Robin McGraw's Christmas Tips

Robin McGraw invites you to share in the magic of the holiday season with her and her family in her latest book, Christmas in My Home and Heart. She extends a personal invitation to step inside the McGraw home to experience this special holiday with them. Robin shares the stories behind the traditions that she holds dear, family recipes, ideas to make decorating more fun, and offers practical advice on how to budget, organize and celebrate, while keeping stress to a minimum. "My favorite memories are the Christmases that I didn't go out and spend a lot of money," Robin says.


Here are Robin's tips for celebrating the holidays on a budget:

Homemade Ornaments
"I love homemade ornaments," she says. "My sister took a family photo of us when we were very young, decoupaged it on an ornament, and I love taking that out." Another sister of Robin's makes delicious cinnamon rolls and sends them to the family every year.

Draw Names for Gifts
Everyone will pick one person to buy a gift for, and that will be the only gift he or she has to buy. Select a price limit that everyone can agree on.

Gift Certificates for Chores
Give these to friends and family. "You can offer to drive one of your friend's carpools. That is a fantastic gift for a busy mother," Robin says. "You can trade out babysitting, you can trade out meals once a month, anything that is a true joy for another woman."

Stocking Stuffers
Play up stocking stuffers instead of gifts under the tree. "You can really fill the children's stockings with inexpensive gifts and make it a lot of fun," Robin says.

Pot Luck Luncheon
Robin suggests women get together, exchange an ornament and bring their favorite recipe. Another idea is to have all the food be chocolate and serve champagne. "You can have a lot of fun with your friends during the day. You don't have to spend a lot of money doing that," she says.

Dos and Don'ts of Christmas Letters
Dr. Phil received a letter from a viewer stating that her mother-in-law sends Christmas letters that detail her life and the lives of her children. She wants to know how to keep her business private without offending her husband's mother.


Robin offers dos and don'ts when writing update letters to your friends and family:

Do                                                                        Don't
Keep it short and simple                                  Write an extensive memoir 
Share the year's highlights                              Exaggerate or brag

and positive news   

Be honest                                                            Don't divulge private or 

                                                                              overly-detailed information

                                                                              about yourself or others 

Get your family's approval to include

them in the letter and allow them

to read and edit it before it goes

out to others