Snag & Bag Family Drama with Sanity-Saving how-to Holiday Tips from Tough Love Coach

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Heading home for the holidays may have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, but the reality of the experience may leave you wondering why you bothered. Tough Love Coach Paula Renaye shares sanity-saving how-to holiday tips to defuse holiday drama.

Tough Love Coach Paula Renaye and Health and Wellness Expert Dr. Kendra Pomeroy to hold workshop in Destin, Florida

Snag & Bag Holiday Drama

Figure out what makes a happy holiday for you and do it on purpose!

If you’ve ever dreaded going home for the holidays, you aren’t alone. The blissful family images portrayed in the media aren’t the reality for many, but Tough Love Coach Paula Renaye says it doesn’t have to be an annual family feud rerun either.

“We all know the definition of insanity,” Renaye says, “but still, we go home, do the same things with the same people and somehow think the same old dramas won’t play out—of course they always do.”

Renaye offers some simple no-nonsense holiday tips adapted from her acclaimed self-help book, Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation, to nip drama in the bud, and she says it’s best to start before you arrive. Renaye says:

1. "Get clear on why you’re going in the first place. Obligation, guilt or “if only” wishes of finally getting that pat on the back you’ve always wanted aren’t good setups for happy times. Make peace with the past and stop looking to others to make you feel good about yourself. Then, you can choose to go—or not—for the right reasons.

2. Take a pre-trip negativity inventory. You may realize your relatives are card-carrying members of The Gray Cloud Crowd, but are you certain you’re totally out of the swamp? Start paying attention to your thoughts and words; listen to your complaints, criticisms and judgments. Cleaning up your own habits now will help you stay rooted on the positive side when you’re in the thick of things with Negative Nells.

3. Replay old family dramas before you go. You know what people and situations put your tail in a twist, so think about it ahead of time and figure out new ways of dealing with it. If you don’t do what you’ve always done, the same old things can’t happen—and you can keep smiling instead of being caught up in the old junk.

4. Do not share your woes. When you’re in a tough place, it’s tempting to find a shoulder to cry on—any shoulder—don’t do it. Talking about your troubles in a group setting is a bad idea. Telling negative people what’s wrong in your life is a horrible one. You might get a microsecond of sympathy, but that’s only so they can launch into telling you how much worse they have it. Or, they’ll repeat your sad tale to everyone they know so they can feel better about themselves. So, regardless of what is going on in your life, your answer to the “how are you” question is, “Great!”

5. Use the 3-Ds—Dodge, Distract and Detour. Just because someone asks you a question doesn't mean you have to answer it. Questions such as, “Tell me, dear, is your husband still with that little tramp he left you for?” do not deserve answers. Yes, you could fire off a snappy comeback, but another option is to use the 3-Ds instead. “Oh, you’re always thinking of others. I remember when I was kid, you always had brownies for me when I came over to your house. I loved those brownies! What did you put in those that made them so good?” You dodged the question, distracted with something else and detoured the conversation to a positive topic.

6. Make a Happy List. Since you may not always have a brownie memory handy, make a list of the people you expect to see and write out their interests and things you can talk about in case you get cornered. Have some general topics as well to keep the conversation moving in a positive direction. Make the list—you'll be glad you did!"

Renaye adds that "Once you make peace with the past, and yourself, the rest is easy." She says people can relieve a great deal of stress simply by being clear on what they want to do—and why—and making conscious choices accordingly. "Figure out what makes a happy holiday for you," she says, "and do it on purpose!”


Paula Renaye is a tough love coach, empowerment speaker and five-time award-winning author of Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation.

Renaye will be presenting two Personal Transformation Workshop Retreats for Women in Destin, Florida, December 14-16 and December 21-13. Renaye and Dr. Kendra Pomeroy will provide an exclusive opportunity for five women to have personalized coaching in a private setting to work with individual situations. For details, visit

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