The upside down Christmas tree is exactly as it sounds — an inverted, or upside down, version of the artificial pine typically used as a Christmas tree. With the point at the bottom and the wide base being at the top, the upside down Christmas tree is seemingly odd to those who hold traditional Christmas trees in high esteem. There are several connotations that are associated with the inverted tree, some negative, but it reportedly began not as a modern-day fad, but rather an old-world European tradition.
The modern idea of the upside down Christmas tree is credited to the retail industry. Some department stores that double up with a Christmas shop each year decided to invert artificial trees so as to make the ornaments more visible to the consumer. However, Hammacher Schlemmer, a retailer of holiday décor and the upside down Christmas tree credits the concept to a 12th Century European custom of hanging trees from the ceiling.
The gimmick caught on almost immediately, with manufacturers of artificial trees touting the design as not only a better way to display ornaments, but also to provide more room under the tree for gifts. Whether a marketing ploy or just a holiday decorating novelty that caught on quickly, there are those who think there is something ominous about the upside down Christmas tree. Traditional Christian folklore says that the Christmas tree is symbolic because it is evergreen, representing eternal life, and because it points to the heavens. Obviously, from a symbolic standpoint the inversion of the traditional tree could be viewed badly.
Aside from any connotations, bad or good, the upside down Christmas tree grew in popularity from the 2005 to the 2007 holiday seasons. High-end and discount department stores will likely carry these oddities until the fad passes – if it does. There are three main types of inverted Christmas trees available. One actually does hang from the ceiling, one is freestanding like a traditional tree, and the third is a half tree that hangs on the wall.