There’s a new trend in Christmas decor that has been popping up all over the place the past few holiday seasons: the upside-down Christmas tree.
The topsy-turvy twist on the most recognizable of all Christmas decorations has taken holiday decorating by storm the past few Decembers—from shopping malls and living rooms to hotel ballrooms and corporate reception areas. (Back in 2017, designer Karl Lagerfeld designed an extravagant 16-foot upside-down tree for the lobby of the iconic Claridge’s Hotel in London.)
The flipped-over Christmas tree is a big part of the holiday aesthetic showcased by social media influencers and interior decorators in recent years, and numerous artificial tree manufacturers are now selling upside-down evergreens as part of their Christmas tree offerings. But where did this rising trend start? And what is the point of putting your Christmas tree on its triangular top? Is there a special meaning behind it?
If you have been asking yourself these questions about what upside-down Christmas trees represent, then you have come to the right place! We’ll answer all of your questions about the meaning behind the flipped-over Christmas tree right here!
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Related: The Origin of Christmas Trees
What is an upside-down Christmas tree?
A traditional Christmas tree is generally the shape of a pyramid. An upside-down Christmas tree takes that evergreen and flips it over so that the wider base is on the top, and the narrow point of the tree—where the tree-topper would normally sit—is on the bottom.
What is the history and meaning of the upside-down Christmas tree?
Theologians believe that the practice of hanging a Christmas tree upside down stems back to the 700s and an English monk named St. Boniface. As the legend goes, Boniface was spreading the word of Christianity in Germany when he saw a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree. In a fit of anger, Boniface chopped down the tree, and in its place grew a fir. Then, Boniface cut down the fir, turned it upside down, and used the triangular shape to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the worshippers.
Is it offensive to have an upside-down Christmas tree?
That depends on who you ask. Some religious groups believe that the tip of a Christmas tree points up to Heaven to remind us that God and Jesus are high above, watching over us. So to those people, hanging the Christmas tree upside down is disrespectful But, going back to the story of St. Boniface, his upside-down tree became known as the Trinity Tree, so there is a religious meaning behind flipping over a Christmas tree.
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Related: The Meanings Behind Christmas Symbols
How do you display an upside-down Christmas tree?
Since more and more retail outlets now sell this trending holiday decoration, you can buy an artificial tree that’s already upside down to set up in your home. Some of them are already pre-lit, so you don’t have to worry about trying to string twinkling lights on the tree, and the artificial evergreens come with a special stand to support the inverted shape.
Another option is to actually hang the Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling like you would a chandelier. You could do this with either a real tree or an artificial tree. But before you begin this DIY project, make sure that the structure of your home can support the weight of hanging the tree from the ceiling. You also need to consider if hanging the tree like a chandelier will damage the plaster, paneling, or whatever other material your ceiling is made of (after all, you don’t want your Christmas decor to become a hazard in your home!).
Related: How To Flock a Christmas Tree
What are the benefits of an upside-down Christmas tree in your home?
Besides freeing up precious floor space for Santa to leave presents, there are a few good reasons to consider switching out a traditional tree for its flipped cousin this Christmas. If you have little ones at home, most of the ornaments will be on the upper branches of the tree, which means there are fewer at ground level for little hands to grab at… and possibly break.
Another bonus to having an inverted tree is the space it saves, especially if you live in a smaller home or apartment. And for folks like Twitter user Ed Fergy, the tree is safe from his cat when it is suspended from the ceiling!
How do you decorate a flipped Christmas tree?
Very carefully! When you turn a Christmas tree on its top, gravity will be working against you after all! Try not to overload the tree with heavier ornaments, since there’s a greater chance that they’ll slide off in comparison to a traditional Christmas tree. However, an upside-down tree will beautifully display whatever ornaments you use to decorate it. Due to the way the branches will fall when the tree is flipped onto its top, the ornaments will dangle freely in between the needles, rather than how they are tucked in or sit atop the branches on a traditional tree.
What do you put on the top of an upside-down Christmas tree?
Obviously, a traditional tree-topper won’t work on an inverted Christmas tree since the triangular tip is on the bottom and the wide base is at the top. So instead of placing a star, or angel on the top… er, that would be the base… of the tree, you can get creative and take advantage of the wider area. For example, you can gently drape a blanket over the base, and place Christmas stuffed animals across the top. You can gift-wrap empty boxes and use them to decorate the top of your tree or use a pretty, oversize bow. The possibilities are endless!
Not sure if an upside-down Christmas tree is for you? How about a pink Christmas tree?