You’ve picked out a gorgeous tree to decorate for Christmas. Whether you’re at a cut-your-own farm in the country or a local tree lot, do you know how you’ll get it home without damaging your car (or other drivers, for that matter)? Especially if you're going over the river and through the snow, or just driving on a highway, follow these tips.

Related: Be Tree Smart This Christmas

Wrap it up. It's common practice for tree sellers to wrap trees in netting. Don't skip that step if it's available, no matter how eager you are to get home and start stringing lights. If netting isn’t an option, bring along an old blanket or tarp to wrap the tree in, suggests This Old House magazine.

Decide where it will ride. If the tree will fit in the cargo area and it's wrapped in netting, put a tarp or blanket under it to protect your car's interior from needles and sap, advises If you’re putting a netted tree on the roof of your car, put a tarp or sheet under it to prevent scratches and protect your paint from sap.

Put the trunk in the front. If you're putting the tree on top of your car, position it with the stump facing forward. This way the wind won't damage the branches.

Tie it down. If you have a roof rack, use rope or bungee cords to secure the tree in several spots, from where the branches start to the tip of the tree, recommends This Old House. If you don’t have a roof rack, open all the car doors (not the windows) and tie the tree down by passing several lengths of rope through the inside of the car and over the top of the tree. If the tree is longer than your car, tie a flag to the end of it so other drivers will notice it.

Related: Quiz: Test Your Holiday Safety Smarts

Take it slow. Drive carefully, and try to avoid the highway. When you get home, unload the tree right away to get it out of the sun, which can dry out the tree.

Don't be sappy. After you take the tree off the car, you may see drops of tree sap left behind. It won’t damage the paint right away, according to, but if you leave it for too long it could lead to discoloring or staining. To get tree sap off a car:

  1. Put a few drops of bug and tar remover or rubbing alcohol on a clean washcloth.
  2. Put the cloth on top of the sap and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  3. Rub the area until the sap is gone. If it’s stubborn, add more remover and try again.

If there's sap is on your windows, use glass cleaner in place of the tar remover.

Related: Disaster-Proof Your Holiday Decor

Angela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor with more than 15 years of experience delivering news and information to audiences worldwide. Prior to joining SafeBee, she was the features editor for at The Boston Globe, overseeing health, travel, entertainment, business and lifestyle coverage. Before moving to features, she was the news and homepage editor, covering stories such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Red Sox World Series victories, presidential elections, a papal inauguration, and more. Her favorite safety tip: Clean your phone! The average cell phone has 18 times more germs than the toilet handle in a men’s restroom.