am i being a bad wife/DIL to not go Xmas

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
am i being a bad wife/DIL to not go Xmas
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 2:38am
My husband's parents live in a very isolated, rural part of Iowa that is 2-1/2 hrs from nearest tiny airport. We live in South Fla. I do not want to go to Iowa at Xmas.

He won't go without me (perhaps the reason is his parents said they don't want him to do that).

I have reasons for not wanting to go there for Xmas.

It's a super long day of airports & long drives to get to their place. It's a tiny house along the highway. Not a farm. I was so sick from the traveling & the house was is uncomfortable. The airline tickets are fairly expensive. I don't want to take a tiny propeller plane in icy conditions & a few other reasons that are fairly substantial for not wanting to go (I'll be uncomfortable- my teeth actually do chatter in weather under 60 degrees- LOL). We won't have a car to even get food & the house didn't even have milk in the fridge last time. 6 people will be sharing one super teensy attic. With the fairly costly airline tickets (abt $400/person) we can't really afford an inn room & don't have a car there to get to & from. Plus, we live on a budget & don't get to travel. My DH works very long hours & even some weekends.

My DH has been firm that we have to do this.

Am I being unreasonable?

His parents will be staying with us in Fla. only a month later for their vacation. His brother/sister have never wanted to visit us & don't keep in touch really. No one in his family will give me a gift even. I really don't think I can get myself comfortable in the situation. I'm afraid I'll be miserable, get a cold (as they keep the house very cool) & just kind of feel dragged out there unreasonably. Or am I being unreasonable? I think my DH is almost 40 & we own our own home. Why is Xmas at our home so unimportant to him?


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 9:13am
Ah, the culture clash - destroyed more than one marriage. Why is spending the most significant family holiday of the year with your husband's parents so unimportant to you?

I too come from a very tiny rural town in western Kansas (weather almost identical to Iowa, but more violent winters), so I understand that part of your post. But it still wouldn't matter - spending time with family is more important than anything else in life. I wouldn't care if they lived in the Yukon - I would still find a way to get there for the holiday.

The reasons you give in your post for not going include only physical discomfort and fears, which can all be dealt with in one way or another.

<<< It's a super long day of airports & long drives to get to their place.>>>

Would you have the same complaint if they lived in So. California? So bring a book to read or a craft project to occupy the time.


Are you going there to visit the family, or visit the house? Why does it's location matter? So take some dramamine and painkillers with you, and again - the craft project or something to keep your hands and mind occupied while visiting, so the closeness of the house doesn't bother you so much.


You don't say where in Iowa they live, but my goodness, this is not wilderness we're talking about. The nearest airport is probably Des Moines or Omaha - both are mid-size airports, and flights between Fla. and Iowa are the same kind of planes you would fly to anywhere else. As for icy conditions, we don't have Ice here all winter long - just once in a while and I'm fairly sure the airport people in Iowa deal with ice better than they do in Florida. I wouldn't worry about this part one bit.


A natural effect of being acclimated to warmer weather - all I can advise is to pack warm clothing. It's better to dress in layers, and don't be embarassed to wear gloves inside the house, if you need to.


Don't his parents have a car? Like most rural families, they have some form of transportation to get groceries, to the doctor, etc. Good grief, just borrow theirs. You would be a good houseguest to run into town for groceries while you're there, anyway.

<<<6 people will be sharing one super teensy attic. With the fairly costly airline tickets (abt $400/person) we can't really afford an inn room & don't have a car there to get to & from.>>>

Yes, close quarters and crowded. But just remind yourself, over and over, "it's only for a few days" and remember everyone else is just as crowded as you are. Some tips: keep your things contained in your suitcases, ask others if they need the bathroom before you occupy it for a shower, and find a corner in the house where you can sit comfortably and watch the action around you and participate with the family - even if it's just a pillow on the floor out of the lane of traffic.


Do I hear a bit of resentment here? I'd bet you would rather spend some alone time with just your DH over the holiday, since you don't get to see him as much as you'd like, and bet you can think of many other more desirable places to travel. But this is family, and it is Christmas. I'd go with him and be grateful to get to know his family better.



