There is, as Dorothy so eloquently put it, no place like home. Especially at Christmas, and especially for the five hardworking members of Britain’s most popular boy band. After a year in which they toured the U.K. and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and 21 cities in North America; landed a spot at the Olympics closing ceremony; and recorded a new album, the lads of One Direction are looking forward to some downtime with family and friends. “I’ll probably go home to Ireland and do the same thing as every year: drink, eat, and sleep a lot,” says Niall Horan, 19. “Just chill out, become fat. We always go to the pub on Christmas Eve.”
“It’s the Christmas dinner,” says Harry Styles, 18, who tackles it with a Jagger-esque swagger. “You go in hard. Then about 7 o’clock, watching a film, you make a turkey sandwich.”
Since forming in 2010 for season seven of Britain’s The X Factor (they finished third), One Direction have become a phenomenon worth an estimated $42 million, a figure that may double next year. Their first album, Up All Night, debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., a feat no other Brits—not even the Beatles or the Rolling Stones—ever managed. At September’s MTV Video Music Awards, they won three Moonmen, including Best Pop Video for “What Makes You Beautiful.” “That and doing the Olympics was when I thought, ‘This is bigger than I ever expected it to be,’” says Liam Payne, 19. The band’s second album, Take Me Home, has just been released.
Despite their success, the band members retain a refreshing mix of innocence, charm, and cocksureness, ribbing each other as they don winter wear for their PARADE shoot. All have sensibly plowed their newfound wealth into property—for themselves and, in the case of 19-year-old Zayn Malik, for Mum and Dad. “Now that we have a bit of money, it is nice to get gifts for people,” says Zayn, who bought his parents a house in Bradford, England, where he grew up. “Before I was getting and not really giving.”
Intense media and fan scrutiny ensures that every new hairstyle or offbeat occurrence (“I lost a shoe in Paris,” says Liam, “and that made world news”) gets maximum exposure, making a trip to the shops difficult. Still, the boys like to splash their cash in person. “It’s nice to go and pick out stuff rather than doing it online,” says Harry. Adds Louis Tomlinson, 20, “I do a bit of both. I prefer to go out, but it’s finding the time and the motivation, because [when] we’ve got time off it’s nice to do nothing.”
If it comes to it, there’s always One Direction merchandise to hand out. “My little cousin might get a few dolls,” Zayn says with a laugh. “But I don’t think my mum would be too happy with a doll of me for Christmas.”
And what will they get their bandmates? “I don’t think we’ve ever bought each other a Christmas present,” muses Liam. “If it’s somebody’s birthday, I have to arrange the present—always late because I’m a bit lazy. I’m not about to become the Christmas Man as well. That’s too many jobs.”