(Strip Number 5058, Original Publication Date, 10 December 1988)
Panel 1: When Mike says that he isn't going to the farm this Christmas, Elly reminds his that he'd miss seeing John's parents. (Hint: he's more familiar with her parents and likes them better because he realizes that Will and Carrie made John into the massive weeping dick he is.)
Panel 2: When he repeats his statement about NOT going to the farm this Christmas, she tells them that he'd miss seeing his cousins and the beauty of a prairie winter. (Translation: He would be spared lectures about ingratitude from sub-par hosts and also end up becoming cravenly grateful for indoor plumbing when a wind-chill of minus 40 makes the plumbing at Exile Farm freeze solid forcing him to use a honey-bucket when he needs to use the biffy.)
Panel 3: She finally figures out how to stop all this "I am NOT going to the farm for Christmas" nonsense by telling him that all of his presents are going to be in Manitoba.
Panel 4: When he makes that fake, crazy, no-way, ridiculous "I have an idea so I'm aping Sylvester The Cat and pointing to the ceiling like a total God-damned macaroon" gesture Pattersons make when they Have Epiphanies and says that he IS going to the farm for Christmas, she smiles the smug smile of a smug idiot who didn't think a plan through.
Summary: While I might complain about Francesco Marciuliano's over-fondness of pop culture and his tendency to make male leads into author avatars, he at least knows something Elly doesn't: distant relatives are distant for a reason. I also remember that while Elly grows to hate farm visits, Mike is his father's son and tends to spray a gloss of sentimentality over them after he gets back from back-breaking labour and exposure to the hicks he couldn't wait to get away from when he was actually there.