Christmas dilemma


I’ll try to be as succinct as possible…
It is 28 October today… we got confirmation yesterday that my DH is deploying to Iraq by 8 Jan 06. We live off post so we’ll have to pack up the house and move on post. We have to give the landlord a 30 day notice from the next rent date (which is 1 Nov). Housing told us they could have a new house for us and will let us know next week (first week of Nov).

We HAD plans to visit my folks in Japan for Christmas. The deployment changed those plans and now DH wants to visit his family in Ohio for Christmas.

We have spent the past three Christmas’s with his family. They are not Catholic, and to make a long story short-- are very anti-Catholic. I won’t waste time detailing what I’ve been through with that.

We don’t have the money to travel to Ohio with a family of five via plane or car. In order to make the time constraints of packing and moving a house (which we just did back on 1 May, gave birth to our 3rd baby on 6 May, and on 17 May started our drive across the country from GA to CA), getting his paperwork done that is MANDATORY to be done within the 30 day window of reporting in country which those dates also encompass holiday half day schedules and block leave… he wants to go to Ohio to visit his mom (who is 90 but very physically capable of traveling) because “You never know.”

I didn’t visit my family last Christmas due to some other reasons and my grandfather was hit and killed by a truck in Feb. My grandmother still reminds me of that fact that we changed our minds. So the “you never know” concept just doesn’t sit well with me.

I’ve been praying about it, but I really, really, really hate the thought of going to Ohio for Christmas. I am heartbroken that we can’t go to Japan, added to the stress that my DH is about to go into a combat zone for a year and I’m left behind with three yung’uns with our oldest about to be six in December.

maybe I just talked myself into talking to him about having his family come to us instead of us going to them… would that be a better idea? I would not want to have to put up with his family if he was to be killed and he didn’t see them before he left. My MIL would certainly rub that in my face (along with the fact that he’s not baptised, but that’s another thread in and of itself).

Thanks for reading this through.


Can he go out for a quick weekend to Ohio? Not over a holiday, but just any weekend between now and then? Southwest Airlines usually has cheap rates (like $99/roundtrip, plus tax), and actually I know a lot of military (marines, specifically) who have special flying privileges if they go solo (they can use the military airline). It doesn’t sound like that applies in your case, though.

Just because he wants to see his family before January does not mean the whole family has to go for Christmas. And nor does it mean you have to have guests come visit in the midst of all your personal chaos of packing, moving and preparing for deployment.

I would think you’d want a nice quiet family Christmas with just the five of you before he leaves, and the week before deployment to be immediate family time–not entertaining relatives that don’t sound very kind to begin with.

I’m sorry your trip to Japan is not working out, though, too. :frowning:


maybe I just talked myself into talking to him about having his family come to us instead of us going to them… would that be a better idea? I would not want to have to put up with his family if he was to be killed and he didn’t see them before he left. My MIL would certainly rub that in my face (along with the fact that he’s not baptised, but that’s another thread in and of itself).

Thanks for reading this through.

I think the idea of having them come to you is a very good one. After all, they aren’t having to change homes and get things ready for your dh to go, are they? I’d suggest it to your dh giving him as many good reasons as possible, if I were you. Men love to have good reasons for nearly everything they do.

If your MIL and family wants to see their son and brother, then they should be considerate of you in your situation and visit you even if they are anti-Catholic. Maybe you could invite them to go to Midnight Mass with you, which might help them change their minds.


I don’t know how much good advice I can give you here but I’ll share my thoughts and situation. We live near almost all of my extended family and my DH’s family is about 7 hours away. We have traditionally spent Thanksgiving and New Year’s with his family and the other holidays with mine. This year we are going to his house for Christmas and I am quite upset by it. His family isn’t anti-Catholic, but my DH doesn’t actually know what religion any of his siblings are. They haven’t gone to any sort of religious service together (except for our wedding) in many many years. I am sad to be away from my family and parish but I do get to see them regularly. My DH’s family’s celebrations don’t seem “right” to me but his dad’s alzheimers is getting worse every day and his mom is selling their family property and moving so it’s time to bite my tongue and head down to crazyville.

