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Upside down Christmas trees?! What’s happened to traditional decorations?

Christmas decorations

Every year a new fad-decoration appears for the Christmas season and this year is no exception. So as Christmas is nearly here, it seems the perfect time to ask what decs have you picked this year?

A few weeks ago, we asked if November was too early to talk all things tinsel and almost 50% of you said that you put your decorations up in early December.

Every year I see weird and wonderful suggestions for Christmas decorations, including a giant inflatable Santa in a helicopter (what happened to his sleigh?). However, I think this year may have outdone itself on the unusual scale.

Unusual decorations

I introduce to you all… the upside down Christmas tree!

The upside down Christmas tree is certainly different from the traditional, more natural version and I’m not convinced I could opt for this topsy-turvy tree. Where do you put the presents?

But if you’re looking for something more understated, but nonetheless unusual, you could always opt for a peacock feathered wreath to adorn your front door. Fake and real feather varieties are available.

Bored of decorating the house with plain old fairy lights, or even upside down trees? You could always decorate yourself. No, not just with a Christmas jumper (although I do love a good festive cardigan), you can now get baubles for your beard!

These unique Christmas ornaments have been around for a little while now but seem to get better with every year. Unfortunately, the beard isn’t included so you’ll need to already have one ready to take advantage of them.

Christmas traditions

I’m not one to shy away from alternative Christmas decorations, and in my house we have our fair few.

Just a few years ago, on Christmas Eve, we opened our box of decorations to find the angel had taken a tumble and was now in four pieces. We tried to glue her together but she just didn’t look the same, and it was too late to get a new one to stand proudly on top of the tree, so we were stumped.

Desperately, we searched the house for another Christmas mascot and found a yellow, knitted, egg warmer in the shape of a duck. From that year until this year he has sat proudly on top of our tree.

Do you have any unusual Christmas decorations? Have you got an unusual decoration that’s become a Christmas tradition? Would you buy an upside down tree?

Comments
Member

I’m not so keen on an upside down Christmas tree, but wonder if it’s useful for those who don’t have a lot of space? I’d say my decorations are fairly traditional, apart from the Christmas elephants that hang on the tree – these were gifts from a fellow elephant fan🐘 🎅

Member

Private Eye has a witty but rude “Christmas trees of the Third Reich” on P20 of the current issue. I couldn’t print it here.

Black Christmas trees were on offer a couple of years ago – that seemed a bit off the festive spirit.

We are conventional, with a fresh 6′ tree each year, but standing outside on the patio. The challenge is to engineer the support structure to withstand the inevitable windy gusts. It looks nice with the curtains open, and leaves more space in the lounge.

Is that a relative of Brian the Blessed in the bauble beard?

Member

Buy a live tree and use a heavy pot!

Member

I hope the upside-down Christmas tree was artificial because it’s a bit of an insult to trees to turn them upside down.

I don’t think I have any odd Christmas decorations. When I cleared my late parents’ house I disposed of most of their decorations but kept a small glass ball in the shape of a walnut, which I remember from my early childhood. It’s insignificant and showing its age, rather like its present owner.

Member

I believe they are artificial. The ‘trick’ to it is that the tip of the tree is on a base (similar to a traditional one) so I think it would only work if it is artificial so the base can be specially made. I did overhear someone talking about them and they asked if you’re supposed to glue the tree to the ceiling 🙈

Member

I was unaware of the popularity of upside-down trees. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAfSmwynSLU

Member

Only in America! Are you expected to unwrap your Christmas presents standing on your head! Or maybe hanging from the chandelier 🙂

Member

I don’t know, but at least there is more space for presents round the tree, unless you are supposed to stick them to the ceiling.

Member

I would hazard a guess the whole thing is a very subtle promotional exercise for inverted Scotch Tape.

Member

My main concern was for people who have cats. I always hear of stories where the cat has toppled the tree, surely that is more likely to happen if it’s top heavy! 🤔

Member

As we are now celebrating commercial and advertising success and a Disney world figure to “worship ” I dont care how odd Xmas decorations are. To put artificiality and possessions on a spiritual level is , I suppose , par for the course now and to get indignant about it is plain daft. Do you put Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck on a higher “plain ” speaks volumes for the level of society now. Unmoved by it all. Shopper after shopper, member of the public after member of the public I speak to say- it doesn’t FEEL like Christmas ( only xmas ) . With “Jingle Bells ” playing in Tesco it sounded more like Jingle Change at the check-out. I have to compliment the staff though very helpful and mannerly.

Member

So how do you decorate your home for Christmas, Duncan?

Member

NON PC John and my wife agrees with me .

