They may seem like just another whimsical Christmas tree decoration idea, but there’s actually a backstory behind upside-down Christmas trees. So, if you’ve been seeing a lot of upside down trees in recent times and have been wondering about their meaning, here’s what you should know about the trend:
The History of Upside-Down Christmas Trees
The Benedictine Monk
The popular version of the origin of inverted Christmas trees credits a Benedictine monk as the one behind upside-down Christmas trees. The monk, Boniface, is reported to have started the upside-down tree trend around the 7th-8th century after he came across some people deifying an oak tree in Germany.
Boniface, who was not in support of people worshipping the tree, decided to cut the tree down. But then, a fir tree grew where the oak tree was. However, Boniface, cut the fir down, then flipped it into an inverted position.
When Boniface hung the fir tree upside-down, his goal was to inform people about the holy trinity using the triangular shape of the upside-down fir.
Middle Age Polish Christians
The Benedictine monk’s story is not the only narrative about the history of upside-down Christmas trees. In fact, some say the upside-down Christmas tree trend may have become mainstream through the people living in southern Poland during the middle ages.
In a decoration style/tradition called Podłazniczek, the Polish people would hang greens upside down from the ceiling and adorn them with various ornaments, including nuts, cookies, fruits, shiny paper, and pine cones. Interestingly, some reports say that the Polish never really hung a whole Christmas tree upside down back then.
All in all, the Polish may have played a significant part in the inverted Christmas tree origins.
Besides the influence of the southern Polish people and Boniface, a certain constraint made people adopt the upside down tree Christmas tree style back in the 19th-20th century.
Back then, low-income households that had small houses did not have enough space for the traditional Christmas tree. So, to save floor space, they hung their Christmas trees upside down from the ceiling.
In Recent Times…
The popularity of inverted trees has been going up in recent years. In a fair number of cases, people now use inverted Christmas trees in place of a traditional tree for the same reason as the low-income European households in the past – to save floor space.
Since an inverted tree will hang from the ceiling, it leaves people with more floor space for other things. This may be one reason why it is popular in department stores, hotels, malls, and similar places during the holiday season.
While hanging trees are now making a comeback, there’s a good chance that the advent of plastered ceilings contributed to the decline in their popularity. Since such ceilings typically have no roof beams, attaching an upside-down Christmas tree to them was not a good idea.
Why Upside-Down Christmas Trees Are Becoming Popular
Boniface may have started the upside-down Christmas tree trend to teach the holy trinity. However, these days, you may use an upside-down Christmas tree for any of these reasons:
- It helps save space.
- The style is unique.
- An upside-down tree is typically out of the reach of children and pets. In a way, this offers some safety.
- One can readily get a full view of the tree’s ornaments.
What You Should Know Before Getting an Upside-Down Christmas Tree
Topsy turvy trees are pretty much like regular Christmas pines. The only difference between them is their orientation. you can find both types of trees in the same colors, you can also decorate them with similar ornaments.
Since both are similar, if you want an upside-down Christmas tree, you could hang a traditional Christmas tree from the ceiling. Hanging a regular Christmas pine from your ceiling is pretty much like hanging a chandelier.
While you can hang a regular tree as an upside-down Christmas tree, it is safer to get an actual inverted tree. Some inverted Christmas pines come with a foot that keeps them inverted on the floor. So, you wouldn’t have to hang them. Of course, if you do not hang your tree, you never have to worry about it dropping from the ceiling.
While you can decorate an upside-down Christmas tree like a traditional tree, pay attention to the weight and amount of ornaments you use. The more ornaments you use, the heavier the tree; the heavier the tree, the stronger the pull of gravity on it. In other words, if you use heavy ornaments or too many ornaments, you will increase the likelihood of your tree dropping from the ceiling.
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