One of my absolute favorite things to nerd out on is history. You could say anything like spoon, door, or — oh, I dunno, Christmas tree — and I would find a fun way to bring up silly facts from a billion and two years ago that would no doubt astound you. So, when I heard that online vendors are selling upside-down Christmas trees for prices ranging between $250 and whopping $1,000 (such as this one from Target), I couldn’t help but to do some digging about why this trend might be striking a chord with folks.
I didn’t have to do much digging. It turns out that those upside-down Christmas trees are actually a very old tradition dating back to the 15th century in Eastern Europe. According to The Spruce, “In days gone by, and to some extent today, Poles in southern Poland — Silesia, Podhale, Sącz region, and Kraków — hung a spruce tree upside down from the ceiling in a central position of the home and decorated doorways and walls with separate boughs of the same tree.”
Not only that, but these cool decorations were called podlazniczek, and they included imaginative additions such as fruits and nuts, candy, and your basic wreath-making adornments like ribbons and anything shiny and attractive. You know, fun holiday tree ornaments. Families would hang these amazingly ornate decorations over their dinner tables on Christmas Eve (unlike me, the day after Thanksgiving and totally right-side up, and in the living room corner covered in electric lights and crazy decorations — but whatever, I digress.)
The other advantage to upside-down lights, for those who are not as excited about nerdy historical context like I am, is the fact that you can have a huge tree fully decked out for the holidays without taking up much space. Seriously. If you live in a small apartment or a tiny house (or my house for that matter) then you know that floor space is precious real estate and that a tree takes up a huge amount of it.
Like most folks, I have fairly limited space and have been known to shave off a few branches in order to press the tree up against a wall to save a few feet of square footage. Martha Stewart knows what I’m talking about. Last year, she delighted the holiday shopping market with her half tree that you basically nail into a wall to enjoy the full view of a lit-up tree – but without having to sacrifice valuable space.
However, you look at it, the upside-down tree may be a bit of a confounding thing to behold. But when you stop to think about it, not only does it carry hundreds of years of tradition with it, but it also provides a very real and much appreciated element of space saving. And who doesn’t love that?!