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The Aluminum Christmas tree. Love it or hate it? Now with Color Wheels!!!

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After putting up our tree last night I got to thinking about how many TC'ers have these classic artificial beauties from years gone by. While doing a search I found another thread from last year which was actually about what to do with a real tree after Christmas. Replies came from several members who metioned they had an aluminum tree.Including:

We actually have 10 different aluminum trees.
I have my Grandparents one and have found several at yard sales over the last few years. We always put up at least one every year. The trees range in height from 2 feet to 6 feet. Most are the larger ones and almost all are in the original boxes. We also have several of the color wheels. You do need to be home when using them just in case the old wiring gets too hot or it stops rotating while the light is on, that can melt your color wheel.
I remember as a kid we used to lay on the floor under the tree and watch the colors change and sparkle. A very fond memory of my Grandparents place at Christmas time.
OK folks, How about adding a photo of your own personal aluminum tree all decorated to this thread ?
Looking forward to seeing a lot of these classic trees.
Here's ours.

[ Edited by: on 2004-11-27 19:13 ]

[ Edited by: 8ft tiki on 2004-11-27 22:50 ]

[ Edited by: 8FT Tiki 2009-11-27 12:23 ]

Haven't put mine up yet, but here are some past Christmas pix. I have a vintage silver with 2 of the old color wheels going, I also have a pink tinsel and a green/blue one. Can't find a pix of the grn/bl model as of yet. I also have a family of 50's mannequins. The ever lovely Barbara is modeling her past years outfits next to the tree.

I've got one; it's still down in the garage right now. I decorate it with vintage Shiny Brite glass ornaments, but I have yet to find an affordable color wheel light.

They don't make 'em big enough, but I love 'em.

I imagine a world with 12' aluminum Norway Firs or Noble Firs.


On 2004-11-27 23:13, exotica59 wrote:
The ever lovely Barbara is modeling her past years outfits next to the tree.

Does Barbara have a sister? :wink:

laney posted on Sun, Nov 28, 2004 4:20 AM

Thanks for posting the pic of my tree.
I too, have several. I used to set up 2 trees, the little (4 ft.) one pictured with all my old and collectible glass and a 6 ft with all cheesy vintage Japan plastic.
I especially love the pom-pom tipped with the glass balls on the tips. You can see the green glass tips in the pic if you look hard. I think I have 3 of those and a couple regular ones. Once the 6 ft. fell over and a few of the glass tips broke.

I also have a few color wheels. But, I like the new one better than my vintage ones. It is more quiet and probably safer. I got mine from my Mom but she said she got it from one of those tacky catalogs.
Found it! Here you go, from Harriet Carter


Don't have one,but I wish I did! These are classic-probably wanted one as a kid,but most likely my mom thought they were tacky.I'm enjoying the photos.

I just love them! I think I used to set up a little table top one when I was really young, but my Mum says she doesn't remember anything about it(denial). I love having a big douglas fir every year. If I ever found an aluminum one, it would be my permanent second tree.
Thanks for the photos, they are beautiful!


Here is a great photo book that came out this year .... "Season's Gleamings - the Art of the Aluminum Christmas Tree" - a copy will be definitely placed under my own aluminum tree.


I had the pleasure of seeing authors Shimon and Lindemann's collection of 40 aluminum trees in their store-front showroom in Wisconsin on Christmas Eve about 7 years ago. The next time I saw them was in 2000 in Columbus, for the closing of the Kahiki restaurant .... so it is great to see the aluminum tree thread here on Tiki Central.



I love 'em and also have a collection of them (about 10). I love the pink tinsel one pictured in this thread.

I love the silver trees, but don't have one yet. When I had cats, they were possessed by their mylar toys on sticks, had to attack any mylar-type material like the fierce hunters they were, so an entire tree of the irresistable crunchy stuff would've endangered the lives of the tree & cats in one swell foop.
This year, I saw an eye-wateringly bright,lime-neon green metallic tree this year (not vintage, obviously) and may have to go back to get it. Inexplicably, it was displayed in the center of an otherwise sophisticated collection of Channukah accessories.


Zebratiki-that wasn't a Christmas tree,it was a Channakah bush.

On 2004-11-29 06:06, docwoods wrote:
that wasn't a Christmas tree,it was a Channakah bush.

