Maybe that Christmas tree you saw really is upside down. Upside-down trees are, well, turning the upcoming holiday on its head.
Hammacher Schlemmer can't even keep its $599.95 pre-lit model in stock. It's already sold out.
"We increased the amount we ordered from last year, but ended up selling all of them already," says Joe Jamrosz of Hammacher Schlemmer.
Not to be left behind, Target has three such upside-down trees ($299.99-$499.99) on its website, touting their best attribute: "Leaves more room on the floor for gifts!"
Similar trees are also available at ChristmasTreeForMe.com in the 5-to-7½-foot range ($280-$504).
The artificial trees are hung from the wall or ceiling, or come with a weighted base to provide extra stability to prevent tipping and leaning.
Sheryl Karas, author of The Solstice Evergreen: The History, Folklore and Origins of the Christmas Tree, isn't quite sure what's going on with the resurgence of upside-down trees, a 12th-century tradition in Central Europe.
"But it's the question I get more often than any other on my website," says the Santa Cruz, Calif., author (sherylkaras.com).
Karas believes it's purely a decorative thing this time around, a way to better display ornaments so they don't get lost in the foliage. She doesn't want to put a damper on the holidays, but she suspects "there's something sinister, almost bad, about it."
Because the shape of the tree is symbolic (pointing to heaven), "if they thought about it, they wouldn't turn it upside down," she says.
But enough playing Scrooge. It's the holiday season.
"Many of the people have been using them as their second tree. A novelty," Jamrosz says. "They also find the bigger gifts don't fit under a traditional tree."
Hanging a tree from the ceiling also ensures a smaller footprint for less-spacious areas. You can put it between two closely placed chairs, for instance.
But not everyone is head over heels about the trend. Tree Classics Inc. of Lake Barrington, Ill., claims to be the top seller of artificial Christmas trees on the Internet — up 30% this year alone — but not a one of them is upside down.
"That tree makes no sense to me whatsoever," says Tree Classics president Leon Gamze, who sells 59 styles of upright trees. "I just look at them and laugh." But would he ever join the upside-down trend?
"Never. Wouldn't even consider it."
Probably a good thing. He'll never have to ponder whether to put a star at the top, or bottom, of such a thing.