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Family gatherings amidst the holiday plans gets more challenging. As the family expands through marriages and offspring, the decisions on date, time, place and menu come into play.

This year I decided to make it easy. We are meeting at mom’s new residence, Stillwater Senior Living. We’ll use the Activity Room, leaving the dining room and Fireside Lounge for those residents who are staying around – not headed to a relative’s home. With Chef Bret and his kitchen crew preparing our meal, my sisters and I will have more time to visit, play cards, learn a new game and reminisce with Mom instead of busily attending to those details. But since no family get-together is compete without the sharing of food, we’ll share our respective overabundance of sweets that always surface in our homes this time of year. Don’t forget the camera…we’ve got to record the gathering.

What makes Stillwater a great option for us this year is that it is mom’s home with the services of assisted living. So if she gets tired or needs something from her apartment, we’re right there. It’s accessible, familiar, and free for family use . The community prides itself on having several inviting spots to gather families. It even has a toy area, uniquely Stillwater. Though our youngest family members will not join us this year due to cross-country move. Other grandchildren have schedule conflicts with spousal family events. Still, for the 18 who can be together, it will be wonderful! The community-wide Wi-Fi will make it easy to skype or video-chat with those who are absent.

We continue my mom’s family tradition of gathering on Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Though gratefully we won’t require renting a hall for 70+ relatives. Just the memory of it makes me smile. Oh the secrets and new toys we shared among our cousins of the same age. Then there was a group of uncles who played poker back in the corner. Invariably, we joined in a few rounds of Christmas carols and holiday hymns.

Gotta run…Cookies don’t bake themselves.

May your holidays be filled with family and fun!