I thought maybe that's what they were trying to do, and maybe the person who put it out was colorblind, but electric lime green? Blue, I could understand, as I grew up with a traditional Irish Catholic/Jewish household that celebrated ChannukahChristmas every year, giving me the ability to duck a flying guilt trip thrown at me from any direction.
The alarming lime green metallic tree has possessed me, and I may be going back to get it ... the same store was selling a trio of faux palms (the tallest of the three about 5') on an "island" base with white lights on green wires already strung through it.

This thread is too coincidental. We just bought an aluminum tree over the weekend and then I saw these posts. Marian's dad was an executive with Alcoa, so her family had to have one when she was growing up. Her dad ditched it when he left the company. We saw one at Breelle and Tristan's two years ago and Marian fell in love with it. I think Swanky has one as well.
Anyway, glad to know we will soon have a tiki-correct holiday tree in our living room.
And Vern, that books looks great.
I'll try to post a picture of our tree once it is set up.

[ Edited by: KailuaGeoff on 2004-11-29 18:56 ]


my aluminum tree is up! my favorite aunt bought it for a buck at a garage sale!

got the color wheel up and running.. cant wait to get the ornaments on ~ will post pics when we get it decorated.

i miss the smell of pine ~ dont miss wrassling with the tree and tying it to the jeep..and then dragging it to the recycler.


The book, "Season's Gleamings," that ikitnrev mentioned is on sale at Target on their website for $11.53 this week.

The latest issue of "Money" magazine has an article about vintage aluminum trees as a hot collectible. Anyhow, we have a nice silver one that belonged to my husband's grandmother. We also have 2 color wheels and a white metal glitter covered stand that plays music, this came w/ the tree.

Aluminium trees look horrible! All fake trees do. I'm going to steal my tree from a local forest.

Trader Woody

My family used to go on a tree cutting trip ervery year. We'd all pile into the Valiant, take a ferry over to Salt Spring Island and go trekking through the snow searching for a tree under the hydro lines. We'd lash it to the roof then go visit the friendly resident turkey before heading home.

Good times, good times.


THANKS for posting my picture, and those of the others.

Great topic!

Mine was my grandparents. I still have the sleeves and part of the box with the reorder form!

It is amazing what some of the larger one's go for on eBay.

I think they are so cool. I used round lavender and blue ornaments last year. And the retro Barbie ornaments the time before that.

On 2004-11-30 15:36, Trader Woody wrote:
Aluminium trees look horrible! All fake trees do. I'm going to steal my tree from a local forest.

Trader Woody

I'm with you, no fake trees and eliminate the middle man for buying a new one.

Just make sure you plant a new tree to replace the one you're removing. No more Easter Islands.

I hoped to get a Bunyabunya or Monkeypuzzle for a Christmas tree...I would claim that I had no idea they were so sharp...or that thier cones weighed 15 pounds and could kill the mailman.

Those Aluminum (Aluminium?) ones are swank tho...I always found the red ones fetching.

I saw some inflatable trees this year, and while they are tacky...I don't care for inflatable yard things..I think these work off little fans. (not tacky enough maybe?)


I love the smell of a fresh cut tree and that is what I remember growing up. Later Dad started getting the flocked white ones.....did not smell as good. We got our aluminum tree at a swap meet several years ago. As we travel between families or take vacation, it is much easier to set up even if just for the few days we are here. We put all or fun ornaments (flying saucer, pickle, flamingo, airstream trailer, tiki necklaces, etc.) on it and use the color wheel. No lights necessary. We had a couple of years where the fresh tree.......wasn't, and dropped needles within days.


I got one on ebay for next to nothing last year, sadly, I got what I paid for, it was pretty thin, bent, scraggly and just plain sad looking. A friend of mine liked it so I ended up giving it to him. I have a bag full of my Grandmother's old corsages from the fifties and sixties that I plan on using as ornaments. Still on the hunt for one, I just love 'em!


There's an article in the Chronicle's Home & Garden section today about aluminum trees. They interview Shimon and Lindemann about their collection and talk about a new $1000 pink aluminum tree featured MARTHA STEWART LIVING. I guess they're all the rage now, so snatch those suckers up before people on ebay start asking $500 for a nappy, 30 year-old fake christmas tree.

