DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with my in-laws. My brother-in-law will never invite his parents for Christmas, so my husband always insists we have a combined family Christmas with my parents so his parents are not left alone.
The problem is my in-laws have bad-mouthed my parents in the past, and they treat my parents as if they are "less than." They also don't treat me all that great.
I get into fights every year with my husband about this. This year I tried to compromise, saying I'd have the in-laws over for Christmas Eve, but my husband will not bend. He wants both families here, which means I will be uncomfortable all day. It is my Christmas, too. I know it's only one day, but why should I have to compromise and be unhappy for the rest of my life? Please help. -- DREADING CHRISTMAS IN HOWELL, MICH.
DEAR DREADING CHRISTMAS: You have to compromise because, when you married your wonderful husband, you blended your family with his -- obnoxious and pretentious as they may be. You compromise because marriage IS compromise. Keep the spirits bright by keeping the atmosphere as light as possible -- and your in-laws separate from your parents. And remember that the illusion of the "perfect family" is just that -- an illusion.