Family is wonderful (in small doses).

By Jessica Plautz
December 07, 2016
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Do you remember in “Home Alone 2,” when Kevin McCallister ends up in New York City instead of with his family for Christmas vacation, so he checks in to The Plaza and has a marvelous time (at the expense of Tim Curry)?

Well, you may not be a kid, and you may not be in New York City, but you can still have a marvelous time for the holidays by staying in a hotel instead of with family.

Before you decide this is at odds with the spirit of the season, hear me out: Visiting family is wonderful. But staying with family? Staying with family can turn quality time into a stress-filled ticking fruit cake destined to explode with lingering familial resentment.

And according to a poll of 2,049 U.S. adults by HotelTonight, there are plenty of reasons parents and adult children can benefit from some breathing room in between holiday dinners, rounds of egg nog, and gift exchanges. The online survey asked about what bothered parents and adult children when they visited home, and the lists make it clear no one really gets past the teenage phase with their family.

Adult children's biggest complaint about their parents was that they “pose opinions I don't agree with,” while parents' biggest grievance was that their children “spend too much time on their smartphones.” (Maybe if they weren't tired of the opinions, they'd get off their phones?)

Meanwhile, annoyance over chores apparently never goes away: Only 47 percent of parents said their adult children offered to help with chores over the holidays.

For the younger generation, the top five most annoying parental behavior was:

  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

For parents, the complaints were that their adult children:

  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

Of course, staying in a hotel is not going to get rid of all of these complaints—but it can put more emphasis on making the time spent together about quality. Three of the top five complaints from parents would disappear, and every adult child has more patience for personal questions if, after dinner, they can go back to the hotel and binge “Fixer Upper.” If you're convinced, get some tips for saving on hotels.

So parents: Give your kids some space. And kids: Get off your phone and do the dishes.