Remember Those Vintage Aluminum Christmas Trees? Here’s How Much One is Now
The holidays are always a wonderful time to get feeling more nostalgic. There's retro or vintage décor you bring out every year, your favorite movies it just doesn't feel like the holidays without and, of course, your favorite holiday memories you get to tell your family about.
For my dad every year, while we are putting up the family Christmas tree, he brings up these aluminum Christmas trees that came with a color wheel. He says he used to watch it for hours as the colors changed.
Until this year, I had no real idea what he was talking about. That is, until I joined a Mid-Century Modern group on Facebook and now I think I need one too...but it'll cost a pretty penny (or a few hundred pretty pennies).
History of Aluminum Christmas Trees
They are most notably part of the mid-century modern, "atomic age" for their "futuristic" and space-age look. However, the phenomenon of aluminum Christmas trees actually started right here in the Midwest in the late 1950's.
"In 1958, a toy sales manager saw a metal tree in a store window and brought back the idea to his company, Aluminum Specialty Company, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin," Atomic Ranch shares. "The company worked to develop a light, cheap aluminum tree they dubbed 'Evergleam' in time for Christmas in 1959."
Per Atomic Ranch, when these trees really took off in the 60's, they had a price point of just $25 (wait until you see/hear how much they go for now).
However, it is widely believed that "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965 was the reason for the tree's decline in popularity as Atomic Ranch shares the fact Lucy tells Charlie Brown to "get the biggest aluminum tree you can find" but Charlie picks out "the sad, but very real, tree".
It reminded people that Christmas didn't need all the flash and flair and Atomic Ranch says it "doomed the popularity of aluminum trees" and they were virtually non-existent on the market by the 1970's.
A Resurgence of Aluminum Trees?
Of course, the trees have been beloved by vintage fanatics and mid-century modern lovers alike but now, colorful trees and a more "kitschy" and retro aesthetic is making its way back into holiday decor trends.
It is definitely in stark contrast to the minimal, clean-cut, modern or farmhouse styles but is still stylish and nostalgic nonetheless.
While you can get more modern reproductions of aluminum trees, to find a real, vintage, original one, get ready to spend a big chunk of change.
Poking around on Ebay, it looks like the lowest price is around $150 for a two-foot version of the tree.
A fuller, six-foot one could cost even more, especially in good condition and fully-functional:
It comes in the original packaging.
It's well-taken care of with individual wrapping protecting each of the aluminum branches.
It has a functional color wheel (though reproductions and modern-day solutions are available as well).
And it looks like THIS! One this high-quality is listed on Ebay for $595...and that appears to be the standard going rate.
Of course, though, all the memories that come flooding back and the new ones that come with it as you watch your aluminum tree shimmer and glow with each turn of the color wheel.
Safety Tips for Aluminum Trees
Of course, like many vintage items that were all-the-rage, there are some safety precautions to take into account with aluminum trees...like the fact you can't put lights on them (hence the use of the color wheel).
With them becoming increasingly popular again, DTE provided some tips to familiarize yourself with: