This Saturday is officially, according to Dobbies Garden Centres, national ‘Bring Your Christmas Tree Home Day’.
No, we didn’t realise this was a thing either, but it sounds more fun than Sunday’s International Anti-Corruption Day, that’s for sure.
The second Saturday in December accounts for almost 25 percent of all Christmas tree sales. It means there is a very real chance you’ll find yourself in a garden centre, wondering how best to transport a substantial piece of decorative foliage.
A large proportion of British drivers are willing to risk breaking the law to get their Tannenbaum home. Thankfully, Mini has some helpful advice on how to avoid pine needles and driving licence penalty points.
Get tooled up
Loading your car with ropes, blankets, and gloves might sound a little sinister, but they are the perfect items to help move a Christmas tree. Don’t forget a tape measure too, as it’s easy to get carried away when picking the perfect tree.
Ropes will allow you to tie the tree in place, whilst wrapping blankets around it will minimise the amount of pine needles strewn about your interior.
Giving the tree a good shake before putting it in the car will also help minimise any debris.
Although many sellers will wrap trees in protective netting, a decent pair of gloves will reduce the risk of injury from prickly branches and pine needles.
Pack it in, or on
With your dream tree picked and prepped, Mini advises planning how to physically fit it in, or on, your car. Size of car is apparently no barrier, with even a drop-top Convertible able to carry a tree.
Life is substantially easier if you can fit the tree inside your car, folding seats flat to create a designated zone to pack your spruce into. Branches and trunks should not be left poking out of windows, creating a danger to pedestrians and other road users.
If there is no chance of the tree fitting inside, the roof may be the only option. A roof rack is much preferable, giving a solid base to tie the tree to whilst also protecting the roof itself from damage.
The trunk of the tree should be placed facing the front of the car, before being tied down securely with ropes.
Respect the law
Christmas can be expensive at the best of times, and a fixed penalty notice from the local constabulary isn’t going to help. Rule 98 of the Highway Code covers the specifics of transporting loads in accordance with the law.
If you decide to transport the tree inside your car, ensure that it does not block your vision or prevent your sight of your mirrors.
For those opting to use a roof rack, be aware of any part of the tree overhanging the rear of the car. Use a red flag to mark the end of the protruding tree, and don’t forget about the extra height the tree will add.
Once home, you can bask in the smug glow of having a real Christmas tree. Once you’ve vacuumed up all the pine needles from the car, of course.