JTD posted on Thu, Dec 2, 2004 6:19 AM

As a kid, I absolutely hated the one my grandmother had. Now, I think they're great for adding another retro touch to one's hipster pad (really). But, deep down, I know Santa tut-tuts whenever he sees one.


On 2004-11-30 15:36, Trader Woody wrote:
Aluminium trees look horrible! All fake trees do. I'm going to steal my tree from a local forest.

Trader Woody

Woody, try pronouncing it correctly: alu·mi·num. Not al·u·min·i·um, it's pronounced alu·mi·num. Aren't they looking better already? :P

Aluminum just isn't right - must have the real thing! Although I do mine every year the island theme - this year I have some beautiful ornaments from Molokai.

On 2004-12-02 09:58, freddiefreelance wrote:

On 2004-11-30 15:36, Trader Woody wrote:
Aluminium trees look horrible! All fake trees do. I'm going to steal my tree from a local forest.

Trader Woody

Woody, try pronouncing it correctly: alu·mi·num. Not al·u·min·i·um, it's pronounced alu·mi·num. Aren't they looking better already? :P

If aluminium is supposed to be aluminum is titanium supposed to be titanum?

-Confused in San Diego

I like the way they look, one of my best friends had thieir(I can never remember) fake tree spray-painted black. Dont remember if it was aluminium or plastic. For that matter, I didn't ask if it was painted or just made that way. oh well, aluminium trees are cool.


Made my own :) I'd wanted one for a long time and couldn't find any. When the flea markets here started carrying them, I couldn't believe how $ much $ folks were asking. Mine is a table-topper with sparse limbs. I usually just hang simple colored ball ornaments on it.


yes, we have a pickle ornament ~

and my favorite, a garlic, purchased in Gilroy, CA.

[ Edited by: dogbytes on 2004-12-05 16:46 ]

Philot posted on Fri, Dec 3, 2004 3:41 PM

On 2004-12-03 00:37, Mike the Headhunter wrote:
I like the way they look, one of my best friends had thieir(I can never remember) fake tree spray-painted black. Dont remember if it was aluminium or plastic. For that matter, I didn't ask if it was painted or just made that way. oh well, aluminium trees are cool.

They've got fake black christmas trees as Spencer's gifts this year. I figure they're for the goth / "Nitemare Before Christmas" crowd.

Now aluminium, that's spaceage! (And also unabashedly tacky.)


Blue 6' is pictured but I believe silver and other colors are available!

God, forgive me neither for what I know nor do but for not knowing what I did the night before!


[ Edited by: FreakBear on 2004-12-04 16:51 ]

On 2004-12-02 23:52, Shipwreckjoey wrote:

On 2004-12-02 09:58, freddiefreelance wrote:

On 2004-11-30 15:36, Trader Woody wrote:
Aluminium trees look horrible! All fake trees do. I'm going to steal my tree from a local forest.

Trader Woody

Woody, try pronouncing it correctly: alu·mi·num. Not al·u·min·i·um, it's pronounced alu·mi·num. Aren't they looking better already? :P

If aluminium is supposed to be aluminum is titanium supposed to be titanum?

-Confused in San Diego

Well, I consulted the Word Detective, and this is what I got:

"Dear Word Detective: I have a question about which is the original spelling of the word "aluminium" (or "aluminum" depending on where in the world you grew up). I have been told that the English spelling with the extra "i" is correct, yet a lot of Americans swear that it is spelled incorrectly outside of the U.S. -- G. Craven, Phoenix, AZ.

Golly, can't we all just get along? Then again, I must admit that the British pronunciation "al-yoo-min-ee-um" has been driving me mildly bats since I first heard it on TV when I was about ten years old. I remember staring at the American spelling "aluminum" in a magazine shortly thereafter and wondering where on earth the Brits had found that extra "i." (While we're at it, the other thing that has been bothering me for years is the British pronunciation of "Nicaragua," which is along the lines of "nick-uh-rahg-yoo-ah." Something about that gives me the fantods.)

