Are you driving somewhere this festive season to see family and friends, and have some fun?

Most winter travellers will be taking more than just a turkey, but slinging sacks in your sleigh like Santa won’t get your far on Christmas Day.

The good news is, we’ve found some top tips courtesy of an unexpected source. Prepare like a pro for your holiday drive home with Honda.



DanV (Photo: aGameScout and EricICX)

DanV (Photo: aGameScout and EricICX)

Honda’s very own little helper, DanV, is a competitive Tetris player who knows a lot about getting tricky objects to line up in tight spaces. In fact, years of the block-based game have given the top gamer an insight into arranging and rearranging things with utmost precision.

As he puts it:

“Playing Tetris has shown me that not every decision you make will be correct, but it will constantly teach you how to create better, more efficient solutions to any problem you might face.

When packing items into a car, you can think of it in the same way: if something doesn't fit, you can make it work, whether that is rotating a big box, or re-arranging the order you have placed items in.”

The weather outside may be frightful, but you can keep your car journey delightful by giving yourself a little extra leg room. Get on the road with all your presents in tow – and some space for a festive treat or two along the way.


Road safety regulations mean you’re going to need to plan for presents and passengers (as well as that all-important in-drive entertainment).

As an expert on rotating oddly shaped blocks into impossible spaces, DanV has some initial advice:

 “…the biggest tip I can offer you is to always, always have a plan. You want to be able to start off strong. Make sure you have a good idea of which items should go in the boot, and which should go in the backseat.”

Dan advises you to think of the boot and seats as “two separate Tetris boards.” Then, it’s a case of taking it “one board, one Tetris block at a time.”

  • If each item is a block, which do you want on top?
  • Are you making any additional stops?
  • And, most importantly, who’s carrying the road snacks? After all, you can’t really get into the holiday spirit if you’re hangry

Who knows, maybe you’ll fit the partridge, the pear tree, and the 12 drummers in to boot. But if you’re struggling to picture the solution yourself, get others in on the fun.

That way the festive games can start long before you arrive at your destination. Avoid the ‘are we there yets?’ by flipping the way you think about packing on its side – along with some other great ways of keeping kids occupied on long car journeys.


In Tetris, Dan says, “the ‘O piece’ can be the perfect piece to start out with”. And when it comes to festive packing, the O-block (or square to you and me) basically comes down to those big, bulky items we need to find a space for.

Think suitcases, the biggest presents, and anything that “typically comes in a ‘box’ shape.”

“O pieces have a reputation as a piece you’d rather not have, as it always seems to come at the wrong time,” notes Dan. And this wisdom goes double for packing – you’ll be trading festive cheer for a Christmassy sigh if you think you’ve finally finished arranging your car, only to notice a chunky, weighty present that now needs to precariously perch atop your valuables.

Dan says larger items, just like the O-block, “provide a good foundation for you to start stacking other items on top of.” Just be careful with breakables though!  

“You can line [boxes] up against the walls of the boot to maximise space used and minimise any gaps or holes. When you play Tetris, creating holes in your board can lead to some disastrous situations!”

So, those larger items can create a foundation to fit your festive gifts, gear, and gadgets around. But that’s the easy part. When the other pieces start falling, that’s when the game truly begins.


In complete contrast to bulky blocks, more complicated or ‘spiky’ items prove harder to find a ‘simple’ place for.

Dan notes that “in the almost 40 years of Tetris’ existence, there’s always been fierce debate on which is ‘the worst possible piece.’”

For DanV, there’s one that really puts the coal in his stocking: the dreaded ‘T-Piece’.

“…the T-piece is one of the trickiest blocks to deal with. If you don’t know what to do with a T-piece, you’ll most likely find yourself in trouble.”

DanV says it's the iconic Christmas tree that best represents the T-Piece in Tetris, and if you’ve ever had to lug a yuletide spruce or fir any kind of distance, you’ll probably agree too.

Luckily, you can cheat trunk-Tetris a little bit with a touch of festive ingenuity.

“Nowadays, [modern] Christmas trees can be a lot less tricky, because they can be broken down into smaller parts. These smaller parts can be placed inside a rectangular box – it’s like switching the tree from a T-piece into an I-piece, and suddenly you’ve gone from the worst piece in Tetris to the best!” 

If you’re finding yourself struggling to fit other tricky things in, changing the way in which your gifts are packaged is a great idea. Disassembling a large gift or packing toys into a more reasonably shaped box means you’re not completely at the mercy of the shapes you’re given.


Once the larger and more difficult items have been stowed, it’s time to slot in the smaller stuff.

Our Tetris Expert suggests that“smaller items can either go in the backseat, or be squeezed into any gaps boxes may have left behind, to ensure you use up as much space as possible.”

Towards the end of a Tetris game, fitting blocks into ever tighter spaces on the board becomes more and more important. Thankfully, if you put a block in badly in real-life, you can always try a new angle.

More compact festive items you might want to bring include:

  • Lighter presents
  • Candles
  • Wreathes
  • Decorations
  • Christmas crackers
  • Books

Think about those things that aren’t quite fragile enough to need looking after, but could still be damaged if slung on the bottom without a thought.


Leaving blankets, slippers, pyjamas and all other soft, fluffy, and comfy things to last is a sound strategy to achieving a packing high score. In Tetris, the S and Z-blocks are wildcards – able to fit on the board in unexpected ways, with a bit creativity.

"You should ensure you’ve got some soft and flexible items that line the edge of your boot. Think of these as S and Z-pieces, as they can fit into gaps you wouldn’t expect.”

