Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season is in full swing. I enjoy seeing the neighborhood lights and the decorations in our house. My wife has our tree up. I should say trees, there are too many ornaments for one tree, so we end up with one large tree and two or three small trees which spreads the spirit throughout the house.
This is a lot different than the decorating that I remember from my childhood. Occasionally we had a live tree but when I am visited by Ghosts of Christmas Past there is one tree that stands out and it was an aluminum tree. It was not an artificial tree that was supposed to look like a real tree, it was a silver tree that was supposed to be futuristic, I guess in those early days of the space age we were dreaming of living like The Jetsons.
Aluminum trees began to show up in the 1950s and quickly caught on but, thankfully, just as quickly fell out of favor by the end of the 1960s. The aluminum Christmas tree even made an appearance in the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas where Charlie Brown used it to symbolize the commercialization of Christmas.
The most enjoyable part of putting up the aluminum tree was pulling the branches out of the paper sleeves that they were stored in (I guess these kept the branches “fresh” while in storage). Branches were inserted into drilled holes in the base and voilà! – you had a tree that looked anything but real. Add some colored ball-shaped ornaments and the job was finished. No need for tinsel, that would just be redundant. For fire safety reasons, lights were eschewed, they might cause a short. But there was an accessory that could be added: a spot light with a rotating three color wheel! An even more dramatic effect could be added by having a rotating tree stand. I guess I came from a deprived childhood because we did not have the rotating stand or the rotating color wheel, But it was festive to me and it meant Christmas was coming soon.
Somehow, I managed to survive and have many joyous memories of childhood Christmases. I enjoy the Christmas season, I enjoy our tree and its ornaments; however, I am fine with a tree that looks like a tree and I do not long to ever have another aluminum Christmas tree.