While the idyllic images of Christmas showing families relaxing together, the reality is many of us have to hit the road over Christmas visiting friends and family and it can end up being pretty stressful. We’re not experts on Christmas, but when it relates to cars we have a few gems in the boot, so here’s our light-hearted guide to seasonal car use…
If you’ve been tasked with bringing a real tree, here’s our mini guide to make sure it and you arrive in one piece!
Apologies for pointing out the obvious, but don’t buy a tree too big for your car – you can actually break the Road rules if it’s deemed dangerous!
Ideally you should have a roof rack and it’s much easier if the tree has been netted. Use a blanket under the tree to protect your paintwork (the only time you’ll be needing one of those at this time of year!) and make sure the stump end is at the front.
The best way to tie it on is using several bungee cords and securing them tightly around the tree and rack at different points. Make sure it’s completely secure and when you do set off remember your car will be carrying more weight than usual.
Finally, enjoy a big thank you from the people you’ve gone to all that trouble for!
Entertaining the kids could be a whole blog in itself, in fact we promise to come back to this topic in the future. But for now, here’s a little help the creative CarTakeBack team has come up with to help your Christmas road trip pass with less repeats of ‘that’ question…
If the kids in your car aren’t engaged with electronics for the entire journey (and we won’t judge you if they are!) then a great idea is to have each activity you’ve packed released by certain landmarks or distances on your journey. It keeps each stage of the journey fresh with things for the kids to look forward to; whether it’s drawing, snack time, a mini craft project, an audio story or family sing-along playlist.
We recommend starting with car bingo – who’s the first to spot a driver in a hat, a cow grazing, a yellow car – you get the idea! And there’s loads of festive things you can add in there. If anyone sees Santa’s sleigh you have to promise to get someone who isn’t driving to get a photo for the rest of us!
Here’s our festive check-list to help you get through the holiday more smoothly once you’ve arrived at your destination!
So you didn’t read our advice and you forgot the presents! Or maybe you’ve just been busy and had no time to shop… You’re never going to get fine jewellery or designer gear in a 24-hour service station, but these days there’s loads of great items you can still pick up last minute that will look like you’ve put at least some thought into it!
As much as we’re all looking forward to seeing loved ones over the Christmas period, spending prolonged periods of time with family can actually be quite stressful, especially if you’re all crammed in the car together on a long hot journey! Have patience, and take a little time out for yourself when you can (not on the hard shoulder!). Looking after your mental health matters and will make for a better trip all round.
We know you don’t need to be told how to tidy up Roses wrappers from the back seats, but here’s some top tips for getting rid of tree sap, pine needles and glitter!
Whether you delivered the tree or a door wreath, sap can be really tough to deal with. Gel hand sanitizer is supposed to be great for removing sap from a car’s paintwork and even from the interior. If you rub a small dot of it from your fingertip directly onto the sap and let it sit for a few seconds it will dissolve it and you can wipe it away with a wet paper towel or a clean, damp rag. We have to admit we haven’t tried this one out ourselves, so best to test it on a less visible spot of your car first and make sure you rinse the spot a few times to make sure the alcohol in the hand sanitizer doesn’t continue to affect the surface. WD-40 is also supposed to work well removing sap from leather, but again, be sure to go over the area with a damp, soapy rag to remove the residue.
As for pine needles and glitter we’ll all still be finding those next Summer! But after a quick brush and vac our top tip is to use a lint roller! This little tool does wonders picking up the little green fiends and sparkly dust (as well as sand from the beach) and it’s a particularly satisfying job! Sellotape is also handy for seams and small spaces.
Whether you’re heading to carols by candlelight or a barbie with your nearest and dearest we hope our festive car tips will help you enjoy the Christmas break without the stress!