Keeping soft, flexible items in reserve lets you stop bigger items from sliding around and can protect your other items. With some clever arrangement, you can pack a lot without taking up too much useable space.

If your passengers are needing a festive nap though, you may want to ensure pillows and blankets are close-to-hand – we’re sure Santa and his ever-busy elves would be jealous.


Don’t leave your passengers out in the cold. Mostly, because Christmas is all about friends and family. But also, because they can be incredibly useful for transporting fragile items.

“There may be some more delicate items you don’t want to see get damaged on your journey. If you’ve been able to squeeze any family members or guests into the car, it’s time for them to give a helping hand by looking after any of the more fragile items.”

Asking people to supervise a breakable gift – or spillable trifle – while you drive, may make the difference between triumph and disaster.



DanV at the 2023 Tetris World Championships (Photo: aGameScout and EricICX)

DanV at the 2023 Tetris World Championships (Photo: aGameScout and EricICX)

Dan has been playing Tetris since 2003 on his Gameboy, and has been playing competitively since December 2020.

His goal is to play in the Classic Tetris World Championship, which takes place once a year in Portland, Oregon. “Now, that wouldn't be an easy task by any means, since you only get so many attempts at it and the competition is so fierce. I can keep dreaming about it though!”  

You can follow Dan on Twitch, YouTube and Instagram.


If you’re driving home for Christmas, there’s more to think about than snow on your tyres. Unlike Santa, we can’t cruise above the motorway or ignore the laws of physics.

As well as having plenty of great winter driving tips for you to consider, we know a thing or two about packing up for the festive season. Here are Honda’s additional top tips to packing your car safely:


If you’re hauling festive treats for the entire family, plus the tree, then weight limits could be a concern. However, these might actually surprise you. For example, the Honda 2023 CR-V could travel with a vending machine, and you’d still have capacity for a turkey and a passenger.

It has a maximum load of about 850lbs (385kg), depending on your vehicle’s setup. If you’re planning to tow anything, you could shift around 1,000lbs (454kg) with the right trim and towing gear. You can always check your owner’s manual to discover the combined, gross weight of your vehicle. It can also be found on the VIN plate under the bonnet or on a door pillar, for most vehicles.

Just remember, any weight can affect performance. That means you should drive safely and be prepared for your ride to feel a little different. Significantly exceeding your car’s weight limit could lower your ground clearance, break distance, and handling significantly – that means the winter weather could become extra precarious.

It’s not just about the comfort of your journey however. Exceeding your weight limit can come with some legal ramifications:

  • You could be fined.
  • Vehicle immobilisation could occur, meaning you might not be driving home for Christmas as soon as you think.
  • Your insurance may be rendered invalid, in the event of an accident. If the weather is frightful and other people are in a hurry, bumps can be more likely.
  • If considered particularly reckless, you could receive further fines and get penalties on your licence.

 It’s always good to refresh your knowledge of the Highway Code, when it comes to these kinds of things.


Christmas driving involves a lot of red lights and tailbacks – Chris Rea even sings about it. But while you’re whittling away the travel hours by singing festive songs, it’s important to keep your sightlines clear. The roads are busy, turn-offs can become obscured, and icy conditions can be difficult. Unlike a Tetris board, you should definitely keep some safe gaps.

Blocking your windows or rear-view mirror can make driving difficult. Legally, especially if you’re driving in adverse weather conditions, it should be possible to see out of every window in your car.

Failure to do so could result in legal repercussions, such as:

  • Fines
  • Penalty points
  • Accountability in the event of an accident


Unlike Tetris, you can choose the shape of your board. Get those gifts perfectly packed by making the most of your car’s hidden storage and space-saving options.

For example, in the Honda CR-V, which comes with a wide array of possible accessories, you can place valuables and tiny trinkets in the large, central armrest. Additionally, you can recline the CR-V’s rear seats until they’re folded and flattened. That means no awkward angles, and a lot more useable space. 

Many modern cars come equipped with secret boot hatches, front-trunks, and all sorts of hidey holes to store your odds and ends. It’s not quite Christmas magic, but it’s close.


Cars are equipped for carrying, but with a bit of know-how you can employ some crafty Christmas packing options that’d even make Santa jealous. Consider some of the following add-ons to give yourself a bit more space:

  • Detachable tow bars
  • Bicycle carriers
  • Crossbars
  • Boot nets
  • Roof boxes
  • Boot organisers

With the right gear, you won’t need to leave anything behind – and you may even find yourself with a bit of elbow room to spare.


Packing tightly means there’s potential for bumps, scrapes, and scratches, depending on what you’re loading. But there are things you can do to safeguard your vehicle.

From Car Boot Protector mats that shield your boot still, to Cargo Door Guards and Car Seat Covers, there’s an incredible selection box of equipment you can use to protect even the busiest car during the Holidays.

Packing tightly means there’s potential for bumps, scrapes, and scratches, depending on what you’re loading. But there are things you can do to safeguard your vehicle.

From Car Boot Protector mats that shield your boot still, to Cargo Door Guards and Car Seat Covers, there’s an incredible selection box of equipment you can use to protect even the busiest car during the Holidays.


Thanks to this guide, hopefully you’ve got a little extra room for some Christmas cheer – as well as your legs.

Changing Christmas chores into cheery games and thinking about your car packing like Tetris can give you an extra bit of space, and take away the seasonal stress of shifting gifts. Happy packing – and Merry Christmas.

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