Breaking Point: Average Person Can’t Last Four Hours With Their Family Over The Holidays


  • New survey reveals that a quarter of adults seek solitude in a relative’s home during a holiday gathering.
  • Two in five people say that getting together with family for the holidays is almost always a stressful time.

NEW YORK — The holidays are supposed to be a time to come together with family and celebrate, but a new survey finds that most Americans can barely get through an evening with their family before needing a break. A total of 2,000 Americans who usually travel to visit family during the holidays took part in the research, and 75% say they will inevitably need to get away from their relatives and indulge in some much needed “me time.”

In fact, it only takes respondents an average of three hours and 54 minutes before they start to feel sick of their families. So, how are people finding some peace and quiet? According to the survey, commissioned by Motel 6, one in four Americans will find a quiet room in their relative’s home to hide away. Meanwhile, 37% take things a step further and fabricate an excuse to leave the party altogether.

The vast majority of Americans seem to have the right intentions at least, with 95% saying they believe it is important to spend time with family over the holidays. Still, two in five respondents say it is almost always a stressful experience.

Despite all that stress, 60% of respondents say they still make the journey to visit relatives every year because quality family time doesn’t happen all that often. Another 53% say they still find ways to enjoy their holiday visits, and 47% say staying with family is cheaper or more convenient.

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While it’s clear that Americans still want to visit family over the holidays, at least in theory, 30% say they believe everyone would have a better time if the whole family wasn’t under one roof. An additional 30% say their family would get along better if everyone just had a bit more space to themselves.

The average survey respondent will stay with their family for a total of three and a half days, and a big reason why most don’t stay longer is the sleeping situation. Most of this sleeping stress is derived from a lack of space; the survey found an average of two holiday house guests each year will end up sleeping on something that isn’t a bed.

Other top concerns or stressors among respondents when it comes to holiday visits were a lack of privacy (22%), family members getting on one’s nerves (20%), family drama (20%), feeling like an annoyance to hosts (19%), and a loud or busy house (17%).

Respondents were also asked about stressors when the tables are turned, and they’re the ones hosting holiday house guests. Separated by gender, the most stressful aspects of hosting family were: cleaning up (37% men, 51% women), setting up sleeping arrangements (38% men, 37% women), creating a menu (31% men, 37% women), ensuring everyone is having fun (28% men, 32% women), and finding some much-needed alone time (16% men, 18% women).

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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