Getting a Christmas tree is one of the most exciting parts of Christmas. For children, it’s a chance to make memories. For parents, it’s an opportunity to share an experience with your kids that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. For those of us without kids, it’s just nice to have the smell of a fresh Christmas tree in the house during the holidays.
You’re ready to go out and get your tree, but you’re wondering how to get your Christmas tree home carefully. That’s why we put together this list of steps for getting your tree home safely.
Before you leave the house measure the room where the tree will “live” from floor to ceiling. You’ll want a tree that is at least one foot smaller than the total height of your room. Measure your car to make sure it can accommodate your tree. Decide whether it will go inside or outside of your vehicle. If it will go on the roof, you’ll want to make sure it’s not too much longer than your vehicle.
You’ll need to bring a pair of gloves to get your tree to avoid getting poked, a rope, or bungee cords to tie the tree to your car, and a tarp or a blanket. If you’re putting the tree in your truck bed, you’ll want to put a tarp or blanket in your truck bed to avoid scratching your bed and damaging your tree. If the tree is going inside your car, you’ll want to avoid getting the needles all over your car. If the tree is going on top of your car, you’ll want a blanket to keep your roof from getting scratched and your tree getting damaged.
When you get to the Christmas tree lot you’ll want to pick out either the scraggly little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, or the biggest one you can find. Just be sure you’ll be able to transport your tree home. Consider the space in your room and how much tree you really need for your space. Also consider your decorations. Do you like to do lots of lights and have heavy ornaments? You’ll want a tree with strong branches and lots of them, so you can get all of those lights on it. If you just want lights and not a lot of ornaments, or your ornaments are lightweight, you can definitely get away with that tiny Christmas tree.
After you check out, before you leave get the tree netted. The attendants are used to this, and they’ll likely ask if you prefer it. Some trees are sometimes sold this way, but fresh cut trees aren’t usually sold that way. If you don’t see a way to net the trees, ask anyway. They get this question all the time and will be happy to help you. Ask if there’s anyone to help you load up the tree. They’re pretty heavy, and even if you’re strong, it might be difficult to lift the tree, get it centered on your roof, and hold it while tying it down. This is especially challenging if you’ve got kids and your family waiting in the cold and ready to go home.
When you’re ready to load up the tree, put on your gloves, then lay down the tarp or blanket before laying down your tree. Have someone hold the tarp/blanket while you and the attendant settle the tree. Be sure to face the stump toward the front of the car. If you have roof racks, secure the tree with your rope or bungee cords through those. If you don’t have roof racks, you can use the rope or bungee cords to tie the tree to your roof. Roll down the windows, secure the tree through them entirely, then roll up the windows to help hold the rope tight. Some websites suggest doing the same thing with your car doors open, but it’s possible your doors won’t close if you try it this way. Ask the attendant if you’re not sure which is best, and they’ll give you an answer for your situation specifically. Be sure to give the tree a good tug before driving home.
When you drive home take your time and pay attention to what your tree is doing. If it shifts, looks like it’s going to fall, or is getting damaged, pull over and reassess.
When you bring it home, get it settled in your tree stand, fill the stand with water, and lay down your tree skirt or a sheet and cut the net from your tree. It’s easiest to do this top to bottom so you can keep close to the tree without getting stuck by the needles. You can clean up any loose needles at this time, and let it settle for a day or two before putting your decorations on, so the branches can settle back down. After that, enjoy your tree! Be sure to water it often!