Inverted trees extend the prostitution of Christmas

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Welcome to the new world order. The Christmas season begins in October, Thanksgiving is but a warning flare, and Christmas trees are no longer the conical icons they once were. No, these days, the growing hegemony of holiday season consumerism has propelled an evolution of our time-honored symbol of Christmas.

Many outlets have begun selling ?inverted Christmas trees.? These trees stand at heights comparable to standard trees, with one important difference ? the narrow part is at the bottom, and the wide part is at the top. The trees obviously need to have an attached stand to make sure they don?t fall over ? but the good news is since they?re all artificial, they don?t need to be watered. Some trees, in fact, forgo stands and instead are meant to be hung from the ceiling or wall.

The whole concept of an ?inverted Christmas tree? ostensibly dates back to medieval Europe, where tradition often dictated hanging a tree from the ceiling. How they managed that in the days before duct tape I?ll never know, but sources say that was the way things were done. This modern resurgence of the upside-down tree, however, is pretty much universally acknowledged to be rooted in retailer attempts to save space.

Since the base of the inverted Christmas tree is much smaller than that of a standard tree, it?s easy for them to fit into spaces that normal trees would never be able to go. Two or three trees can fit on a display floor in some big department store with products under and between them; this wouldn?t be possible with the standard tree. This way, we as consumers will have more stuff to ogle as we wander through the ever-expanding Christmas displays.

According to most marketing pages, another big advantage of inverted Christmas trees is that it?s a lot easier to decorate them with ornaments. As if things hadn?t gotten absurd enough, with people spending a hundred dollars or more on collectible, rare, or otherwise expensive trinkets, now we have an even more grandiose way of showing off our material wealth in celebration of our great commercial holiday. With an inverted tree, ornaments hang off the branches, exposed to all because they hang below the foliage they are attached to instead of resting on top of whatever is beneath, as they would on a standard Christmas tree.

These inverted Christmas trees aren?t real ? they require no attention, no watchful eye making sure they are getting enough water and not shedding needles like a sick cat sheds fur. These trees will last forever, and it?s a damn good thing they will; inverted trees can cost upwards of $600. How does that sound ? $600 for something you?ll pull out for a few weeks every year? Six hundred dollars that you can spend to offer you and your family more floor space, an easier time hanging ornaments, and giving you more room to put your already-expensive presents under the tree?

Oh, yes, that?s the other thing ? these upside-down Christmas trees are advertised as being great for creating more room under the tree for presents. I, personally, find it very reassuring that corporate America has our own best interests at heart. Goodness, I?m just not sure what I?d do if I had more presents than I could fit under a tree. I?d have to have Christmas two days in a row just to get everything opened!

Somewhere along this bizarre journey that we call American history we?ve gotten terribly, horribly confused. Yeah, we?ve all heard the rant that Christmas has become nothing but one big commercial spending orgy. This is not news. The fact that it isn?t news is shocking on its own, but it?s something that we?re going to have to accept for the time being. No, the fact that Christmas is just an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars on our loved ones, liked ones, and barely tolerated ones is not what?s so terrifying about these inverted trees.

It?s the fact that they?re killing one more Christmas tradition when we have so few left. Artificial Christmas trees are already becoming immensely popular, and that?s taking away one of the last remaining Christmas traditions that had become uncorrupted. My family still goes out to the local parking-lot Christmas tree sale every year and pulls in a huge Douglas fir, one that barely fits in the back of our van and sure as hell doesn?t fit through our front door without losing a quarter of its needles. And we probably don?t spend more than $70 on it. We put the tree up and decorate it as a family with our stock of lights and ornaments that we?ve had for ten or fifteen years. For us, the tree is all about family, and even when we spend a majority of our Christmas holiday away from our home visiting relatives, we still buy that tree, decorate it as a family, and keep it watered and green.

I hope that the analysts are wrong, and that these inverted, artificial trees are just a fluke, a blip on the radar of the national consciousness that will go away like a bad dream. I really want to believe that making it easier to hang our ornaments and opening up precious cubic feet to stack mountains of handily gift-wrapped consumerism is not one of the guiding values of the American public. I suppose we?ll have to wait and see. Merry Christmas, everyone.