On the road with elves and homemade banana bread

Sam Tench / Photo blogs / / 2 Comments

This year has been characterized by extremes of feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed. I admit I feel challenged, coming to grips with the notion that my children (who have spent most of the year at home) are about to finish school for the year. They attend a private school, so the end of their school year is significantly earlier than other schools (don’t get me started, it makes no sense).  Looking back to when I was a kid, the thought of finishing school in early December would have been bliss to every part of my being.  Bring it on, would have been my attitude! My children, on the other hand, are not so keen. They’ve already been at home for most of this year, so the excitement of the upcoming holidays is not as evident as usual.  From the perspective of a parent, I appreciate how untimely this early finish can be. Particularly considering some parents work full-time, others part-time, and then there are Christmas preparations to consider!

The thought of the children being at home all day for more than two weeks before December 25 is rather scary because my job as Chief Elf will become more challenging. The days of having small fragments of time to make last-minute ‘elf’ touches will disappear, vanish! You might be thinking, “There are bigger things to worry about than elfing around.”  Well, this is a big deal!  With the kids lurking around, there’s no place for complacency. Everything suddenly feels like a swirling hurricane inside my mind, swirling at a rapid pace.  For the next two weeks, adults in my home must act with heightened vigilance. Hopefully, we can all work together to ensure my little cherubs (😉) don’t stumble across the substantial stash of elf accessories on the floor of my upstairs wardrobe (it’s a vast wardrobe). The wardrobe door has no lock! Therefore, obstacles such as wedges of wood under the sliding door, or objects stacked against doors, will be essential precautions.

Like many people, I find the lead up to Christmas a little overwhelming. Getting the shopping done, gift wrapping, organizing Christmas Day, and the mad rush to jam in last-minute appointments before many businesses close for the festive season. But especially this year we all have more reason to celebrate.

To add to my growing list of things to do and think about, we have planned a family trip to East Gippsland. Yes, we’re going slap-bang in the middle of the elf season!  Now, this is not something I’ve previously done.  Planning the elves’ carefully scripted lives around a family getaway, is making me think I’ve lost the plot. Besides packing for myself and two children, I need to factor in what to take for our extended family of naughty little elves. Extra luggage for anyone means less car space for everyone else! Our car is always packed the brim when we go anywhere; I tend to take everything, INCLUDING the kitchen sink, ‘just in case’ we need it. To be thinking about my many elf bits and pieces, therefore, will be mind-boggling. Or perhaps the elves will finally have the opportunity to do what they were initially intended to do. Sit on a shelf.

OH, I WISH! I’d love to leave the elves at home to fend for themselves on a shelf. To forget about their little cheeky smiling faces for a few days would be bliss! Unfortunately, this is not an option, not as far as my kids are concerned. They’ve already asked what will happen to the elves when we go away (in a concerted manner!). I don’t like to disappoint, and I don’t do things by halves! I’m a glutton for punishment, so I’m pretty confident the elves will tag along with a caravan and tent among and other vital accessories on our road trip.  Yup, they too get to enjoy time away.

I do dream of shoving those elves in the cupboard and temporarily forgetting they existed. I could do this, but we are all aware that this year has been an experience we’d never want to be subjected to again.  From a child’s perspective, one can only imagine the thoughts and images that they have experienced.  The world must have looked like one scary place for months (it did for me). And whilst my two girls have been troopers, taken the knocks as they’ve come, the cracks are evident. Like anyone of us, their mental health needs some TLC, time to recuperate.  An opportunity to leave behind the junk of 2020. So, we are having a change of scenery, an escape from everyday life, an experience that is different and doesn’t require us to get on a plane!  Therefore, we will embark on our road trip with two elves, two pets, one baby elf and the smallest elf in the world, in tow.

My Action Plan

When compiling my list of antics for the month, I was aware this trip away would require extra thought. I needed to plan smart and leave the big and messy stuff for home (e.g., the ginormous poo).  In my elf world this translates to simple stuff, nothing that requires much time or props. Warning, when previously saying this about some of the scenes I’ve pulled off at home, I didn’t get to bed until midnight.

Plan 1 – Road trip.  The elves and pets will have suitcases packed with snacks and will sit in a little custom-built car seat (who am I kidding, it’s a painted box).  They will be ready, waiting in the car, when the girls wake on the morning that we start our road trip.  Behind the scenes, I’ll pack their caravan, tent, food, change of clothes and other little additions needed to keep them going throughout our trip.  When we arrive at our destination, distraction will be required for the girls (someone else can come up with that!), to allow me to set up the elf campsite as quickly as I can.

Plan 2 – Homemade banana bread! That’s right. The elves will make banana bread for a yummy breakfast. No baking required, not even a slice of banana bread will be in the house. You have to wait for the intricate details of this one!

Plan 3 – Inflatable slide (elf size). The elves will be sliding into the snow, that’s all I can reveal.

Plan 4 – Painting finger and toenails!  Not sure whose nails, though!

Plan 5 – A cleanup. The elves will do their best to help when It comes to cleaning up and going home.

I’m exhausted thinking about it!  But there you have it, a sneak peek into a road trip with a bunch of mischievous elves. Hopefully, the effort will be worth the happy faces on my girls when they get to travel in the car to a holiday destination with their tiny friends! From my perspective, I could do with a holiday without that bunch of elves…. But that’s a story for another time!


  1. Julie Johnson  —  16 December 2020 at 12:20 am

    Another well written piece of work Sam. Just because I think you are taking too much on board ie two elves does not mean you can’t cope or do not have a good plan set up for the execution of the activities. I very much hope that you all enjoy the break and realise that you are trying to do a great experience for Hannah and Georgie who have had a difficult year like all my grandchildren as well. Try to take some time for yourself and treat yourself to a really fantastic photographic and family experience. Am looking forward to viewing what you produce and have a lovely holiday xxx Julie

    • Sam Tench  —  22 December 2020 at 10:41 pm

      As soon as Christmas day hits, the elves head home with Santa to give ME a break!!!!


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