His parents will be staying with us in Fla. only a month later for their vacation. His brother/sister have never wanted to visit us & don't keep in touch really. No one in his family will give me a gift even.>>>

Maybe that's because you act so uncomfortable around them. No wonder.


It's not that it's unimportant to spend Xmas at your home, but that it IS important to him to spend Xmas with his parents. After all, they are the people who made him into the man you are in love with. So be a gracious houseguest, dress warm, and enjoy the time you have with your DH.

He will appreciate having you come with him willingly, rather than making him feel like a louse for "making" you go.

Good luck.



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 10:23am
i know i sound a little spoiled for not wanting to go. it has nothing to do w/ the fact that it is rural & i like his parents- just that i think it's a little sad to be recommended to take medication & knitting to just get through the days sitting in an uncomfortably cold, crammed spot (you're not the first person to recommend those methods to me). it makes it sound like i'm going to prison for the weekend.

i just don't see 'the holidays' as needing to be a very specific way. i've spent them w/ only friends when i couldn't afford a ticket across country from where i used to live. it was good & meaningful to spend it w/ friends also.

i know i sound selfish & spoiled. but the budget issue & the discomfort for me in the cold are substantial- not minor as they may seem to others. my lips turn blue even in So. Cal. & i get colds in the winter very easily....

i like his family. i don't believe that the holidays 'have' to be spent with one's parents. they are well & are still married & have their church & their extended family. yes, it's nice to be w/ family but i don't think it's this really big shame not to be if you can't really do so very reasonably at the time. i know it's different than the majority view.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 12:39pm
I agree with Msfit even though I understand your point of view. My fingers and lips turn blue even at 68C. I catch flus easily, and my sinus cavities often get infected when this happens. But you can't catch a cold unless the virus is going around!

My advice is to go with the flow. Listen to your husband, just because you don't mind spending Xmas with friends doesn't mean he does. Get a travel agent, arrange for cheap airline tickets, motel and rental car. Make this an Xmas present for your husband. That way you can spend time alone with him as well. I know this is not what you wanted to hear

Remeber, you alone can make your own heaven or hell. If you go there and are miserable, people will treat you miserably. If you go there with an open mind, then you will have a great time. Just remember the mittens and scarves and jackets!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2003
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 2:10pm
How many years have you gone to his parents house for X-Mas?

Maybe you can compromise and the next year you guys can go where you want to go (or stay at home) for X-Mas. You should get to be where you want to be for X-Mas sometimes too right. So maybe you can do alternate years at his families house in Iowa.

Just and idea.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 3:30pm
Hi Nyditz!

My sister does that. Every other holiday, every other year. Then you can always have the excuse, "it isn't your year for me to see you". :P

I really can't think of a more fair way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 08-26-2003 - 3:57pm
I disagree with the other posters. Too often, holidays, especially Christmas, become obligation ridden hell days in which we must all make ourselves miserable so that someone can have that picture perfect family holiday. I stopped pretending a long time ago, and now I refuse to spend time with people who treat me badly just to maintain the facade of a happy family. When it comes to my DH's family, we have decided that we will not do Christmas with them either. We live in IN and they live in WA state. We spend several thousand $$ just getting there. The entire time we go from one family function to another, and barely even see our own children. DH's family is so huge that after a day or so we go into overload and just want to go home. I love his family, but it is much better to visit when there isn't a major holiday so that we can actually spend quality time with close family members and maintain our sanity.

The other thing, the most important part to me, is that creating your own holiday traditions is more important than maintaining dated traditions that mean little or nothing to those who are expected to participate. We all tend to attach too much importance to one date, or one holiday, or several traditions. DH and I have actully dropped Christmas alltogether, instead we celebrate Solstice which has much more meaning to us. This also means that we don't have to compete for our children's time during the holidays. But, then, I am a radical.

Spending time with family is important, but it is ridiculous to make yourself sick or miserable in order to do so. Is there some sort of compromise possible? If your DH insists that you go, then you insist that he make sure that you are more comfortable while you are there. So, he has a talk with his parents way ahead of time and you are ensured that you will have access to a car, and that the accomadations are warmer, and a little more private or you don't go. That is if you can count on him to handle so that you are not made out to be unreasonable or the bad guy. He can be as firm as he wants, but he cannot make you go unless you let him.

