Aluminum Christmas Trees
Keeping up with the fashion in the 1950's and 60's required
purchasing an aluminum Christmas tree. Aluminum trees first came into fashion during the holiday season of 1959,
when the first all-aluminum trees went for sale to a (somewhat bemused) public. Sales were moderate the first year,
with shoppers not quite knowing what to make of the gleaming metal attractions; but by the next season the public
was buying them as quickly as they could be manufactured. It is estimated that between 1959 and 1969 sales of the
most popular brand, Evergleam, were in the range of four million trees.
The original metallic color remained the most popular, but before long aluminum trees were being manufactured in every hue of the
rainbow - including white, blue, green, gold, and - most fabulous of all - pink. Because of the dangers
of electrical shock associated with attaching lights to aluminum
trees, color wheel spotlights were manufactured in order to
illuminate them. The colored wheels - which have mesmerized many a child over the years - became a popular entity
unto themselves. Within a few years it was simply unthinkable to own an aluminum tree without one.
Aluminum trees usually were usually decorated
with solid color ornaments.
just as quickly as their popularity soared, public interest in the trees
started to fade, due (supposedly) in large part to a popular television cartoon. The
trees would soon be declared a symbol of the crass commercialism of
Christmas, when, in December of 1965, A Charlie Brown
Christmas first appeared on CBS. The American public seemed to take to heart the
refusal of Charlie Brown to buy as his symbol of the Yuletide season "the
biggest aluminum tree he could find, maybe even painted pink." As early as
1968, most companies stopped listing them in their catalogs.
Today, hopeful collectors will pay a
high price for some of the less common trees, especially in the colors
other than silver. The average selling price for a vintage silver-colored
aluminum tree in good condition is about $15 per foot of height. Expect to
pay a premium price for a pink tree, the rarest of all of the colors
offered. Trees of any color that are especially full, or have the pom-pom
branch ends, will also command a premium price. In December of 2000
reproduction trees began to appear again on the market, and were surprisingly good
sellers. Expect to see more of them offered in future years.