Tinselmania: 73 vintage aluminum Christmas trees

aluminum christmas treeWell, I’m just having a party analyzing all the retro Christmas decorations that readers have uploaded.  How about this one: A special slide show of all 62 73 aluminum Christmas trees. Mini, small, medium, large… Found at the Goodwill, in Aunt Bertha’s attic, or on ebay… Decorated with vintage ornaments, elves, Barbies — even pickles. Above: Steve Conley says his aluminum tree is in the kitchen. Of course, that fireplace, yum, too. Nice photo, Steve, got ya on the homepage. :)

Pom Pom aluminum Christmas treePom Pom seems to have been the big-name manufacturer of aluminum Christmas trees back in the day. Above: Steve got his Pom Pom from his aunt. I own a Pom Pom, too — a Pom Pom for Pam, tee hee — found at an estate sale in Pittsfield a few years back.  I remember the Bingo! moment well. Other names in aluminum trees, which I spotted in your uploads seem to have been Peco, Revlis, Evergleam, Spiral Lit, Raco (Australia). And don’t forget the color wheels — although working vintage models seem to be more elusive finds. Click on through to see all 62 73 –>

Aluminum Christmas tree slide show:

To see the slide show, click on the thumbnail, it will enlarge, then use the arrows just below to move forward or back. You can start or stop the show from any slide.
And safety tip: No electric lights in aluminum trees, plees.

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Comments

  1. vintigchik says

    Mrs. Growbot, your closeup of the ornament on your tree would make a lovely Christmas card. ModShawn, I also love how the ends of the branches flare out on your tree. I am still waiting for my aluminum tree ship to come in. Sadly I have never found one. But I enjoy looking at all of yours. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas. I have been good :)

  2. Joselle says

    Hey, I see my tree up there! We do have a working vintage color wheel in a fabulous white orb shape. Original box for the tree, too! Merry X-Mas!

  3. Annie B. says

    Stunning trees. The sight of them brings back happy memories.

    Pam, you’ll just have to do a post on the vintage pink trees and the vintage white trees and the vintage flocked trees and …….enough, already, right? Just a thought. I am so overflowing with retro-itis at this time of year.

  4. Lauryn says

    Oh, thanks for the sweet, sweet memories everyone! When I was a little girl, for some reason I had my own miniature tree (there were four of us, but I was the only one with her own tree). I’m not sure if it was aluminum, but I am sure that it looked just like the tree at the top of the page. Now it looks like I’m going to have to find me one of those trees!!

  5. says

    Fabulous!
    I will never forget seeing my first aluminium tree in a neighbor’s window when I was a kid, ’68 or ’69. It was sparkly blue, hung w/silver & blue ornamets, swagged by the heavy white curtains in the front picture window. I was in AWE. I’d never seen anything like it. It’s a crazy vivid snap shot I’ve had in my head all these years. :-)

    Love all your tree finds. They’re wonderful!
    dahlila xo

  6. Heather Staas says

    I love these! Almost bought a blue one (new though, not vintage) this year for the new living room. These are beautiful!

  7. TappanTrailerTami says

    Such wonderful trees, I am jealous! I am determined that next year, I too, will have a vintage Christmas tree….Of course I found one I liked this year on eBay, but it is a whopping $450! But very lush and full, and peacock blue aluminum. Wow.

    The other thing I noticed on eBay is all the ceramic Christmas trees that have the little lights in them…..we made those when I was a kid since we had our own ceramic kiln. They sure have gotten pricey too. Vintage is in!

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  8. says

    YAY for metal trees! My grandparents had one, with the color wheel thingy.

    I scored two little ones last year on clearance for $10 at a little shop. Not only were they great for this holiday season, they did a turn at Halloween as Halloween trees, too.

  9. hannah says

    Proud to be a part of the Festival of Aluminum!!!! What a wonderful sight to see!

    As my pic caption says, mine was purchased off eBay from a seller in Canada. I knew it wouldn’t arrive in time for THAT Christmas, but the next year she was all decked out in turquoise and lime green bulbs (in memory of my Dad who was extremely picky about how the aluminum tree was decorated – ONE BULB COLOR ONLY!! lol) That Christmas was true serendipity as everywhere I went I found turquoise and lime green bows, wrapping paper, and decorations. The next year I wanted to do pink and orange bulbs. Finding true orange glass bulbs proved to be a bit too much of a challenge. *sigh*

    Here’s to the past! Thanks to everyone for sharing their pictures. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    hannah

  10. Ann-Marie Meyers says

    I won’t know if I get my aluminum tree until early January. I am bidding on one in an online auction, and the real bidding isn’t even going yet. So far I have it for $5. That won’t last. I am not saying what my top bid is, but it is a lot higher than $5!
    I got a sweet vintage felt tree skirt and a needlepoint one for $25 just last week in another auction. I figure the felt one is worth the price alone.
    Can’t wait to get our tree all finished this year with the vintage ornaments we have and the tree skirt. We are late in decorating, but will leave the tree up until el Seis de Enero (January 6th, the Feast of the Three Kings).