In the case of "aluminum" (as I will spell it because this is, after all, my column), we can pin the whole mess on Sir Humphry Davy, the English chemist who discovered the stuff back in 1807. Indulging in the perversity of which historical figures seem fond, Davy named his discovery not "aluminum," nor even "aluminium," but "alumium," basing the term on the Latin "alumen," meaning "alum," a substance drawn from the same mineral that had been used since ancient times for dyeing hides and the like. This is all a bit confusing, but we can take comfort in the fact that Davy was apparently a bit befuddled too. Around 1812 he decided that the proper name of his discovery was not "alumium," but actually "aluminum." Almost immediately Davy was besieged by other scientists who pointed out that if Davy would just add an "i" to make the term "aluminium," it would fall into line with such other substance names as "sodium" and "calcium" and, in their words, "sound more classical." So Davy named it yet again, this time to "aluminium," and the "ium" form became standard in both the U.S. and Great Britain.

Unfortunately, many people in the U.S. had evidently stopped listening by that point and continued to call the stuff "aluminum," and this spelling became so widespread that it was eventually adopted as the standard in the U.S. "Aluminium," however, is the official spelling used by international chemical societies."

Must admit, I'd rather have an aluminum tree than an aluminium tree......

Trader Woody


We've had our Aluminum Christmas Tree for almost a decade. All we put on it is red & green shiny ornaments....With the color wheel it looks great!

Found this gem at an estate sale this January for two dollars!

Every branch was in it's original paper sleeve. No branches were missing:

It turned out to be a six-footer

The previous owners had tied little puffs of orange netting to various branches for effect. Has anyone else heard of this decorating technique?



Sabu, I swear you are the luckiest garage saler I've ever come across!!!! Can you sense my envy?

Trader Woody, as I was reading your last post I was also watching a British show on TV called "Victory By Design". The host of the show was extolling the virtues of a vintage Aston Martin DB3-S racecar when he concluded his dissertation by saying..."and the whole car was cloaked in a beautifully designed ALUMINIUM body".

The one that always gets me is the different way we pronounce 'Herbs'. Over in the States, you seem to have affected a funny French accent and don't pronounce the 'h'. But then, we pronounce the 'h' and it sounds like a name, like 'Uncle Herb'. Both ways sound faintly ludicrous.

Trader Woody
PS - Because of this thread, I've caught myself looking for aluminium trees, even though I can't stand them. The power of Tiki Central to warp minds...


Sabu how are you always so lucky????

On 2004-12-04 18:45, Tiki Matt wrote:
Sabu, I swear you are the luckiest garage saler I've ever come across!!!!

On 2004-12-05 19:03, hiltiki wrote:
Sabu how are you always so lucky????

Believe me, it's not really luck. Honestly. I think the real trick is volume. And maybe research. Anyone here can work the same luck for themselves. Doctor Z and I absolutely LOVE selling on Ebay. And we like hunting treasures at garage sales even more. Before I arrive at Doctor Z's house at 7:30 or 8:00 on a Saturday morning he's already got all of the local garage sales circled and numbered in the morning paper, and the numbers transferred to a fold-out, laminated Thomas Bros map with eraseable markers. I drive, he navigates. In this way we can hit 20 to 30 garage sales in a 5-hour morning. If we didn't love it so much, it would be boring as hell. Instead its pure fun for us.

We hit the neighborhood and block sales first, because they give us the most bang for our buck - 5 or 10 or more yard sales all within walking distance of each other. Then we hit estate sales and everything else. With the sheer volume, we can't help but be lucky every weekend. Plus, Doctor Z is such a wit, that we end up laughing our @sses off the whole morning. It's my weekend comedy therapy. Heaven forbid we find the inevitible box full of little plastic toys and McDonalds giveaways the kids have outgrown. Doctor Z and I have no such maturity issues. We can spend far too much time pulling out monsters and action figures, engaging each other in huge battles on the lawn, (Mulan vs. Godzilla and The California Raisins, for instance), making up funny voices for each character until we are rolling with laughter and the garage-sale hosts have judged us, (quite correctly), insane.

The other key to our success is the research we do on Ebay. If I see some species of garage sale fauna appearing more and more frequently, (PC software games for instance), I'll look that category up in the "Completed Auctions" section of Ebay, sorting it by High Price to Low. That way I can see that Fantasy Role-Playing and War-Simulation games sell for the most, plus spot the rare, out-of-print game or two that goes for $100. Now I am fore-warned when the next crop of PC games is found.