Your situation is much more complicated as you aren’t near any of your relatives. I can understand why your husband wants to see his family before leaving for Iraq. He is probably feeling some anxiety (as are you too) and the thought that something could happen to one of them while he is overseas is probably also weighing heavily on his heart.

It sounds like going to Japan isn’t an option. As difficult as it will be for you, I would do my best to make his hope of going to Ohio for Christmas a possibility. If it means spending less on gifts or making the trip your gifts, so be it. It sounds like this is something your husband really wants and part of a successful marriage is sacrifice. If something did happen to one of his relatives while he was gone, I don’t think you would want the guilt of knowing that you stood between he and his family before he left. At the same time, I would try to make plans to have a Christmas celebration of your own at home with just your kids. Those memories and times together are important too.


I’m with Princess Abby, have him go alone before the holidays for a day or 2.

It just doesn’t make sense to frazzle everyone by taking the whoel family there or having them visit you.

Honestly, if the families don’t get along - this would probably make for a better visit anyhow and won’t ruin anyones holidays.


I don’t really see why you, with your young family, have to do all the travelling. If his parents are fit and well, and I can understand they want to get together before he goes, then can’t they come to you? It doesn’t have to be for Christmas either. Otherwise I agree with the idea of sending your husband for a weekend. I’m sure they want to see the children too but if they won’t make the compromise and travel, then they can’t complain :wink: What are their means like? If you tell them you are sending your husband because you can’t afford to come, might they pay for all of you if they are keen to see the children?

I can understand your disappointment at not going to Japan and it is well your turn to spend the time with your family this Christmas. Are you able to get refunds on your tickets and get your parents to come out and visit you instead? Maybe use the money you would have paid on tickets to help them out? Can you visit Japan earlier, rather than for Christmas? Or after your husband is gone can you visit them yourself?

Just a few ideas anyway. :slight_smile: It’s stressful enough having your husband going away without having to handle family politics.


The life of the military wife! My heart is with ya sister!

Have his family come to visit say early December, but act like it is Christmas for them. If they do not have faith in Christ the actual day will not matter unless they are pagan and want to honor the sun god :wink: . Then as a family, just your immediate family have a very quiet and special Christmas to really seal in some memories and relax before the big departure. THis is hard on everyone, so some good quiet time together will be better than trying to rush everything in before he goes. Then When he does leave, you will feel like you had some of your own time with him. Do not spread yourself fo thin.

Then after your hubby leaves, take the trip to visit your family in Japan. Your parents should understand the delay of time due to the situation. Plus, you will want a break or change in your routine after your hubby leaves.

As for the in-laws, me to! I actually got into an arguement of the inmportance of faith while I was on my way out the door to church with my DH and kiddos on the last visit. Do not let them ruin your time, but give them an opportunity to visit before the real deal. If they turn down the invitation, then you have nothing to feel quilty for.

Wow, CA. In San Diego? Go for the housing. With Hubby going away for so long, you will want the extra support of neighbors who understand! Of course this will make your in-laws visiting amoung boxes :smiley: ! It could be an eye opener for them! Maybe they could help put stuff away.

Really, make time for your family alone with hubby before he leaves! ANd get him baptized! And give him a St.Christopher medal and crucifix if allowed.

My heart goes out to you and your family! May God keep him and your family safe while you are separated.


[quote=tamccrackine]… I really, really, really hate the thought of going to Ohio for Christmas. I am heartbroken that we can’t go to Japan…

It sounds to me like THIS is the crux of the matter. I think this is a perfect opportunity for you to be generous and go with your husband to Ohio. His mother is 90, he is about to go in harm’s way.

You can go to Japan with the kids after he deploys.

May God bless him and keep him while he is over there. And may He watch over you as well.

Please thank him for his service on my behalf.


God Bless YOU, military wife and mother. Having lived it, I know what you are going through–it’s blessings and curses. I don’t have any answers for your dilemma with the holiday but do know that you are carrying a great weight.

I guess if I have any suggestion it would be to get some time to yourself in the next few days to spend with our Lord in prayer–maybe in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In that time, talk to Him and tell Him all that you have shared with us and then all of the other thoughts that are still in your heart. Cry if you need to–ask Him to dry your tears and carry this burden with you. Ask Him to give you clarity at this very confusing time in your life. Ask for the strength to do what is right for your marriage which is your first vocation and your children which is the fruit of that love. Ask Him for the strength you will need to face your husband and or family members in whatever the decision will be–to face them with the LOVE of Christ. He will not let you down. He WILL be with you if you ask Him.

