How to Tie a Christmas Tree to Your Car Without Ruining it
Getting a real Christmas tree is an exciting way to kick-off the holiday season. You get to spend a fun-filled family afternoon picking out the perfect tree, and then can warm up together while you decorate it. But there’s a middle part in there that’s a lot less fun: transporting a Christmas tree to your home. Here’s how to tie a Christmas tree to your car and get it home without damaging anything.
Before you go, pack a bag with the essentials: rope (or do one better and get ratchet straps), gloves, a flag and either a tarp or blanket. Also, dress yourself for the occasion: wear clothes that you don’t mind getting a little sappy (and dirty, if you’re chopping down the tree yourself).
At the lot: Prepare your Christmas tree for travel
- Get a tree that fits: You’ll have a ton of tree options once you get to the lot. While your eye might be drawn to the largest, fullest tree there, remember that you’re going to have to transport it. Get a real Christmas tree that will either fit in your trunk or on top of your car.
- Get it wrapped: Most places will wrap the tree for you in netting, which helps with keeping it secure and preventing the needles from falling off during the ride.
- Flag the end: If your tree is longer than your car, put a flag on the end of it so people will see it. If it’s night time, aim for something reflective.
How to tie a Christmas Tree to Your Car
- Wear gloves: While not needed, gloves will make this process a lot less painful.
- Put the tarp or blanket on top of your car: The blanket/tarp will protect your car from lots of tiny scratches. If you’re putting the tree in the trunk of your car, the tarp will also make cleaning easier.
- Face the trunk front: When the base of the tree is facing forward, it stays in place better, even when you’re braking. Plus, it prevents the tree’s limbs from getting ripped apart by winds as you drive.
- Tightly secure the tree: If you have a roof rack, once you put the tree on top of the car, lace the rope several times over the tree and through the roof rack. If you don’t have a roof rack, roll down the windows of the car and run the ropes through the car several times. Wiggle the tree, and if it moves, it’s not on tight enough. AAA Foundation estimates that 25,000 crashes a year are caused by vehicle-related road debris, many of which can be prevented if loads were secured tighter. You don’t want to be this statistic. Make sure the tree is really tied to the roof of your car before driving.
Drive like you have a tree on your car
- Your center of gravity is off: Your weight distribution is very different than normal. Expect your car to feel a bit weird when you’re driving, so stay alert.
- Avoid potholes: It’s best to avoid potholes any time it’s possible, but it’s especially important with a tree on your car. If you fly through a pothole with a tree on top of your car, you run the risk of it falling off. Plus, the added weight is taking a toll on the shocks as it’s jolting through the pothole, which puts your car at risk of long-term damages.
- Go slow: Again, your center of gravity is off. There’s a massive tree on your car. Take your time. Ease into stops. Use your turn signals. Drive carefully. Remember the tree is up there and be safe.
Once You’ve gotten the tree home
- Remove sap quickly: There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to how long is too long before pine tree sap stains, but it’s best to get it off as quickly as possible. Cars.com suggests using bug and tar remover or rubbing alcohol.
- Clean your car: If your tree was inside your car, you’ll want to vacuum to get rid of all the needles. While you’re at it, use this milestone as a reminder to winterize your car.
Now all that’s left to do is put on some of your favorite Christmas carols and decorate!