Holiday dinner guest demands menu input

Q:

My wife and I are involved in a power struggle with my brother. Every Christmas we invite him and his family to our house for dinner. We spend a lot of time planning a menu which meets various dietary requirements.

Every year, a day before the event, my brother calls to offer his opinion on what should be on the menu.

One year he told me he wasn’t able to enjoy the meal because we weren’t serving one of the items he requested. In previous years, when I am unwilling to accommodate his “simple” requests he gets upset. Can I not invite his family in the future?

 

A:

Yes you should probably keep inviting your brother.  There is always the one family member you don’t want to invite, but you probably have to keep inviting them because they are family.  In this case it’s your clueless brother.  On the scale of offensive behaviour from family members, poor manners, being demanding and a lack of gratitude are relatively benign. 

For these family members, let whatever they say go in through one ear and out the other.  Nod and smile.  Should you care or feel offended by his comments, opinions, tantrums for not getting his way etc.?  Should you go out of your way to accommodate? No.  Just ignore.  Don’t take any action.  When he makes a menu request – just listen.  Then do nothing about it.

The host gets to choose the menu.  Pass this message along.  If there are dishes that are important to your brother, he should bring them to the meal as a guest.  Let him know he is welcome to host, and should he decide to do so, he would be welcome of creating any menu he desires.