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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Opts to Visit Home for Holidays From a Hotel

DEAR ABBY: For the first time in eight years, my husband and I will be staying in a hotel when we visit his parents for Christmas. While I love his family, their home is small, and we are relegated to a trundle bed and must share the sole bathroom with the entire family. It's impossible for us to be comfortable with so many people in such close quarters. We assumed that sleeping in a nearby hotel and visiting during the days and evenings would be a fair compromise.

We were shocked at their reaction when we discussed our plans with the family. They are very hurt about our decision and extremely offended. They are begging us to reconsider and stay in their home.

Are our actions selfish and cold-hearted? We mean no harm, and are so surprised at the strong reaction that we're starting to question our judgment. Should we travel and stay in the hotel, or just scrap the trip altogether? -- STAYING HOME NEXT YEAR

DEAR STAYING HOME: No, you, your husband and his parents should discuss this more fully. You didn't mention how many family members will be spending the holidays in that small house. While I sympathize with family traditions, as children grow into adulthood certain realities come into play.

If you prefer to sleep in a hotel and have a private bathroom and the ability to have a private conversation if you wish, I don't think it's too much to ask. But I'd hate to see you cancel a family visit because of the pressure that is being exerted. That's in no one's best interests.