Ebay is a fantastic research tool. Did you know that the 20-volume "Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau" encyclopedia is practically worthless, but if you find the rare "Volume 21", you can sell it for $70 on Ebay? Did you know that Mattel Intellivision games are crap EXCEPT for the 4 rare ones that are worth $50 or more? Do you know which cookbooks in that box of old cookbooks sell time and again for over $30 apiece? Or that old, wooden croquet balls are HOT right now? Ebay will divulge as many of these secrets as you can think to ask it. If it wasn't for Ebay I wouldn't have known that that ugly, big-headed doll displayed on a blanket for 25 cents was actually a $200 Kenner Blythe doll. I am becoming more and more convinced that within every large garage sale there is at least one $50-$100 item being sold for a buck. Knowing which item it is, is the key.

The day I'm truly dangerous will be the day when I have a wireless laptop with me in the car and can check an item on Ebay while I'm actually at the garage sale.

Doctor Z and I are becoming Garage Sale Omnivores of the worst sort. It no longer has to be mid-century modern or tiki for us. Hooked-On-Phonics sets, Barbara Streisand videos, Plastic Dinosaurs, Veggie Tales, A full set of Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" hardcovers, Bible Concordances, 20-year-old Real Estate courses on cassette, Auto Parts, Televangelist videos - We're not too proud to grab any of it. And much of it is ludicrously valuable on Ebay. Then, when we find the rare box of 1970s "Skateboarder" magazines or box of tiki mugs, it's just icing on the cake.

I also love taking a chance on an odd item I've never seen before. For a dollar or two investment, these chances often pay off. Doctor Z once laughed at me when I picked up a whole stack of collapsible boxes with air-holes that pet stores used to use to sell Canaries and Parakeets. But lo and behold! - somebody on Ebay thought they were worth fifty dollars. Or the box of vintage flyswatters that I sold to some Hollywood movie prop-master for eighty dollars. It's amazing what you can find a market for.

Anyway. I've rambled on and on and got this thread totally off-topic. But I think you can see how exciting I find this whole Ebay and Garage-Sale business. I think the real luck comes from the fact that modern technology, (namely the Internet), has provided Doctor Z and I with a lucrative outlet for this hobby we've always had.


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2004-12-06 02:57 ]


Impressive,Sabu! Just goes to show you that good luck is something that is made and planned for,not something that just happens.Happy hunting!


Sabu - that was just fascinating. I'd say you should write a book, but I don't think you should let the rest of the planet in on your secrets....


OK, I've been checking out the great pics on this post and have to admit I'm currently on the prowl for an aluminum Christmas tree.


I am also looking for an aluminum Christmas tree. Why is that????

Here's a somewhat poor picture of our tree. I'll try to get a better shot and replace this one.

This brochure came with our aluminum Christmas marvel. The images are big so they are readable. Enjoy!

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2004-12-08 07:48 ]


Well, I finally found one! I was at the goodwill yesterday out in the boonies and as I was checking out with my atomic curtain and disco dancing instruction book, I spied an old box on the counter. It had a sign '25 cents each'. I looked inside and sure enough it was a miniature aluminum tree, with all the branches in sleeves, so I said 'how much for the box?' and they say 'no, 25 cents each. They're decorations'. They were trying to sell off each individual banch for 25 cents as a decoration! I tried to explain to the woman that no, this was a tree, you assemble it, and its really no good as separate pieces, but she said she didn't understand. SO she sent me to the manager, who still insisted that they were just 'decorations' and they were to be sold separately. I pointed to the side of the box where it said CHRISTMAS TREE. I pulled out the isntructions and showed him how it would look put together. He still insisted that I was wrong, and they were just nice little decorations, see? He pulls one branch out of the sleeve and shows me. Im dying as he tries to jam it back in the sleeve backwards. Finally he goes off and get someone else, who tells me OK, 5 bucks for the whole box, probably just to get rid of me, the crazy woman who thinks a box that says 'Aluminum Christmas Tree' might actually be a tree.

When I brought him home he had all his branches, but he was missing his stand... someone probably bought it for 25 cents before I came along and rescued him from certain branch-by-branch decimation... may I present to you Albert, our Two Foot Aluminum Fairyland Christmas Tree.

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