Tips For

Getting Your Christmas

Tree Home Safely

by Bill Flitter

Dad, Coffee Lover, Coach, First Car: '79 Camaro

How To Safely Secure A Christmas Tree On Your Car

It’s tradition, at least at my house, to pick up a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. This year we were delayed and didn’t get to the local lot until Sunday. We had to pick from the leftovers. As a result, we now have a leaning tree full of empty patches. We did our best to fill it in with ornaments. The hardest part is getting the Christmas tree on your car.

Every year we go through the same routine: I find an old blanket that will fit over the roof of the car and I make sure to have a sharp knife and plenty of twine. Then we head down the highway to the local Home Depot (best prices, best selection). After we pick out a tree and the friendly staff cuts off the trunk and trims the bottom branches, they run it through a contraption that wraps the whole tree in plastic netting. All that’s left is to tie it to the roof of the car.

Handy Tips For Securing A Christmas Tree On Your Car

From personal experience, tying a christmas tree to your car can be a daunting experience. No one wants to be that guy cruising down the highway only to look in the rearview mirror to see their freshly bought tree rolling down the asphalt. I’ve had nightmares of having to pull to the side, dodge traffic, and haul the tree back to safety.

My wife has even made jokes, “If that tree falls off the roof, just keep going, we’ll get another one.” That, of course, never fills me with confidence. So, I wrap that tree several times over with twine going over, under, and through the tree and making sure to loop it through the open doors and tying it off inside the car. The usual result, no matter how tight I get it at first, the twine always seems to drag once I’m done.

So, I instruct the kids: reach up and grab the twine and pull it down tight. They take their job seriously and pull that twine tight to keep the tree on the roof of the car even at 65 mph. Luckily, we’ve never had a tree fall off the roof. However, we’ve felt it and heard it slide around up there… If my super helpful advice (tie it tight with plenty of twine) doesn’t make you comfortable, here’s some more practical advice to secure a Christmas tree on your car from Jalopnik:

How to Safely secure a Christmas Tree on your car

Use the right vehicle

Use the right vehicle. It’s best to transport a Christmas tree on top of a vehicle equipped with a roof rack. However, if you do not have a roof rack, use the bed of a pickup truck, or an SUV, van or minivan that can fit the tree inside with all doors closed.

Use the right vehicle.

Use quality tie downs

Use quality 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.

Protect your vehicle

Protect your vehicle. Use an old blanket to prevent paint scratches and protect the vehicle finish.

Point the trunk towards the front

Point the trunk towards the front. Always place the tree on a roof rack or in a pickup bed. Face the bottom of the trunk to the front of the vehicle.

Tie it down

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

Give it a tug

Give it the tug test. Before you leave the lot, give the tree several strong tugs.

Drive slowly

Drive slowly and easily. Take the back roads, if possible.


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Over to You

In the event that you are not good at securing the Christmas tree on your car you could always buy a brand new Honda Pilot, fold the back rows down, cover the cargo area with an old blanket or sheet, and load the tree inside the vehicle. 🙂 The only fuss will be picking up the tree needles, but your SUV will smell like Christmas!