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Published December 16, 2013

Upside Down Christmas Trees: Hot Decorative Trend And Ancient Tradition

Have you ever heard of an upside down Christmas tree? I saw my first one several years ago in a wonderful Greek restaurant in Apex. I was amazed and intrigued. The owners came from the Eastern islands of Greece and told me this tree was their homeland’s custom.

This method of displaying a Christmas tree or Yule is from the medieval times and not a new fad. Although it is becoming more popular. Several stories connect Saint Boniface to the beginnings of the upside-down Christmas tree back in the 700’s.

He lived in Germany at the time and was sent by the pope to convert the pagans. As part of this conversion attempt, the saint cut down a pagan-revered oak tree: Donar’s sacred oak on Mount Guddenburg. When he wasn’t immediately struck by lightening for this transgression, the people were convinced their gods were false. The legend says when the oak fell, a fir tree grew immediately in its place.

RELATED: This Man Lights Up Raleigh: Happyland Christmas Lights, A Historic Tradition.

Through Saint Boniface’s teaching, the new Christians thought of the fir tree as “God’s Trinity Tree,” due to the triangular shape.


First Upside-Down Trees During 12th Century

Upside-down Christmas TreesIn Eastern Europe during the 12th century people began to hang the tree upside from the ceiling. The trees weren’t decorated until about three centuries later.

Decorations included food and fruits to represent abundance, and later nuts, sweets, ribbons, straw figures and colorful paper .

The upside down Christmas tree became a favorite among the Slavic nations.


Upside-Down Trees Easy to Find

These upside down Christmas trees are gaining popularity here in the states. One can purchase various sizes, prelit, and in white, green or gold from Target, Walmart, Home Depot and other stores or, of course, on-line for over $100-400. One gold colored, artificial, 7 foot, pre-lit, upside-down tree cost $849.

They may be hung from the ceiling, suspended with a bracket in the wall or set on a support for the tree’s top to sit.

Some Advantages

There are advantages to using an upside down Christmas tree.

Floor space is saved; fewer ornaments can be broken or played with by pets or children; the tree’s decorations can be placed and enjoyed at eye level; and there is more room for presents.

The one question I didn’t see an answer for was: Where do you put the star or the angel? Any ideas? Add you thoughts to the comments please!

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  • Elaine Estes


  • I love stories and legends, whether they be educational, humourous, silly or touching. I grew up on the fairy tales and later grew to love legends from different times and different cultures. Find other stories and legends from Elaine, by visiting her own blog “joyful2bee“. All my articles.

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