We take it Christ­mas tree shop­ping

If there’s one task guar­an­teed to nee­dle you, this is it, even with a spa­cious SUV


’Tis the sea­son to be jolly. Tra-la-la-la-lah, deck the halls and raise a glass to my name­sake (alas, not rel­a­tive, given the roy­al­ties pre­sum­ably pour­ing in right now) Noddy Holder, famed singer of 1970s su­per­group Slade, no­table for hits in­clud­ing Merry Xmas Ev­ery­body.

But for all this bon­homie, there is some­thing that kills my Christ­mas cheer quicker than dis­cov­er­ing some­one has for­got­ten to put the nut­meg in the egg-nog: the po­ten­tially quite ru­inous jour­ney to col­lect the Christ­mas tree.

While your mind may be rac­ing ahead and won­der­ing what risks could pos­si­bly be in­volved in such a mun­dane task, it is only the jour­ney to and from wher­ever we buy the tree to which I’m re­fer­ring.

The is­sues, of course, re­volve around the nee­dles. On re­flec­tion, there is a hint in their name as to their po­ten­tial for jeop­ardy, al­though it is not only their propen­sity for jab­bing you in the face that needs ad­dress­ing.

For starters, col­lect­ing the tree tends to be a fam­ily event. So that’s both the front and two of the mid­dle seats spo­ken for. Add in the tree and this brings its chal­lenges, al­beit ones that high­light once again that the Peu­geot is a cut above a lot of the op­po­si­tion.

Rear­most seats down, it has 822 litres of space, ver­sus the Skoda Ko­diaq’s 720. That’s a de­cent ad­van­tage – and above av­er­age for the class – but it’s still not enough for any­thing more than the most pa­thetic of trees, the likes of which are never go­ing to be signed off once your overex­cited kids re­alise they can put the an­gel in place sim­ply by stand­ing on their tip­toes.

What to do? Well, the 5008’s mid­dle row of seats splits 40:20:40, leav­ing you with two op­tions, the most prac­ti­cal of which is to drop the mid­dle seat and sub­stan­tially ex­pand your load length. Yes, the kids will likely in­jure them­selves on the afore­men­tioned nee­dles and rapidly be­come un­ruly as a re­sult, but the threat of their dis­plea­sure turn­ing into an ar­gu­ment is greatly re­duced be­cause of the spike-cov­ered tree trunk that sep­a­rates them.

But if you favour hap­pi­ness over prac­ti­cal­ity, by far the best op­tion is to tell your ‘other half’ to go shop­ping and catch the bus home when she’s done with buying socks. Not only is this bet­ter for her mood, but it also gives you a chance to shuf­fle the kids next to each other, drop one of the side seats in the mid­dle row and fold the front pas­sen­ger seat flat (a neat trick that is in­creas­ingly an op­tion on cars with an eye on prac­ti­cal­ity). Be­hold, the 10ft tree that you and the kids re­ally wanted all along can be yours. Hooray for the com­modi­ous Peu­geot and its clever seats.

How­ever, as sure as a fun-packed Christ­mas lunch is fol­lowed by the Queen’s speech and a 20-year old Bond film, so there must be some words of cau­tion in this homage to the 5008’s load-car­ry­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties – and again it re­lates to those nee­dles.

Some­one will write in and say that age and ex­pe­ri­ence should have taught me what’s to come af­ter you have had a Christ­mas tree in your car but, well, you do it only once a year and, yes, I have the mem­ory of a gold­fish.

As such, I never, ever re­mem­ber to take a sheet or some-such on which to lie the tree. And, as a re­sult, I al­ways end up with a car full of nee­dles, which will both pierce my trousers and lit­ter the car for months to come.

The 5008 of­fers lit­tle pro­tec­tion, the boot cov­er­ing be­ing no more than a flimsy, car­pet-cov­ered fold­ing base that lets it­self down both by grab­bing nee­dles into its weave so they won’t vac­uum up and by dis­plac­ing eas­ily from its cov­er­ing du­ties so the nee­dles fall into the un­der­floor stor­age area where the seats stow. Once there, they are nigh-on im­pos­si­ble to lib­er­ate from the nooks and cran­nies that lie be­low, re­main­ing like the rel­a­tive who won’t go home.

Seat origami and nee­dle-drop pain on dis­play in cav­ernous Pug

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