Member

What does that mean, exactly?

Member

Exactly the opposite of what is now portrayed on commercial media Ian.

Member

Have you joined the PC Brigade now then, Duncan? Personally I think Christmas decorations are Perfectly Correct having been used in this country in some shape of form continuously from time immemorial.

Anyway, I hope you and your wife can still enjoy a very merry Christmas.

Member

No John I was meaning the reason we celebrate it You know I am not politically correct .

Member

So, Duncan, you sit in an unheated house, eating bread and water, muttering ‘humbug’ and resolutely refusing to send or accept presents? After all, commercial media is about consuming.

Member

I am sure Duncan has a much more enjoyable time than you give him credit for, Ian. What you have mentioned are just the highlights.

Member

😅 😂 🤣

Wonderful!

Member

I don’t particularly like the commercialisation of Christmas any more than, it seems, duncan does, but I can live with it. I see many people spending money on things others really do not need, paying inflated prices for Christmas parties of dubious quality, destroying forests to send cards and wrap presents, throw away masses of uneaten food, shutting down industry and reducing productivity, ………but people are entitled to run their own lives in the way they choose. And it seems to boost the economy. I fall victim to the celebrations though, although this year we are restricting giving presents to the young family members as the rest have most of what they need (apart from mrs r’s kettle – shhhhh!).

6 Christmas trees and thousands of lights might be seen as depriving the world of energy and contributing to global warming, but life is for living.

There are many complaints about people who are on their own at Christmas – some from choice, many not. It would be nice to have a matchmaking site where local people could be put in touch with each other to join forces on the day.

Member

Your right John Christmas has a spiritual meaning to me because you could feel the atmosphere of a”togetherness ” of the people and a feeling of charity . That’s gone now , its down to what you believe in . I don’t have a problem with profit or commercial gain or capitalism its what its become that I don’t like . Greed , avarice, double dealing are the name of the game now . Get as much as you can out of the public –by any means . Never has a US saying been m,ore apt-never give a sucker an even brake .But not all society is in a downward spiral – strangely many of the organisation I support and belong to are run by young people from round the world as well as the UK and all religions , they can see reality so the Spirit of the “Aquarian Age ” we are now into isn’t dead. Its the young people who speak out and act as old guys like me can only talk .I think society should be more honest people now expect gifts and the media in this country has banned any sort of “Spirit ” only celebrating the spirit of fine malt single whiskey and the spirit of unbridled free enterprise .

Member

We have reined in our Christmas displays since moving five years ago. We now just have one six-foot indoor Christmas tree and no outdoor ones. The Christmas tree is covered in little multi-coloured lights and a few baubles. There are a few ornaments around plus the cards on various surfaces, and that’s it. It looks OK though and creates a cheery impression.

I have noticed that people seem to have toned down the amount Christmas decoration and gone for more long-lasting features. The number of houses festooned with icicle lights has reduced dramatically, together with the other rather tatty and ostentatious light shows. There are still a few houses that go right over the top with complete coverage of the house and garden and have a collecting box for charitable donations. I am glad there are none next door to us because spectators go in droves to see these Santa Spectaculars.

Member

We always used to refer to glass balls and the name ‘bauble’ has a negative connotation to me. Maybe it’s because modern plastic ones don’t look as nice.

Member

Didn’t it come from the world of fashion – as in “baubles, bangles and beads”? This is the title of a song in the musical Kismet but I guess a bauble is some kind of extravagant costume decoration that migrated to the Christmas tree.

In my childhood the tree ornaments were called ‘glass balls’ and some of them were very intricate with a concave face in a contrasting colour. Filled with nostalgia for these decorations we thought of buying some new hand-made glass ones the other day . . . until we saw the prices.

Member

I remember the glass balls that were not ball-shaped, but being fragile, none have survived, whereas the curvature of spheres helps the round ones survive falls and other minor abuse. Having mentioned the price of glass balls to a friend I have been given a box of sixteen glass balls bearing the brand name ‘St Michael’ (patron saint of wooly jumpers) to add to my collection.

Decorating a Christmas tree is not as much fun as it used to be, but I don’t think I will go down the route of pre-decorated trees, either upside-down or in normal orientation.

According to Wikipedia: “The Bauble Shop is a play by Henry Arthur Jones. It is about modern London life. It opened at the Criterion Theatre in the West End in 1893.”

Member

“baubles, bangles and beads”? This is the title of a song in the musical Kismet” And the song was an adaptation of Borodin’s Prince Igor – specifically the dances of the Handmaidens. Borodin – as did most Russian composers – had a wonderful grasp of melody and wrote some stunning material, which Hollywood was only too happy to steal.

