Since German settlers introduced the Christmas tree (or yule log, holiday bush, whatever you want to call it) to the U.S. in the early 1800s, the evergreen has come to symbolize the spirit of the season. For many of us, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without a Scotch pine or Douglas fir (2 of the most popular tree types) adorning our living rooms.
But before you crack the eggnog, crank up the holiday tunes, and begin the tree-trimming party, you need to get said tree home. And that can be challenging, especially if you plan on strapping it to the roof of your car. Here are a few tips for getting your tree (and all its lovely branches) home in one piece.
Before you go
Before you head out the door, have the following:
- Bungee cord, rope, or ratchet straps. No matter how strong you think you are, you can’t hold onto your tree and drive home at the same time. (We’ve seen it attempted.) And even if you’re not going far, it’s a good idea to strap it down for safety.
- A tarp or old blanket. Your car does a lot for you. Spare it the indignity of being scratched up and sapped by a pretty little tree.
- Gloves. They’re called needles for a reason.
At the lot
Once you’ve found the perfect tree, the trick will be to load it onto your vehicle and secure it. If your tree seller offers to do this for you, great! If you have to go it alone, these tips can help:
- Lay down a tarp or blanket. Fresh trees tend to be damp and sappy so a blanket or tarp will help protect your roof. You can also wrap the tree in the tarp or blanket, which will make it easier to carry into your home (and spare you the trail of pine needles up the stairs and across the kitchen).
- Center the tree and aim the trunk end forward. This will help keep your tree stable and protect the limbs from wind damage.
- Secure your tree. Start by wrapping the rope or bungee cord around the tree. Then loop it through either your roof racks (if you have them) or the interior of your car. Repeat as necessary. Once you’ve secured the tree, give it a good tug. If it budges, you probably need to pull the ropes tighter.
And of course, remember to drive slow if you can, since high speed, wind resistance, and having a tree tied to your car can be a dangerous combination. But above all, have a safe and happy holiday season (or yulemas).