holiday decor and easy access to leftovers, just might be exceeded by the gains in peace of mind and happier time- limited encounters at the homestead.

Whether or not there’s a hotel room for the holidays in your future, adult kids and their parents can use this list (post on the refrigerator?) to avoid sore topics and sloppy behavior.

HotelTonight’s Home for the Holidays Pet Peeves

Adult kids rank their parents’ most annoying behaviors

1. Pose opinions I don’t agree with.

2. Talk about my appearance.

3. Ask personal questions about my love life.

4. Ask questions about my career.

5. Invite extended family over.

Click to the next page for parents' opinions on their children's annoying behaviors

Parents rank their adult kids’ most annoying behaviors

1. Spend too much time on their smartphones.

2. Don’t clean up after themselves.

3. Don’t pitch in with chores and cooking.

4. Sleep in too late.

5. Don’t share information about their personal lives.

Not Under My Roof

Do parents allow adult children to sleep in the same room as their significant other? Adult children responded:

66 percent said parents would allow this if they were married (So 34 percent of parents won’t let their married children sleep together when visiting?)

29 percent said parents would allow if the visiting adult children were not married, but were living together

28 percent said parents would allow if the visiting adult children were not married or living together

7 percent say their parents would never let them sleep in same room with significant other

More Pet Peeve Potential Problems


It’s weird if your old bedroom has morphed into a man cave or your mom’s craft center, and maybe weirder still if your bedroom remains a shrine to your high school years, complete with prom photos, rock posters and hockey sticks.

19 percent of parents say they have converted their adult kids’ bedrooms into a new space.

22 percent of parents have left the rooms mostly the same.


Adult children may have outgrown home-cooking, but don’t like to admit it.

64 percent said they liked their parents’ cooking, but 36 percent wouldn’t commit to liking it, even in an anonymous survey.