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I created the problem.

I'd told my dear old friend Alice that I'd provide dinner on Christmas evening for Alice and her four daughters and two of the daughters' husbands. At the nursing home, since Alice cannot leave. Alice's daughters all came from far away and were camping out at a motel and spending long hours at the nursing home. And, of course, there's no place to go out to eat on Christmas Day.

But, I forgot to call the nursing home and line up a room. Last year, we had a room. I took a pasta dish, fruit, garlic bread and a cake along with several bottles of wine, and it worked out just fine. This year, there was no room for us at the inn. The place was booked. All the rooms and spaces where a table could be set and dinner served were taken.

What to do. I pondered and worried and stressed. Then, it came to me. We'd have a picnic. Somewhere at the nursing home. I bought festive Christmas bags at the dollar store. I trucked home lots of groceries and made up 12 sack dinners. I made nice sandwiches filled with smoked turkey, ham, hard salami, provolone and sharp cheddar. I bought some individual bags of veggie chips. Little party bags of baby carrots. Honeycrisp apples. And I made a killer batch of scotcheroo bars and wrapped them individually. I had party napkins and candy canes.

At 5 p.m. on Christmas, DH and I loaded up the van and the kids and headed for the nursing home. We found a little lounge area which was not being used and gathered everyone. We bought several bottles of wine and lots of bottles of water. Handed out the picnic dinner -- and it worked. They really seemed to enjoy the food.

Ms. 11-years-old-almost-12 had received the game "Apples to Apples" and we brought that along. We got everyone to play, and there was lots of laughter. People scavaged for the extra sandwiches and scotcheroos I'd brought. Uneaten apples were saved for flights home.

Plan B worked out just fine! (But next year, I'll call the day after Thanksgiving.)

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