Christmas Tree Transportation: How to Do it Safely

Christmas, it’s a time for cheer, joy, and giving. One of the staples of Christmas is decorating the tree with favorite ornaments and knick-knacks. But before you put any decorations or lights on the tree, you’ll first need to go out and get a tree. Many people have opted out of getting real trees for Christmas, but there are still people who love the sight of a real one. If you plan on buying a real tree this year, there are a few things you should know. Some hazards involved with transporting the Christmas tree include damaging your car or others. Follow this guide on transporting Christmas trees safely this holiday season.


According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 82% of the 95 million trees displayed last year were fake, meaning 17.9% of ones displayed were real. This may be surprising to some, but the fact of the matter is fake trees are reusable making it nearly hassle-free. Meanwhile, 17.9% of Americans using real trees go out of their way to strap a tree to the roof and drive away. And therein lies the problem, most of the trees being transported are done so unsafely. According to AAA, 44% of those who stated they will transport a tree will be using unsafe practices, with 16% saying they’ve had a tree fall during transit in the past. So, it’s clear that people are unaware or do not put enough thought into how they will get their tree to their home. 

Right Tools For The Job

Before driving to the tree lot and strapping a six-footer to your car, consider what you are driving. If you drive a sedan or something with a short roof, do not attempt to transport your tree. A typical Christmas tree is longer than a sedan roof, meaning you will have an excess tree hanging in the front and back. This obscures your vision overhead, possibly preventing you from seeing things like street lights and signs. Additionally, a typical sedan does not have a roof rack, so the tree would most definitely leave paint damage and scratches behind. It’s no secret that scratches and paint damage lower your car’s value and can be expensive to fix. 

For those who have pick-up trucks, you are not so much better off. In fact, the AAA survey referenced earlier states that 24% of respondents who plan to use a pickup truck will not secure it past throwing it in the bed. Considering that the typical truck bed may not be long enough to contain the tree entirely, you will have some overhang. Depending on state and local laws, transporting a Christmas tree this way may be illegal or require signifiers, such as a flag attachment to alert other drivers. None of this matters, however, if you do not strap down the tree properly. 

Check, And Then Check Again

Hopefully, you are using a roof rack, and a vehicle capable of carrying a Christmas tree on its roof. In order to safely transport anything on your roof, you’ll need to make sure it’s tied down tight. For a tree, make sure the trunk is facing the front of the vehicle for aerodynamic purposes as well as the sturdy base it provides. Experts recommend people place a strap just above the bottom branches to ensure the tree does not fly off from the wind, then place other straps along the tree accordingly. Once you’ve finished strapping the tree down, give each strap a tug to ensure it’s secure. Every state has laws regarding items falling off or from a vehicle, some up to $5,000, so it helps to stop every so often to make sure your cargo is safe and secure.