Upside-down Christmas trees offer unique alternative

Ryan Carpe

December 11, 2013

GREENVILLE – While many enjoy hanging more traditional decorations for the holiday season, Greenville residents Dave and Karen Niley family cherish one very unique decoration at home: their upside-down Christmas tree.

Lately the inverted Christmas tree is becoming more and more common, as many have recognized its playful yet practical applications.

According to a report from National Public Radio, the popularity of upside-down Christmas trees are due to a retailer’s trick to gain more floor space for products and to allow consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in stores, and the unique layout caught on.

Many large national retailers are now stocking inverted Christmas trees, including Home Depot, Wal-Mart and JC Penney.

The Niley’s irregular Christmas tree arose for practical reasons.

After preparing for five great-grandchildren and a new kitten during the holiday season four years ago, the Nileys reasoned that their house space wouldn’t provide enough space.

“I looked at her and said, ‘Where are we going to put this Christmas tree?,” said Dave Niley.

Karen Niley, his wife, replied that the only safe place would be on the ceiling.

The rest was history, and the family has enjoyed their practical yet unorthodox Christmas tree ever since.

Upside-down Christmas trees are typically used because of their small floor footprint, as they make space for extra decorations, seating, or even larger gifts that don’t fit under a traditional tree. But they also can keep ornaments at a more pleasing eye level.

“Somebody would’ve had to give up their place to sit in order for us to have a tree. And we decided it took up too much space,” said Karen. “And so this one just hangs there.”

And if families have small children, they can avoid the trouble of keeping fragile or sharp ornaments out of their reach. And those with cats and dogs won’t have to worry about decorations and ornaments being torn apart during playtime.

Later as members of the Niley family saw the upside-down Christmas tree, they suggested additions like presents “hanging” under the tree.

The next year, the Niley’s pastor stopped over and placed an upside-down Nativity scene to accompany the decorations.

And in doing so, they family has introduced the upside-down Christmas tree tradition to a whole new generation.

“The great grand-kids don’t know any better,” said Karen.

“It’s been upside-down ever since they’ve been coming,” added Dave.

Now, Dave is considering building an upside-down train set, but he’s still trying to figure out the logistics.