'Tis the season to buy a Christmas tree. According to a new 2023 study from the Real Christmas Tree Board (RCTB), most people surveyed typically buy a real tree right after Thanksgiving (33%) or the first week in December (33%).
If you’re planning to buy a live tree this year and transport it on the top of your vehicle, make sure you have the tools to get it home safely. (Another option is to have it delivered.) Unsafe transport methods, like putting it unsecured in the trunk or improperly tied down to the roof of the car, can be a recipe for disaster. If it falls out, it becomes hazardous road debris.
Tips To Get Your Christmas Tree Home Safely
The American Automobile Association provides these safety tips when it comes to getting your tree home safely.
1. Plan Ahead
- Before heading out to buy a real Christmas tree, make sure to bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket, gloves and of course – the right vehicle. One with a roof rack is ideal but a pickup truck, SUV, van or minivan can work just as well.
2. Wrap and Cover It
- Once you’ve found the perfect tree, have the lot wrap it in netting before loading it. Loose branches can also be secured with rope or twine to help protect the tree from damage.
3. Protect Your Vehicle Roof
- Prior to loading the tree, cover the roof with an old blanket to prevent scratches to the paint and protect the car from any damage.
4. Trunk First
- Place the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is a SUV, CUV, van or minivan – place the tree inside. If not, rent or borrow a pickup truck, a vehicle with a roof rack or one that is large enough to accommodate the tree inside.
5. Make Sure It's Secure
- Secure the tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the twine offered by many tree lots. Use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop the rope or strap around the tree trunk above a branch to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement.
6. Give It The Tug Test
- Once tied down, give the tree several strong tugs from various angles to make sure it is secured in place and will not come loose.
7. Drive Slowly
- Drive slowly, taking the back roads if you can. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your tree or challenge even the best tie-down methods.
Photo Credit: AAA.