Friday, November 17, 2023

F ³: In the Upside Down

 No, I haven’t watched Stranger Things. Yes, I have heard the expression that sprang from the show, of being “In the Upside Down.” Apparently it refers to an alternate parallel universe.

Certainly I felt I had entered the Upside Down last evening when I saw this advert from Michael’s.

What the heck? They are selling upside down Christmas trees. I don’t know which is worse, an upside down tree or the fact that this isn’t even new this year (I Googled it). Am I the only person who did not know this was a trend? Where has this been hiding? There’s an entire Pinterest account created in 2016 dedicated to Upside Down Christmas Trees.

What does it mean to have an upside down Christmas tree? here’s everything to know about the origin, Olivia Muenter, Woman’s Day, December 2021

I’m a bit dubious about the upside down Christmas tree’s supposed historical/religious roots:

Though no one seems to know for sure how this particular tradition entered mainstream Christmas decorations, there are a few theories. According to an article on The Spruce, the upside-down Christmas tree dates back to the eighth century, during which a famous saint hung a tree upside down as a way to represent the Holy Trinity. Therefore, it has religious significance.

Whether or not the anecdote is accurate, the tree in question probably wouldn’t have been a Christmas tree, whose beginnings were in Germany and the custom later popularized by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in England. This feels to me rather like the Christmas tree pickle ornament craze, which was sold to unsuspecting Americans as a tradition with historical roots (again, in Germany) but may actually have been nothing more than a clever marketing scheme.

I have a vague memory of the story of a Baltimore restaurant at the corner of 25th and N.Charles which had an upside down Christmas tree hanging over the bar. Year round. Never saw it. Always wanted to. Now the restaurant is no more, alas.

Articles about this new holiday trend point out that it has the advantage of taking up less floor space. That may be true, but what about the presents? Do you suspend them from the ceiling?

Certainly you may have your Christmas tree anyway you like it, or have no tree at all. Obviously if you don’t celebrate Christmas you are free from the whole kit and caboodle. Last year we never got around to putting up our retro aluminum tree and ended up with a holiday floor lamp. And Christmas came just the same.

And so, while we’re adding “the upside down” to the Christmas canon, I’d like to make a suggestion.

You never know…

What about you? Do you fancy the new upside down look for the holidays? If you’re a fan of the off-beat and quirky, may I suggest this new twist on holiday traditions? 

Village Green/Town² Comments

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