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  • AAA: How to Get Your Christmas Tree Home Safely

    AAA: How to Get Your Christmas Tree Home Safely

    We're just weeks away from Christmas and that means you may be out looking for your tree, if you haven't picked one out already. According to a new study from the Christmas Tree Promotion Board (CTPB), post-Thanksgiving weekend (30%) and the first week of December (32%) are when most people buy their real trees.  The CTPB, a national research and promotion program that promotes the benefits of real Christmas trees, says its study also found that people are more eager to celebrate this year and reports that 89% of people who previously bought artificial Christmas trees and switched to a real Christmas tree last year wish they had made the change sooner.

    Here are some other study stats:

    • 58% of respondents feel more optimistic about properly celebrating Christmas this year.
    • More than half (54%) of Americans planning to buy a real Christmas tree this year point to its natural scent and the experience of decorating it as their favorite aspects of having a real Christmas tree.
    • 41% of real tree buyers are concerned about being able to get the tree they want this year, which may prompt earlier-than-normal purchases.  

    Getting Your Tree Home Safely

    This brings us to getting your Christmas tree home safely, without any dangerous mishaps. They happen more than you might think. AAA Texas reports that a survey by AAA of drivers who’ve transported live trees revealed that 60% of respondents said that they have previously had a Christmas tree fall off or out of their vehicle when transporting it home.

    “Improperly secured Christmas trees are a danger to everyone on the road and cause significant damage to a vehicle,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “While most commercial tree lots will have employees to assist you with safely securing your tree before you bring it home, as the vehicle owner you are responsible if the tree causes damage, so you should be familiar with the proper way to secure it.”

    AAA says if a tree is improperly secured to a car, it can cost drivers as much as $1,500 in repairs. Twine, ropes or straps can wear away paint and tear rubber seals when routed through door or window openings. Closing a door over tree tie-downs may also permanently distort the window frame and tree branches can cause scratches to the paint.

    With all this in mind, AAA offers these the tips to help get your tree home safely.

    1. Use the right vehicle

    • AAA says it’s best to transport a Christmas tree on top of a vehicle equipped with a roof rack. If you use the bed of a pickup truck, make sure you don’t just toss it in the back, but also secure it properly in the truck bed. You can also use a larger vehicle like an SUV, van or minivan that can fit the tree inside with all doors closed. (Make sure you take measurements of your cargo space before picking out your tree to ensure it will fit.)

    2. Bring the right tie downs.

    • Bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps to secure the tree to your vehicle’s roof rack. Avoid the lightweight twine offered by many tree lots.

    3. Protect the tree.

    • Have the lot wrap the tree in netting before loading it. If netting is unavailable, secure loose branches with rope or twine.

    4. Protect your vehicle.

    • Cover your roof it with an old blanket to prevent paint scratches and protect the vehicle finish.  

    5. 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 large enough, place the tree inside instead.

    6. Tie it down securely.

    • Secure the tree at its bottom, center and top. At the bottom, use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop around the trunk above a lower branch, to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement. The center and top tie downs should be installed in a similar manner.

    7. Give it the tug test.

    • Before you leave the lot, give the tree several strong tugs from various directions to make sure it is secured in place and will not come loose.

    8. Drive home slowly and carefully.

    • Take the back roads, if possible. Higher speeds create significant airflow that can damage your Christmas tree and challenge even the best tie-down methods.

    Volkswagen Tip: Spot-check and clean the vehicle.

    Check for tree sap and residue in and outside the car, and, if found, clean any sap or tree residue off your car immediately with a bug and tar remover using a clean cloth.  Volkswagen offers even more tips along with a video showing you how to secure a tree to an Atlas with a roof rack.



    Photo Credit:  AAA