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The Upside-Down Christmas Tree: All Your Questions, Answered

Fact: the tradition of hanging fir trees goes back to the European Middle Ages.

upside down Christmas tree
Photography by: Wayfair

Pictured: 7.5 Upside-down artificial Christmas tree, $385, wayfair.com. Other artificial trees are sold at treetopia.com and hayneedle.com.

This type of Tannenbaum may cause you to do a double-take this year: upside-down Christmas trees are the talk of the holiday season. But why? And where did they come from?

 

These topsy-turvy trees have been popping up everywhere from Instagram feeds to hotel lobbies and perhaps even your family's living room. And while decorating an upside-down tree may be considered a new holiday decorating challenge, there are undeniable benefits. For one, the avant-garde tree is a true statement-maker that's sure to delight your holiday guests. Last year, London's Tate Britain museum hung a Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling. And this year, designers credit Karl Lagerfeld for re-envisioning the trend as he decorated Claridge's Hotel lobby tree. Historians would be first to point out that the upside-down tree dates back to the 1500s in Eastern Europe. In their inverted position, they were once considered a symbol of Christianity and decorated with fruit, nuts, and sweets wrapped in paper. Today, the rules for decorating such a trendsetting tree are different. We spoke with a variety of decorating experts who each gave their thoughts (and creative visions) for trimming an upside-down tree of your very own.

 

Positioning Your Tree

 

Robert Cottone, founder of luxury lifestyle management company RC Inc., answers our first question: How do you stabilize an upside-down tree?

 

"We tie wire from the center of the tree to a small flat piece of wood or the tree stand then affix it to the ceiling," he explains. Securing ornaments to an upside-down tree is just as important. His recommendation: "I like to use small pieces of floral bind wire to tie each ornament on the branch so there is no risk of falling off. I also like to use predominantly shatterproof ornaments as they are lightweight."

 

[START HERE: Shatterproof Christmas Ornaments]

Ornaments and Lights

 

Liz Curtis, founder of Table + Teaspoon, agrees with this tree-trimming philosophy. "Lightweight decorations are preferable for upside down trees to avoid weighing down the installation," she says. The event planner is currently loving buffalo-check ribbon, leather, and tulle to create fashion-inspired ornaments. 

 

And don't forget to make it sparkle. "Swap traditional lights with either a single strand of market lights or thousands of micro-fairy lights," Curtis recommends. "And tinsel is your friend for the upside down [tree] because it's nearly weightless."

 

[A DIY TREE: How to Make the Ornaments, the Garlands, and Even the Tree]

Is it Right For You?

 

Design aesthetics aside, there are ample pet and kid-friendly benefits, too. An upside-down tree is ideal for parents of pets and small children, as well as singles living in small-space apartments like New York and San Francisco.

 

Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at The Home Depot weighs in with what might be the best argument of all: "You can place more gifts under the tree."

 

If you're unsure about trying a full-sized tree, but want to try it yourself, Curtis offers a happy medium: "Accent your regularly positioned tree with three smaller trees hung upside down above your dining room table. The petite trees will be all you need for tablescape decor, and will feel reminiscent of chandeliers during the season of light."

 

'Tis the season to try something new. And who knows? It might become your new tradition.

 

Feeling inspired? Watch how to decorate a traditional Christmas tree: