Why an ‘upside-down’ Christmas tree was a game-changer for one family

Courtesy Gina Glocksen-Ruzicka

Made you look!

If this upside-down Christmas tree had you doing a double-take, you’re not alone.

“Everyone is just so confused [when they see it for the first time], Gina Glocksen-Ruzicka, the owner of an upside-down tree, tells TODAY.com. “They always ask, ‘how is it standing?’ and if there’s some sort of symbolism behind it like maybe we don’t believe in Christmas.”

For the record, the Glocksen-Ruzicka family has nothing at all against Christmas. Their upside-down tree is one of two Christmas trees in their Oswego, Illinois, home. The other one is a traditional tree.

The upside-down tree has been part of the family for 16 years. Glocksen-Ruzicka says she was window shopping with her then-boyfriend, now husband, in Wisconsin when they spotted the unusual tree. The couple ended up purchasing the tree from American Sale. While the company does not feature one on the website currently, a search shows upside-down trees available at Wayfair and Amazon.

“We thought it could be the perfect solution for our cats,” she says. The couple had four at the time, and Glocksen-Ruzicka said the felines were prone to making mischief around the tree and repeatedly peeing on the tree skirt.

The inverted tree solved the problem. “The skirt is on top and the presents are on top. The cats just walked right by,” she says.

Now that the couple has two kids — and three cats — the upside-down tree is the one the children like to decorate the most. Glocksen-Ruzicka says it’s because, on an upside-down tree, the ornaments are easier to see. “They stand out more,” she tells TODAY.com.

And for families with small children, it’s a way to keep delicate ornaments away from tiny hands.

The trees have also become popular with retailers as a way to save floor space while displaying ornaments.

But for the Glocksen-Ruzicka family, the tree is just something “fun and unique.” Glocksen-Ruzicka notes that their family itself is unique, as both she and her husband are musicians. Before she was married, Gina Glocksen was a contestant on “American Idol.”

The tree is their “music tree” — it has a ribbon of musical notes as a decoration and sits in the family’s music room. “We’ll sit in the room and have a few drinks and look at the tree,” she says. “It’s beautiful.”

For families looking to keep their tree, pets and kids intact and safe this holiday season but who aren’t interested in an upside-down tree, Christmas expert and president of Chicago-based Ulta-Lit Tree Company John DeCosmo suggests using wider tree stands for real trees to make them more stable. For artificial trees, DeCosmo suggests screwing them into a piece of plywood for sturdiness.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com