What I've been hearing from my anonymous, yet ever-present Grandma readership: They'd a like a day away. They aren't asking for vacations in the Caribbean, weekends in Vail, or even tickets on a cruise ship. They would like to go to church with their families, and then take most of the afternoon and early evening to just be alone. ALONE. Hear that? ALONE.
If you're a grandfather raising grandchildren with the love of your life, it's time to get organized. Ditto, adult children watching Mom take the helm on your siblings' kids. Let her skip the crowded brunch, even if it is your tradition. Do not force her into a party at her house, for which she will be responsible for the clean-up. The grandchildren can all give their gifts before or immediately after church.
The smartest move, to my mind, is to give her a spa day, if you can at all afford it. They will feed Mom, pamper her, massage her, give her beauty treatments. This is a good move, if the grandkids and the Mister have to go back to the house for the day. It's also the most expensive proposition.
If you have no fear that the adult child/ sibling who is the cause of your collective situation will be on Grandma's front doorstep, let Grandma go home alone, while Grandpa and/ or the aunties and uncles spend the day with the kids. Make sure she doesn't have to cook for herself, by sliding a special meal or two into the fridge. Does she like to read? Give her a couple of good books, and not self-help ones, either. Does she like movies? A DVD or two, and some munchies will be welcome. You can always have a supply of home spa supplies ready for her use.
Take the grandkids on a picnic. Bring along sports equipment. Have an extended family Frisbee, softball or baseball game. Swing on the swings. Go down the slide. If you can afford it, take them to an amusement park, a theme park, or even just the arcade. Suffer the little children unto brunch. Just don't bring them back at least until the sun starts to set over the yardarm.