Many thanks to readers who spotted the caution — Do not hang electric lights on aluminum Christmas trees — on the website about vintage Christmas lights. With some additional research, I uncovered a news release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission — CPSC Announces Holiday Season Decorating Tips — that also warned of the potential for electrical hazards when you combine metallic Christmas trees with electric lights:
-Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
The CPSC news release has a list of all kinds of other issues to check for when decorating for the holidays.
Seems that aluminum is a conductor of electricity, so if you put electric lights on it, you have the necessary ingredients to create shock and/or fire. So take notice – and take care! The smart — and easy — thing to do with vintage aluminum trees: Hang ornaments…and use a color wheel. In fact, it seems that color wheels were devised to get right around the electric-hazard issue of stringing lights onto aluminum.
This is an opportune time for me to remind readers that on this blog, I do not generally allow readers to offer safety or environmental advice. I advise folks to empower themselves consulting with pros/experts regarding their own particular situation. This precaution regarding aluminum Christmas trees and electric lights, though, is validated on a government website, so I thought it would be of value to readers, many of whom may have aluminum trees, which only seem to grow and grow as a desired collectible. See our Be Safe/Renovate Safe page for more info.
Relatedly, the U.S. Fire Administration has a page on holiday fires and other pages on other home-safety issues when it comes to fire prevention.