What Is the Deal With Upside-Down Christmas Trees?

christmas comes to castle howard
What Does an Upside-Down Christmas Tree Mean?Ian Forsyth - Getty Images

"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below."

Over the last few years, we've noticed one topsy-turvy holiday decor trend that doesn't seem to be going away: Upside-down Christmas trees have become a major holiday decor trend (and no, it’s not a nod to the Upside Down in Stranger Things…). They’ve popped up everywhere from hotels to homes to art institutions—including London’s Tate Britain museum, which featured an upside-down Christmas tree with gold leaf roots hung from a glass ceiling in 2016, and a Karl Lagerfeld-designed version in the lobby of the Claridge’s hotel circa 2017. Ariana Grande hopped on the trend in 2018, as did Kourtney Kardashian in 2019.

As the concept continues to make its way into homes today, we're wondering at the meaning behind it. Ahead, learn more about the upside-down Christmas tree’s mysterious origin. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to try it out for yourself this season!

christmas comes to castle howard
Ian Forsyth - Getty Images

The History Behind the Upside-Down Christmas Tree

While it’s not certain where the current obsession with upside-down Christmas trees originated, there are some theories out there. One possible explanation dates back to the eighth century, when Saint Boniface, a Benedictine monk, hung a fir tree upside down to represent the Holy Trinity in an effort to stop pagans from worshipping an oak tree. This tale is supposedly a myth based on a bishop’s tome about the monk’s life, according to Mental Floss.

Another version of the upside-down Christmas tree origin points to an eastern European tradition. According to the Polish Art Center, it was customary to decorate with "podniczka" in Poland during the 20th century before Christmas trees became widespread. The center says that this was typically the point of an evergreen that was suspended from rafters. Sometimes it was an evergreen branch, but it was never a whole tree suspended from the ceiling. So the idea could've stemmed from this tradition.

The Current Upside-Down Christmas Tree Trend

In recent years, inverted Christmas trees have also appeared in malls and department stores as well as people’s homes. Not only are they a unique way of mixing up your decor for the season, but there is a practical element to them. Whether they’re hung from the ceiling or placed on a stand, they take up less space. This means they can be better suited to smaller homes and apartments, or they can allow for more merchandise floor space in a store. If you decorate your tree with edible items or precious ornaments, they can also lower the risk of pets or kids messing with them.

How to Know if an Upside-Down Christmas Tree Is for You

Many retailers sell upside-down Christmas trees on stands—no hanging required! But if you want a wow factor, you can certainly go all out by hanging one from your ceiling instead. If you’re not sure about either option, here are a few things to consider: If you’re short on square footage for holiday decor, an upside-down Christmas tree may be an excellent space-saving solution. They can also make your decor feel fresh if you’re tired of the same old design but don’t want to invest in new ornaments. If you’re a fan of Christmas tree toppers, it’s important to remember that you’ll likely have to hang your tree to display one. You’ll also need to find a way to secure one to the end of your tree so that it doesn't fall off. In any case, it's a fun way to spice up your Christmas decorations.

Love knowing all the latest design trends? We’ve got you covered.

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.

You Might Also Like