Q. - Dear Brother, Excessive spending and overindulging on calorie-rich food is what my family seems to live for during the holidays. I want change it completely and establish new traditions that have nothing to do with going into debt and gaining 10 pounds. How do I get my relatives to go along?

You know how we do. Too much food and too much spending. There’s an easy way out…well easy for them, but not for you. Hold them hostage by hosting Christmas at your house. You set the menu and take care of the cooking. Make some stipulations about presents such as no gifts can be purchased for more than whatever dollar figure seems reasonable to you. Now be warned. You know how we like to eat. The food can be healthy, but it’s got to be very tasty or you may find yourself celebrating next holiday season alone. Here’s a tip: Feed them all day, but feed them small portions and when dinner rolls around, they’ll wonder why they can’t eat that trough of mac-n-cheese. Deck the halls–avoid the malls.

Q. - Dear Brother, I’ve been dating two great guys for less than three months and both have been dropping hints about us spending the holidays at my home with my parents, siblings and cousins. How do I avoid hurting anyone’s feelings?

Do these two great guys know that the relationships are not exclusive? Three months is not a long time in terms of dating, but before you think about taking one home, you might want to think about leaving one alone. We get blissfully blinded by the holidays thinking of sipping hot chocolate with someone by the fireplace, thinking it could last forever. We give more of ourselves than we would at other times of the year. What will you do when you’re hanging out with one brother at your parents when the other calls to wish you good tidings? It’s time to give the gift of honesty. Be honest with yourself in knowing that dating two men at once is unhealthy for all involved. And be honest with each of the guys and tell them, they’re not the only one you’re involved with. You may learn that they, too, have got some extra stockings to stuff.

If you questions for the Brother Next Door, send them to Dear Brother, c/o ACE III Communication, P.O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347 or e-mail your queries to gl4u@bellsouth.net with the subject notation “Question for Dear Brother.”