Christmas tree trend go­ing vi­ral

In­verted pine stunt, how­ever, comes with a steep price tag

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - LIFE - CAS­SAN­DRA SZKLARSKI

TORONTO — For those who like to up­end hol­i­day tra­di­tions, this trend is for you: the up­side down Christmas tree.

This sea­son, so­cial me­dia is rife with pho­tos of in­verted pines and firs that are adorn­ing ho­tel lob­bies, shop­ping cen­tres and down­town atri­ums with grav­ity-de­fy­ing drama.

It’s a sure­fire show­stop­per for re­tail­ers ea­ger to at­tract shop­pers, but the over-the-top stunt is now mak­ing its way into some liv­ing rooms, with sev­eral re­tail­ers of­fer­ing up kits for the home dec­o­ra­tor will­ing to try some­thing dif­fer­ent.

But these trendy in­verted trees aren’t cheap.

Most cost more than $200, although prices range from $60.99 for a mod­est three-foot (91.1-cen­time­tre) model to $1,299.99 for a 7.5foot (2.3-me­tre) pre-lit ver­sion.

Cal­gary sa­lon owner Dave Richards says he’s think­ing about a purchase for next year, not­ing he al­ready put up his Christmas tree sev­eral weeks ago, be­fore he saw the lat­est trend.

“I’m in the mar­ket for one at the end of this Christmas sea­son if they go on sale — if any are left,” says Richards, who is known as Deva Dave to his clients and friends.

“In terms of space ... it al­lows for more move­ment at the lower base of it. It’s def­i­nitely a con­ver­sa­tion piece more than any­thing else and I think most peo­ple when they’re pur­chas­ing some­thing like that it’s be­cause they are hop­ing to make the cor­ner of their home a lit­tle bit more in­ter­est­ing for guests and all that.

“Is it weird? Hell yes. Very much so.”

Richards sus­pects such a tree would be a good fit for his down­town hair sa­lon, where he is a stylist and wig re­tailer who caters to can­cer pa­tients and peo­ple in the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity.

But at home, he says he’s very much a tra­di­tion­al­ist, with this year’s decor of balls, bells and an­gels driven by a white-and-sil­ver theme. He also doubted his four-year-old son would ap­prove of a non-tra­di­tional tree.

“There are things that kids like (and) he wants his tree just ‘so.’ He’s fussy,” says Richards, ad­mit­ting he’d oth­er­wise con­sider a flashier dis­play since he some­times wel­comes clients to his home and of­ten en­ter­tains friends and fam­ily.

A nine-foot Christmas tree hangs up­side down in the ho­tel lobby of the Fair­mont Van­cou­ver Air­port and it cer­tainly seems to be a hit with guests and passersby, says mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist Kate Fran­cois.

It’s the sec­ond year in a row they’ve flipped their cen­tre­piece, which is fes­tooned with mini pass­ports, planes, suit­cases and hand­painted blue and gold globes.

“We’ve had a ton of in­ter­est, ac­tu­ally. We’ve had a few peo­ple come in just specif­i­cally for that, they weren’t even stay­ing at the ho­tel but they wanted to come and pho­to­graph it,” Fran­cois says.

It’s cer­tainly not for ev­ery­one, says in­te­rior de­signer Jane Lock­hart, who set up an up­side down tree for a com­mer­cial re­tail dis­play a cou­ple of years ago. But she adds that the trees do seem to be part of a broader trend of more rad­i­cal home de­sign, pos­si­bly fu­elled by so­cial me­dia.

Af­ter a year of dis­turb­ing head­lines that at times felt like the world was warp­ing into an al­ter­nate uni­verse, an up­side down tree might be just what some peo­ple need, adds Richards.

“It’s a fin­ger up at the es­tab­lish­ment of mak­ing (Christmas) so com­mer­cial,” he says.

But then again, many peo­ple find com­fort in fa­mil­iar rit­u­als when times are tough, he muses. “There are prob­a­bly hip­sters who think it’s a great idea and it’s fun and funky,” he says. “But the tra­di­tion of go­ing to the lot and buy­ing a tra­di­tional tree ... peo­ple still want that.”

DAR­RYL DYCK/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

An up­side down Christmas tree is seen sus­pended from the ceil­ing at the Fair­mont Van­cou­ver Air­port ho­tel in Rich­mond, B.C., on Mon­day De­cem­ber 4, 2017.

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