Member

Yes, Ian – I have always been a lover of his symphonies. Some fabulous music emerged from Russia before and during the Soviet era but it rarely gets performed in this country. We have a lot to thank film and TV for in cultural development. Don’t forget, there were a lot of Russians in Hollywood and performing in America during the inter-war years.

Member

I’ve cut down a lot this year, and we now only have six trees; one Noble Fir, which we either cut ourselves or get a friend to cut, and which is kept watered throughout the season, and five artificial and smaller trees. One sits outside on the chalet veranda, and the tree, chalet, garage and drives are lit with LEDs on timers.

The top garden is also lit – one fir is smothered with LEDs and the bowered trellis gateway is outlined with Red LEDs. We used to light the entire East facing boundary hedge, but that took 3 x 40m lengths of lights and was simply too time consuming. It’s a long hedge…

Inside, it takes around 80 sets of lights to achieve a modest level of twinklyness and it does, when finished, look very pretty. But although we do take care to source the tree baubles from Germany, Austria and New York we don’t invest in any ‘novel’ baubles. Most are hand painted and sadly, once broken tend to be irreplaceable – which is a snag with regard to really nice hand-painted baubles.

Member

I imagine you must be visible from space Ian 🙂 Santa no doubt will have no trouble in finding you on Christmas Eve. I trust the hot toddies and mince pies are all ready lined up in readiness for his visit. 🙂

Member

A bit like a festive version of the Great Wall of China 🙂 I really enjoy lights; I think we need them at this time of the year.

Member

I think it sounds magical! We have a tree with the usual decorations, a wreath, bits of tinsel and small singing Santa. We also have two Christmas ties which my Granddad would wear, so we hang them in the living room. Not as Christmas-y as yours, Ian! 🙁

Member

Like the ties touch, Alex. That’s nice.

Member

There seems to be some people who get any stupid idea taken up by the media and other bodies that can influence others one or two follow than many more just than follow like sheep Back to brainwashing again maybe /

Member

An upside down tree would be punkish (in the positive sense), like an upside down cross, if it weren’t the latest ultra commercial gimmick – not that Punk wasn’t commercially exploited, and early on at that.

Member

I really do not see the point of an upside down tree.

Member

Hi Philip, I’m still struggling with the idea as well! Do you have any decorations that might be considered unusual?

Member

I think Philip was being ironical, Alex. You might have missed ‘the point’ [as it’s at floor level].

Member

Sorry John, but irony was not in my mind. I suppose it was a pointed remark?
No Alex, nothing unusual. I did have one or two special items, but lost them during a divorce/annulment, and left it at that on the ‘clean break’ principle. We tend to use artificial trees these days, simply for convenience, particularly in South Africa if we are there for Christmas. I personally prefer the real thing, but leave decorational matters to my wife, who is talented in that field. We both enjoy (in either country) the efforts of those who put up external decorations: a street called Lawley Street in Pretoria is famous for its decorations – and it spreads a little each year to neighbouring streets, and to other areas. Provided the electricity supply can cope (and we have moved into a period of excess capacity in SA) I like it, unless it becomes competitive, which is not a Christmas spirit to my mind. I remember a film on that subject in the UK some years ago, which was amusing.

In the UK a local garden centre used to supply logs with a hole in as part of the deal, and turned the end of the tree to fit. This gave a good base for stabilising the tree, a perennial problem in the 77 Christmases I have enjoyed or on occasion endured! The war years with Dad far away were non events really, but when he got back we built up things a bit. Presents tended to be home made (courtesy of a carpenter uncle), but none the worse for that. Dinky toys were strictly for export in the post war years, and lights were the somewhat dangerous candles, with fires a real risk. The latest types are much better from that point of view: we use battery powered ones. The wonders of LEDs!

Yes Christmases are more spectacular these days, and we do enjoy externally decorated homes in all countries. But the enforced simplicity of my younger days had its attractions. It is important to remember what it is all about. Pointless gimmicks (deliberate this time John!) are not the point of it all (again!!).

A f(a)ir point John? Got to go and spruce the house up a bit now that you have shown me the light John.

Member

Thank you, Philip – I enjoyed reading your comment. Have a good Christmas.

Member

🙈🙈 Ooops, I didn’t even get the pun – whether Philip intended it or not. I think the excitement for Christmas has gone to my head.

I actually prefer homemade presents, but I’m not very creative so I can’t make anyone anything 🙁 (well not anything they’d actually want)

Member

I understand that it is a space saver but I would rather have no tree than this. This year one can even get a half tree to stand in a tight space