  11. Kelly says

    I begged my grandparents for their aluminum tree when I was 9 years old (along w/their Heywood Wakefield dining trio, frieze sectional sofa, etc. – I just knew they were awesome and I needed to have them when I was older.). When I moved to Seattle after college, my grandpa dug the tree and the color wheel out of the basement, in their original boxes, and handed them over. I even scored one of his old bowling shirts used as “packing material” in with the tree. (still one of the best shirts I own) The furniture followed soon after!

    Years later, when questioned by her other grandkids why I got all the “cool stuff”, my grandma replied: “Because Kelly asked for it years before you guys realized it was worth anything.” I miss her honesty. She loved knowing all of her treasures were going to be cherished in my home. Hopefully, one of my kids will snag the tree on his way to college. :-)

  12. hannah says

    Great story, Kelly – progressive for a 9 yr old I’d say!

    @ Annie – thanks for the tip! I’d have never thought of that as halloween isn’t one of my favorite holidays. Will do!

  13. Victoria says

    Love the trees! My atomic xmas tree in the slide show is also a PomPom in the very same box pictured above. I realized years ago that the perfect tree skirt for an aluminum tree was a piece of silver lamé. I swirl a length of lamé fabric around the base and it looks like silver whipped cream. You can’t really see it my photo very well, unfortunately.

    Also, you can’t see it in the picture, but I have a odd color wheel that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s box says Spartan or sparkler (I’ll have to dig the box out) and is dated 1961. It’s pretty much all metal with 4 round colored glass lenses. Has anyone seen one of these?

  14. says

    I have wanted an aluminum Christmas tree since the first one I saw in the 70’s. My mother was aghast. She tried to tell me how tacky they were. I have been determined ever since. FINALLY this summer I found one at an auction for $20.00. We based our entire Christmas on that tree. Heck yeah, there are pictures (on my blog).

    We don’t have a pure mid-century home, more of a mash up, but Pam thank you so much for all the inspiration! Merry Christmas!

    Smiles,
    Lisa

    • hannah says

      I hear ya Lisa. Our house while probably considered filled with MCM items does in no way ‘make sense’ as some of the settings we see that are pristine and true to the time. We’ve got a mash here going on ourselves…I want it to be more cohesive, but it’ll take time. Pam did an article on my NOS grape lamp kit if you want to see pics. Geeze, maybe 5 months back?

      Glad you got the aluminum tree at such a steal! It’s what makes my Christmas because it’s what my Dad loved so much back in the day.

      hannah

  15. says

    My local (Columbus Ohio) newspaper published an article about a new exhibit highlighting American life in the 1950’s opening next year at the Ohio Historical Society. They are looking for donations of items typical of this slice of time, so of course the first thing I thought of was the wonderful folks on this website. Here’s a video about the exhibit. If you want to donate anything (which will not be returned), respond to:

    collections@ohiohistory.org, or call 614-297-2522.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQP2U2AooJU&feature=channel_video_title

  16. hannah says

    Hi Diane –

    Just watched the video and what a fantastic project! Our (I’m in Maine) Freeport Historical Society had planned an exhibition this Christmas of how people would decorate for the holidays 50 years ago but they cancelled a week prior due to not having enough authentic items. I wrote straight away and offered to loan some of my collections, but never heard back. Such a shame.

    Ohio is doing it on a much grander scale though. Freeport was only going to display a living room, den and kitchen set in the era. I’ll be interested to see the online tour when it’s completed. Thanks for sharing!

    hannah

  17. robin says

    Wow, do I remember this…. My mom got an aluminum Christmas tree one year and that was it. She had it from around 1962 to at least 1975, and I put it together every year after I got old enough. It came with a color wheel light projector to make it look different colors. Each year carefully removing each ‘limb’ from its own protective sleeve, being careful how you hung each ornament so as not to ruin the aluminum, and then carefully re-packing it all after Christmas. Memories.

