Getting That Tree Home

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's a miracle of Christmas that more freshly bought trees don't end up scattered along roads and highways, the result of bad tie jobs. To keep your tree -- and other drivers -- safe on the ride home, we asked the National Christmas Tree Association near St. Louis for transporting tips.

• If the tree comes wrapped in netting, keep it that way. The outer coat protects the tree and your car's paint job. If netting is not provided, bring a tarp or blanket and roll it yourself.

¿ If you have a pickup truck, simply toss the tree in the back. No need to tie it up; the tree's weight will keep it from flying out.

¿ If you are tying the tree to your car roof, place the stump end toward the front. Likewise for inside storage: The bottom should face the windshield. Stored the other way, you risk damaging the tree.

¿ If you have a rooftop luggage rack, secure the tree with bungee cords or ropes looped around the tree and rack base. To attach the tree directly to the roof, thread a rope or twine through the car, over the tree and knot. (If you have any concerns, ask a store employee for help; they've done it a million times.)

¿ For super-long trees, tie a red hankie, flag or bow to its end to warn drivers of your extra load.

¿ When handling your tree, be careful with the tip, the most fragile part. If it is bitterly cold outside, the top can turn brittle and snap off, leaving your star with no place to shine.

-- Andrea Sachs

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