Get your tree home safely

Believe it or not bringing home a real Christmas tree can come with its dangers. That's why the Ministry of Transportation BC has provided a step-by-step list of how to safely bring home your tree.

Step 1: Know your capacity

  • Picking the right tree will be much easier if you know your car’s interior storage or roof measurements.

(Bonus tip – calculate your ceiling clearance at home too)

Step 2: Make sure you can be seen

  • Before you leave home, check your turn signals and tail lights to make sure they are working.

Step 3: Start off with straps

  • Head to the Christmas tree lot or woods equipped with ratchet style tie-downs straps. If you plan on using your trunk to transport the tree, bring some rope to tie your trunk lid or rear door securely.

(Bonus tip – bring a tarp or old blanket to wrap the tree in)

Step 4: Shake, shake, shake!

  • Some tree lots sell trees wrapped in netting to secure the branches. If your tree is not wrapped, bang the trunk on the ground a few times to shake out debris, pick out any loose branches, then wrap it in the tarp or blanket.

Step 5: Heave ho!

  • Lift the tree on top of your vehicle with the base facing forward. Work the ratchet straps around the base, middle and tip of the tree, and fasten them snugly to the roof rack. If you are placing the tree directly onto the roof (no rack) then open all the doors to thread the straps through the vehicle, tighten the straps, and close the doors.


  • With the back seat down, brace the base of the tree against the back seat or backrest. Then, fasten the tree to your trunk floor using the ratchet straps. Tie down the rear door or trunk lid with rope or straps.

Step 6: Check for clear views

  • Ensure the tree doesn’t interfere with the driver’s view from the front seat, and that your tail lights can be seen.

Step 7: Check your tree’s tie-down

  • Check your straps several times before you drive away. You want the tree to stay put through wind, turns and sudden braking.

Step 8: Flag it or illuminate long load

  • If tree extends past rear bumper, tie flagging tape around the end. Trees that extend more than one metre beyond the front of the car or more than a half metre at the rear must have flagging attached during the day. At night, the tree must have lamps – just like your vehicle — white in the front, red at the rear.

Step 9: Drive with care

  • Keep a bit of extra distance from traffic and drive within the posted speed limit. Be sure to use your turn signals.

Step 10: Decorate!

  • Put on some holiday tunes and enjoy sprucing up your tree, all while safe and sound at home.

More BC News

Vancouver Webcam
Webcam provided by webcams.travel
Recent Trending
Soft 103.9
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada