Manager Josh Shortell explains the tradition of the upside down Christmas tree hanging from the rafters inside the Snapper Inn in Oakdale. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Trying to prepare for the holidays while juggling everything else in our daily lives can make the world seem topsy-turvy, but some people are intentionally turning things upside down this Christmas.

Inverted trees are among the most popular of a growing number of unconventional artificial Christmas trees being sold in stores that are turning the concept of one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday on its head. Other untraditional styles are whimsical trees that curve at the top, trees made in a rainbow design, patriotic red, white and blue trees, black, red or hot pink trees, and stylish trees made in mannequin silhouettes perfect for the fashionista.

You can shop the trend this year at dozens of stores on Long Island including Hicks Nurseries in Westbury, Target, Walmart, Michaels, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Big Lots, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Joann Fabric and Crafts. And some of these trees are lower in price or about the same price as their traditional counterparts — especially with all the great holiday sales around this year.

Lowe’s 5.5-foot pre-lit mannequin tree with pine cones and plaid...

Lowe’s 5.5-foot pre-lit mannequin tree with pine cones and plaid bow, $169. Credit: Lowe's/Lowe's

“There certainly are a growing number of looks for Christmas trees,” says Nancy Lupo, CEO and creative director of the Deer Park-based Interior Design by Nancy. She has done interior Christmas decoration in the homes of Long Island clients. She says she's found, as of late, clients are “willing to go a little crazier with their decorating; they’re decorating all around, and their seasonal decorating is more pronounced.”

An unconventional tree is a great conversation piece, others say, and an upside-down tree in particular can elevate the Christmas tree — literally.

“Personalization has been a growing trend for the past few years and that idea has been extended to Christmas trees; and the growth of social media has definitely fueled the desire for customers to share their creativity with a broad audience,” says Melissa Mills, Michaels’ senior vice president of merchandising.

Mills notes the store began selling upside-down and bent Santa hat trees last year, and because of the increasing demand for upside-down trees the store now offers 20 styles. They come in different sizes and shapes, and colors include Champagne and white in addition to green.

On Instagram, #upsidedownchristmastree is filled with photos and videos of these trees decorated beautifully in homes, businesses and public spaces such as malls around the world, with many suspended from a ceiling. Ariana Grande and Kourtney Kardashian are among those who have hung theirs from above, and locally, Hicks Nurseries in Westbury and The Snapper Inn in Oakdale have been ahead of the trend. They have had upside-down Christmas trees as part of their holiday decorations for years.

Inverted Christmas trees, which stores typically sell with stands for display on a floor, started attracting interest after 2017 when Karl Lagerfeld designed Claridge’s upside-down tree in Mayfair, London. But the inverted Christmas tree’s history goes back much further.

“Christmas trees date to a legend about St. Boniface’s evangelization of Germanic people in the 8th century, when he destroyed an oak tree they considered holy, planted a fir in its place, and used its triangular shape to preach about the Trinity, Christianity’s three-in-one idea of God,” says Julie E. Byrne, the Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman chair in Catholic Studies at Hofstra University. “Some versions of the legend say he cut down the fir, hung it upside down, and preached about the Trinity in that way.” She adds, “While the vast majority of Christians still position their trees upright, there are long-standing traditions of upside-down trees.”

Kerry Blanchard, general manager of The Snapper Inn, says an approximately 5-foot artificial topsy-turvy Christmas tree has been hung from the ceiling beams in its Connetquot River dining room during the holidays for about 30 years. She notes the establishment’s owners, Richard and Kathleen Remmer, are German. Blanchard adds diners ask to be seated near the tree and they love taking pictures of it. The Snapper Inn reserves its larger, 12-foot traditional Christmas tree, for the main dining room.

“The owners came from the Eastern European area and that’s their heritage,” to have an inverted Christmas tree, Blanchard says.

As is the case with The Snapper Inn, Lupo says unconventional trees can be a “fun” second tree in homes.

The upside-down Christmas tree turns heads at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury...

The upside-down Christmas tree turns heads at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury on Nov. 9. Credit: Linda Rosier

Over at Hicks, there have been upside-down Christmas trees put up as decoration on and off for years, but this year is the first the store is selling them as well. Customers can order a 7-foot tree for $699 and receive it within three to five days.

Karen Musgrave, Hicks’ marketing and e-commerce associate, says inverted Christmas trees can be practical as well as very striking in a home. She says they are space-savers in areas where there isn’t a lot of room for a tree that’s wide at the bottom, and she adds that less tree below means less ornaments that can be knocked off by kids or pets.

“I think they are definitely a conversation starter,” Musgrave says of the upside-down trees. “We’ve used them in our displays for many years and when customers see them they light up, so we thought, why not make them available for sale?”

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