No, I don't think you are being unreasonable or selfish to want to spend Christmas at home especially if no even cares enough to give you a gift while you are there. I'm not saying that you are going for the gifts, but the not even attempting to give you even a token gift says a lot about your place in that family. Have you spoken to DH about this? Why do they care if you are there or not? Are you the second wife? Do you have kids?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 10:21am
I know my opinion is probably not the "right" one or whatever and I'm not married so I can't say what I would do, but I definitely don't blame u for wanting to have a NICE fun and warm Xmas, I would too! I always will want to see my parents and I cant blame ur DH for wanting to see his, but PLEASE. It sounds miserable. I know what its like being in the middle of nowhere, I live in a small town and it sucks, but hey at least our house is NEAR a couple of bigger cities (where I work and go to school etc) and we have plenty of room, food, and warmth - the basic stuff u need!!! To me it sounds like ur DH is not thinking of u here, how miserable u would be. And the fact that he gets to see his parents just a month later under more comfy conditions just makes it that much more obvious that u shouldnt have to waste money and spend ur holidays unhappy. Like I said I am not married or anything, but this is how I feel. I mean I think it would be WAY different if u guys were newlyweds in ur 20's but in my opinion when u get married u start ur OWN family (u and DH) and that should be the most important, even tho of course ur parents and extended fam. is still important too, when u get married u pledge to make each other ur top priority, right? Good luck! I hope it works out! Rhiannon
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2003
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 11:33am
Hi CaGirl,

I have to work on this type of problem myself. My husband refuses to go with me to NY to visit family. So I go once a year for a weekend alone. He says he has no reason to go because his mom comes down at least twice a year. It is just so annoying because all I get is "Where is your DH, why didn't he come with you?". I am sure my whole family thinks we have a rocky marriage because I always go up there alone. Oh well, I think I am just going to be more demanding next time. He has to go because I say so ;)



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 1:35pm
I absolutely hate traveling on the holidays, and it seems the older I get the worse it gets. I completely hear you with regard to not wanting to go somewhere you will be very uncomfortable. Why not make plans to visit them when the weather is warmer out there, when it is NOT a holiday, and you can relax a bit more? I think you and your husband can come up with some kind of compromise without either of you being unhappy.

My husband and I see eye to eye on the whole holiday travel and visiting family situation. My husband's parents are divorced, and his mom is remarried, and so there are even more family events we attend. I also have a large family, and so we try to pick and choose the events we a) can attend without too much trouble, and b) ones where we can spend some quality time with the family, without the need to rush. Even when I don't want to attend some family event, and my husband does, I basically psych myself up to go to it and end up having a good time. We are going to his cousin's baby's first birthday party this weekend (mind you we never see his aunt or uncle, nevermind his cousin), but I was willing to cook and bring something, and I am looking forward to participating and having a good time.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2003
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 1:59pm
I have to ask: how many times have you actually been to your in-laws house in the time you've been married? I ask this because I live in North Central Iowa and there are airports all over the place. I find it hard to believe that they are two and a half hours away from even the tiniest airport. There are no trips longer than an hour to any airport in the state. Plus, try being the bigger person and suck it up. What would your husband do if something suddenly happened to them and he lost them? Would you make the effort to attend funeral services but couldn't find it in your heart to spend time with them while they were living? Marriage is about sacrifice a lot of the time and doing this with your husband will mean a lot more to him in the long run. You have time to save money to make the trip and it may be more fun than you're thinking.

I would recommend doing some research on all the area has to offer - I could even recommend some places to visit with your in-laws and husband to make the trip more memorable, but I don't know where you're headed. Bring warm clothing as some others have mentioned and you won't catch a cold from the cold itself. You have to know that already! The weather isn't to blame for that! I can get a cold in the 95 degree weather we're having now and the humidity is over 60%! Take some precautionary measures before and during your trip and you'll be fine.