The Aluminum Christmas Tree

I remember back in the early 1960s when aluminum Christmas trees with their spinning colored projection wheel were popular. I remember how sparkly and pretty and different they were.  I think just about everyone had one back then. And we did, too. It was exciting to have that ultra-modern Christmas tree sitting in front of our living room window and it was mesmerizing to watch the tree change colors as the wheel slowly turned.

I think this is the only photo I have of that tree, taken in about 1962 at a Farm Bureau Council dinner that was held at my parents’ home. I see that my mom had silver ornaments on the silver tree. I think one year she put turquoise ornaments on it.

Christmas c1962, L to R: ?. Florence Miller, Donna Caffee, Homer Carr, Vernon Caffee, Rita & Bob Humbert, Fred Miller.

Christmas c1962, L to R: ?. Florence Miller, Donna Caffee, Homer Carr, Vernon Caffee, Rita & Bob Humbert, Fred Miller.

We found that same old vintage tree when we cleaned out the attic at my parents’ home last summer. There it was, in a box, likely its original box, each branch carefully wrapped in its paper sleeve. That was the way my mom cared for her things. She packed just about everything back into its original box, just like it came from the store. Packed carefully away until it was time to get it out and use it again.

Vintage aluminum Christmas Tree. (2016)

Vintage aluminum Christmas Tree. (2016 photo)

Vintage aluminum Christmas tree. 2016

Vintage aluminum Christmas tree. (2016 photo)

I did not look all the way to the bottom of the box to see if the colored light wheel was there, too. It may have been because we did not find it anywhere else. Or it may have broken and been discarded years ago.

Are these trees making a comeback? I still see them in a house or store window occasionally.

Amazon has aluminum trees for sale and some are described as Mid-Century Modern. They were certainly from that era. Today’s full sized aluminum trees range from $230-$300 on Amazon. Some are full, others spindly, and they come in a range of heights. The color wheel is $40. One of their trees is lighted! I remember the warnings NOT to string electric lights on them. That electrical shock warning always worried me.

No, I did not keep that aluminum tree. We decided early on, while going through things at their house, that we just could not possibly keep everything. And we sure did not need another Christmas tree at our house. Instead, I took photos of the items we could not keep. I have the photos and the memories. Someone else can cherish and enjoy these things now, as they give them new life and make their own memories.


1 comment

    • Judy Edmonds on December 11, 2016 at 4:41 pm
    • Reply

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading the memories. We had a tree like that also. Always caused static on our tv, when we would plug in the color wheel. I graduated from high school in 1963 and it was not in my parents house, when we cleared it out. I have seem people looking for that kind of tree in the want ads, here in Omaha. Thanks for the memories!

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