Picking out a real Christmas tree is a fun activity for you and your family. The smell of pine and spruce is in the winter air, and so is the excitement you feel when hunting for the perfect tree. But once you find it, then you need to figure out how to get it home. Just like your gift list, you’ll need to plan ahead for a safe drive back. Keep these pointers in mind before you go to get your tree so you can say “O Christmas Tree” and not “Oh, dear!”

Measure Up Before You Go

Know what size your tree needs to be to for you to safely carry it and bring it inside your home. After you know where you want to set up the tree inside, measure the height and width of the space. Also be sure to measure the width of any doors you will need to carry the tree through. If you have 9’ ceilings, don’t choose a 9’ tree. You’ll need at least 6 inches of space between the top of the tree to your ceiling, but give yourself plenty of room and take into account the tree stand and your tree topper. If you want that sparkly star on top, you may want to consider giving yourself a full foot between the ceiling and the top of your tree.


Next, you’ll need to take your vehicle into account. If you are selecting a smaller tree, you may be able to carry it inside your car. To be sure it will fit, put the seats down if needed and measure the interior. For a larger tree that will be riding on top of your car, know the maximum limits for your roof rack beforehand. If the tree is riding in your truck bed, be aware of the length. You do not want a tree so tall that it drags behind you as you drive. If the tree sticks out of the bed, you may need to add a flag to the treetop for other drivers’ safety. Check your state’s department of transportation’s website for any regulations on when a flag is required.

Protect Your Sleigh

Avoid tying the tree directly on your roof. A roof rack is not only a more secure option, but it will also help protect your vehicle. You don’t want scratches, dents and stress added to your vehicle from the tree’s needles, branches and weight. Also, whether you’re placing the tree inside or outside of your vehicle, wrapping the tree in a tarp or blanket will further protect the paint and details. You’ll have less mess in your car and a better chance of making it home scratch free.

Get It Gift Wrapped

Many tree farms and lots wrap their trees in netting, or you can request a net. In addition to wrapping your tree in a tarp or blanket, keep the netting or ask for it. This keeps the branches confined and more able to withstand travel.

Secure Your Tree

Just like transporting furniture, a tree needs to be fixed and steady before moving your vehicle. Bring your own strong tie downs; ratchet straps are highly recommended. A pro tip is to mount or lay your tree with the trunk facing the front of your vehicle to prevent wind damage to the branches.

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Take a page out of Santa’s book; check twice to make sure the tree is safely and firmly fastened on your roof rack or in the back of your truck. If the tree slides or moves, it could obstruct your back view while driving. If it becomes completely loose and falls off your vehicle, it could cause you or another driver to wreck. Reduce the risks to your automobile, yourself and others. Even inside, straps can keep the tree from moving around, protecting the quality and fullness of your chosen tree and your passengers.

Take It Slow

Drive with care while hauling your Christmas tree. Afterall, you are carrying a heavy tree! Choose routes where you can drive slowly. An easier pace may better protect your tree from high winds and lessens the danger of the tree not making it all the way home. This would be a great time to drive through scenic neighborhoods and enjoy the Christmas lights.

Now you can transport your Christmas tree merry and bright! No matter if you pick a small tree or the biggest one in the lot, we hope you enjoy decorating it with your family. Happy holidays!

Make Safety Part of Your Traditions with These Tips for Real Christmas Trees