CarTakeBack’s Alternative Christmas Car Tips!

Posted on Wednesday, 4 December 2019 by CarTakeBack

Facebook Twitter

While the idyllic images of Christmas show families relaxing together, the reality is many of us have to hit the road over Christmas 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…

Picking up the Christmas tree

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 NZ road 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 (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!

Santa with Christmas tree in 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 (including Snoopy's Christmas of course).

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!

Children in a car wearing Santa hats

Did I lock the door?!

Here's our festive check-list to help you get through the holiday more smoothly once you’ve arrived at your destination!

  • Don’t forget to check the expiry dates in the fridge, your power's off, the door is locked 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 an 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/trailer - you don't want the lovely vase you’ve bought for Auntie Anne crushed below everyone’s stay-over bags in the boot!

Top emergency gifts from the road

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!

  • You can put together a great ‘chill-out’ gift with a glossy magazine, best-selling book or DVD and someone’s favourite sweet treats.
  • 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 iTunes to restaurants.
  • 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 hot journey! Have patience, and take a little time out for yourself when you can (not on the 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 treat 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 at the start of 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.

Cleaning the car

Whoever and wherever you're visiting over Christmas we hope our festive car tips will help you enjoy the holiday with a little less stress!

Merry Christmas & Meri Kirihimete


If you still have questions, you can find all of the answers in the following categories:

About your quote About your Car Having your car collected Dropping your car off Getting paid Help with the paperwork About CarTakeBack

Alternatively, you can search our website below:

Call Us

0800 825 346 during opening hours.

Standard call rates apply. Mobile costs may vary.

Get a Call Back

During opening hours request a call back by entering your telephone number below.
An operator will call you as soon as they become available.

Send an email to or use the form below.

It helps if you tell us your registration or reference number if you have one.
During opening hours we'll usually respond within two hours.

Chat with us online now.

Online chat is compatible with most desktop and tablet computers, and may be available outside of our usual opening hours.