CarTakeBack’s Alternative Christmas Car Tips!

Posted on 04 December 2019 by CarTakeBack

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Top to toe in tailbacks
Oh, I got red lights all around
I'm driving home for Christmas…

Many of us have to hit the road over Christmas. While we’re happy to stick to a traditional playlist (thanks Chris Rea) instead of the traditional car tips; covering winter health checks and topping up your de-icer, we thought you might enjoy our alternative guide to seasonal car use…

Picking up the Christmas tree

If you’ve been tasked with bringing the 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 Highway Code 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 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!

Tying Christmas Trees onto a car

Are we nearly there yet?

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 in a field, 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!

Children wearing Santa hats in a car

Oh No! Did I leave the oven on?!

Our usual winter check list would include things like tyre pressure, but this list is one we think will help you get through the festive season more smoothly once you’ve arrived at your destination!

  • Don’t forget to check the oven, the door, the expiry dates in the fridge and all those other things you’re leaving behind at home. You don’t want to be distracted driving or spend your whole visit worrying about what you might not have done or what you've left on!
  • Remember to set timed-lights or other burglary deterrents - they work and they give you that extra peace of mind while you are away.
  • Are you supposed to be picking up family on route? Don’t forget the in-laws! It could make for a somewhat awkward Christmas day.

And finally… don’t forget the presents! You’ve probably had them hidden ‘somewhere safe’ so we recommend getting them ready to go well before you’re supposed to be setting off. Also, give yourself enough time to pack the car - you don't want the lovely vase you’ve bought for Aunty Ann crushed below everyone’s over-night bags in the boot!

open door leading to a room decorated with Christmas decorations.

Top emergency gifts from the road

So you didn’t read our advice and you forgot the presents! Or maybe you’ve just been super busy and had no time to shop… You’re never going to get bespoke jewellery or designer gear in a 24 hour garage, but these days there're loads of great items you can still pick up last minute that will look like you’ve put at least some thought into it!

  • You can put together a great ‘chill-out’ gift with a glossy magazine or best-selling book, someone’s favourite chocolates or maybe a DVD and popcorn.
  • A fancy coffee shop in the services will sell thermal mugs and other small gifts.
  • Most outlets have a great gift-card selection these days so you can pick out something that really suits the person you want to treat, from Nandos to Nintendo.
  • Of course if you’re visiting a car-nut you’re probably in the best place to pick up Turtle Wax and a shammy leather!

Motorway Services

Christmas Party Patience

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 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.

The post-Christmas clean-up!

We know you don’t need to be told how to tidy up Quality Street wrappers, 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 work wonders removing sap from a car's paintwork and even from upholstery and floor mats in 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 and it’s a particularly satisfying job! Sellotape is also handy for seams and small spaces.

As for washing your car, it’s a good idea to get rid of the road salt when you can as eventually it can corrode the underside of your vehicle, but if you keep your car outside make sure you can dry it afterwards or you’ll wake up in the morning to an ice block!

Cleaning the car

We hope you’ve gained a little Christmas cheer from our alternative Christmas car tips!

If you could do with looking over some of our more standard winter car advice then here's a couple of blogs to help you:

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