  18. Sam Owen says

    Thanks for all the great pictures. I have my parents’ 7 foot Pecos aluminum tree bought new at J.C. Penneys in 1964, complete with Holly Time color wheel and rotating stand. I also have my uncles 7 foot Pom Pom tree and colortone roto wheel. I alternate between using these 2 trees every year. Just wouldn’t be Christmas without it!

  19. Derek says

    We never had a metallic tree…and wish I had fond memories of Christmas as a child but my step dad wasn’t a good father.
    Anyway really like the metallic tree’s and found a site selling them, kinda
    Pricey but they seam really nice and well made.

  20. RHONDA says

    :( sooooo sad I had a table top pom pom for years given to me from my Aunt and sadly i had a really bad landlord who would come into our home we rented from him and he would steal stuff from us even though he had lot’s of money ! To this day it makes no sense to me as to why he did it but one of the items he stole was the pom pom in it’s orig. box and i think of it every year at Christmas time and wish i had it back it saddens me that I’ll never have another one :(

  21. susan says

    I JUST LOVE THESE RETRO TREES AND I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO FIND ONE. I WAS JUST TALKING TO MY HUSBAND THAT THOSE TREES WERE REALLY CHRISTMAS FOR ME AS A CHILD. WATCHING THE COLORS ON THE COLOR WHEEL CHANGE AS THAT WENT ROUND AND ROUND.

  22. Jalaine says

    I remember coming home from school to a fountain aluminum tree with a color wheel in a rotating musical stand in the ealry 60’s. Our mother worked at the Aluminum Specialty Co. She was so proud of that tree. Us kids hated it! We would lie on the floor and stare at the patterns the reflecting light would create on the ceiling. Now it seems I can’t keep them in the house! It seems our kids really enjoy the Retro trees.

    • says

      Just want to add that if you love these wonderful trees you should expect to pay the most not for the tree, nor for the color wheel, but for a working rotating tree stand in good condition. If you wish to collect on the premium level, look for a musical stand or an unusual color wheel, and Pam is (as always) correct: the Pom Pom was and remains the premo tree . Haunt eBay for all. The rarest to find are the really tall trees–over 7′. They will set you back a tad but if you have a ceiling high enough they are *spectacular*! And a very aluminum Christmas to all …..

  23. Pat says

    I have to disagree about the value of revolving stands, anyway, for smaller trees. I sold one and only got about $10 out of it.

  24. Laurie Blair says

    We lived with my aunt and uncle until I was 9 and my brother 14 – that was 1965. They had an aluminum tree, silver, with a color wheel that played “Silent Night” very rapidly. We all thought that tree was the cat’s meow, and when we moved they gave it to us to take along. We couldn’t wait to dig it out of the attic and assemble it at Christmas. Naturally, the ornaments were vintage. :-) Eventually the color wheel deteriorated, but we used the tree every year right up until it became more manageable for my parents to have a small tabletop tree. Sadly the ornaments were destroyed by racoons who got in the attic, and THEN I FOUND OUT MY FATHER HAD TAKEN THE TREE TO THE DUMP. It was still in pretty good shape, too. I could cry. But we have lots of photos and lots of wonderful memories of Christmas with our aluminum tree…and that’s what matters!!

  25. Clive says

    I love that aluminum shiny look we had one growing up and I was fascinated how reflective the lights were off the tree. I found a clor wheel a few years back at a flea market in the high Sierra Nevada desert. It was 2 dollars. I couldn’t get my wallet out fast enough. No rust like new the desert is a great place to find metal treasures.

  26. Beth says

    Love these trees. You can find colorful alternatives made today from Treetopia. I’ve had my eye on an orange one for the porch of my pink & purple house. And a fluffy pink one for inside. Sigh, but I have to decide what to get rid of to make space in the basement for off-season storage. Another dream bubble burst by my problem with retro hoarding (and crafts, and tools, and other useful things)

    http://www.treetopia.com/Colorful-Christmas-Trees-s/23.htm

  27. Wynonna says

    Oh my !! My Grandparents had an 8 foot aluminium tree well into the 1970’s……they had the color wheel, and a ton of the large primary colored plastic ornaments (stars, bells and reindeer) I still have some of the plastic ornaments packed away.
    The tree sat packed away in the attic for years, when I asked my grandmother if I could have it she told me that my grandfather had taken it out to the curb the previous year, and darned if it was not gone within 5 minutes……she could not understand why someone would have taken it as she never really cared for it…….

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