Thank YOU and your husband for your service and sacrifice for our country, our world. I’ll keep you in our prayers throughout the next year as we as a family pray daily for our military members and their families.

Jesus, I Trust in You!


Everyone else has given you good advice about what to do this particular year. I just have some general advice.

When you are recently married and have very young children, it is typical to want to go visit the parents or the inlaws for Christmas and other holidays. But I think it is important to make it a practice to celebrate Christmas in your own home and at your home parish AT LEAST every other year if not more often. It makes a lot more sense to have the grandparents come and visit you if they are able to travel. If they are not able to travel, then they are probably past the point where they should be hosting large gatherings at their home.

Parents and inlaws often have romantic notions about having all their children and grandchildren together for the holidays but unless the whole family lives close by this will probably be a once or twice in a lifetime event. The grandparents may not like it but that’s just life. Remember this when you have grandchildren.

I understand that your husband and his parents want to see each other before he is deployed. And they should have that meeting. But if it must be at his parents home, then it probably needs to be just him who goes. And it shouldn’t be over Christmas. That is his time to be with his wife and children. He can visit earlier in the month. He’ll probably have more actual visiting time that way anyways.

You will find that it will more and more be the case that visits to family for weddings, birthdays, funerals, etc will not be full family visits. Your children will soon have their own obligations and responsibilities.

Your own visit to Japan may very well have to be without your husband. I imagine such a trip will be hard if you have to manage three children but it can be done. Do you have any other relatives, perhaps a sibling, that could travel with you at least one way?

I’ll be praying for you and your family.


Thanks to your family for your service to our country!

I’m with Abby, ask your husband to do a quick weekend visit to his family alone. Be diplomatic and explain that this year the circumstances are different and a family trip over a holiday is just not possible. If your DH’s family doesn’t bite on that I would say nicely, that you would like to spend the holiday alone since DH is being deployed.

I am sorry that you won’t see your family either. It is hard at first to celebrate without extended family - I have gotten used to this and developed our own little traditions. This does make the distance hurt a little less.


Thanks to all of you that posted some good advice.

On a Journey… thank you for the most spiritual advice I could possibly take right now. I really appreciate it. I went with a Rosary while cleaning. I needed that anyway… and it’s helped. It gave me the courage I needed to address my DH when he got home today about what has been weighing on my heart. And Mary helped to calm my heart of all this worry.

Bottom line… he supports what we need to do and that’s to take care of us. He said going to Ohio isn’t his priority but to get us situated and settled is. So the Holy Spirit is at work there and I can’t tell you what a relief hearing him express that was to my heart. He also said he’ll throw the idea of them coming to us at them to see what they’ll say. If they can’t make it, he said that’s ok too.

BillP… my crux isn’t being heartbroken about going to Japan. In my attempt to be succint in the OP , I left out a few details…I haven’t seen my folks in over three years minus a four day visit upon the very sudden tragic death of my grandfather this past Feb. It was the first time my father saw my three year old and he has yet to see my baby. My mother saw my three year old for the second time at the funeral and was with us as we packed our house in GA, four days later I gave birth to our baby, and she left 24 hours later. We just moved from GA and my mother in law lived 4 hours from us. So for three years, we visited ever other month and saw her for Christmas. Our new duty location is 1.5 hours from an overbearing-told-me-I-married-the-wrong-man-smacks-my-5yo-for-no-reason-sister in law. So yes… I think I feel a bit entitled to visit my parents once in a blue moon. My father is military and my husband and I are both military… we accept that. And we deal with it to the best of our ability… but it doesn’t negate my disappointment. I’ll live and I’ll probably visit them in April with my three girls. I’m sorry I didn’t give enough detail as to why I was upset for not being able to go… I hope this clarifies it. :slight_smile:

So I sincerely thank the people that gave me some more ideas to chew on, the guidance to continue to pray, and the prayers of support. And my husband says thank you to all of you for your supporting me and to thank all of you for your continued support and prayers for our soldiers. :thumbsup:


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