Why Gen Z head home for Christmas and what parents can do to keep them longer

“Baths, free food and personal waiters”: Video reveals why Gen Z head home for Christmas, when they’ll leave and what parents can do to keep them longer

Jam Press Reporter
Monday 18 December 2023 09:46 GMT
The video, from Virgin Trains, asks a group of Gen Z students to name the best things about heading home for the festive period
The video, from Virgin Trains, asks a group of Gen Z students to name the best things about heading home for the festive period (Jam Press Vid/Virgin Trains Tick)

A cheeky video has revealed the top reasons Gen Z are desperate to get back home to the family home for Christmas – and it’s not just for the hugs or quality time.

Alongside the 90-second film, shot on the streets of London, a new study from Virgin Trains Ticketing shares the exact date grown-up kids are likely to leave the festivities, and the one thing parents can do to keep them for longer… if they want to.

The video asks a group of Gen Z students to name the best things about heading home for the festive period.

Among the most amusing answers were classics such as ‘taking baths’, ‘free food’, ‘not having to pay bills’, ‘a full-up fridge’, ‘puddings’ and ‘my meals will be cooked for me’.

Others were looking forward to ‘being waited on’ or ‘being pampered’ by parents.

Meanwhile, the accompanying research revealed within hours of filling their bellies with festive food, treats and booze on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the majority (79%) of students begin to get itchy feet and start to plot their subtle retreat back to their own lives.

Incredibly, more than one in 10 young Brits (11%) say their goodbyes as early as 27 December, immediately when the festivities end.

So, what can parents do to keep the kids around for a few more days? Well, according to survey participants, nagging to help with chores is one of the top reasons youngsters flee after the festivities.

Falling out over board games and wanting their independence back were other popular reasons for ditching the family early.

Other triggers included, needing their own space once again, missing their partner, or being told off for not ‘adulting’.

The video was filmed in conjunction with a study carried out by Virgin Trains Ticketing, which essentially reveals Gen Z make a mad dash home for Christmas and then vanish once all the leftovers are gone.

Mark Plowright from Virgin Trains Ticketing, a train booking platform which allows you to save money on fares for any train across Great Britain and which has no booking fees, said:

“The festive season is a busy time for travel, with people up and down the country returning home or visiting loved ones, so it’s no surprise that Gen Z are the first to head back home, looking to get some extra TLC, free food or their washing done.

“Home comforts are clearly part of the lure, with students having had to fend for themselves for long periods of time while they were away at university. It appears parents and carers are set for a hectic time over Christmas once the grown-up kids get back and start raiding the fridge day and night.

“It is interesting to see that some do want to head back so quickly once the festivities are over and their bellies are full, but by that time they would’ve spent close to a fortnight enjoying quality time at home."

The separate study of 1,251 Gen Z’s and older students, along with parents with Gen Z-aged kids, found most will finish college or work on 15 December and travel home the following day.

More than half (51%) will make that journey by train, whilst 37% will travel by car, with Virgin Trains Ticketing offering zero booking fees, split tickets and reward points for discounts on future travel.

Most parents can rest easy as travel costs are unlikely to leave a dent in the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ this year, with 87% of young people paying their own fare, leaving just 17% of parents or guardians picking up the bill.

Plowright added: “Virgin Trains Ticketing is the most rewarding train booking app and with more than three quarters admitting they are ready to head back to their own lives so quickly after Christmas Day, we’re giving a helping hand with £5 off their second train journey booked with us.”

Top 10 reasons Gen Z dash home for Christmas:

  1. Being able to wind down and relax
  2. Having dinner cooked for them
  3. Christmas traditions
  4. Christmas dinner
  5. Seeing old friends
  6. The fridge is always full
  7. To see extended family
  8. To be pampered by parents
  9. To see their pets again
  10. Parents do their laundry

Top 10 reasons for Gen Z wanting to leave the family home after Christmas:

  1. Wanting their own space
  2. Missing friends
  3. Wanting their independence back
  4. The fun bit has ended
  5. They had to share a bedroom
  6. They were being nagged about helping with chores
  7. Missing their partner
  8. Being told off for not ‘adulting’ properly
  9. Falling out over board games
  10. No more presents to open

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