What’s old for Christmas is new again. If you were born before the 1960s, your first Christmas tree might have been aluminum. Remember as a child staring with awe at an elderly aunt’s gleaming aluminum Christmas tree? They were first used in 1955. And weren’t you mesmerized by the lighted color wheel (don’t touch! It got hot!) that made it shine red, green, yellow, and blue? Now, modern copies are being made and aluminum trees are popular again. New, shiny aluminum trees are only 2 to 3 feet high, meant to be used as a table decoration. These small trees sell for $20, while a 4-foot vintage aluminum tree sells for $250 to $600. A new 6-foot-high aluminum tree sells for $600 or more.

Green ceramic Christmas trees with tiny colorful bulbs on each “branch” are also popular again, with stores selling them for about $70. Vintage ones sell for around $90 to $100.

“Just like vintage” decorations continue to be popular, most notably the Christmas tree “Bubble-Lites” made in 1946 by NOMA Electric. Their first December, the company sold nearly one million sets of Bubble-Lites. Vintage lights in their boxes from the 1950s and ’60s cost less than $100. A string of seven new bubble lights sells for $20 and up.

But while collectors may have re-discovered the deco aluminum trees with flashing lights and a “modern” look, they still remember the live trees that proudly displayed decorations that have been carefully preserved. And, of course, everyone still searches for an old plastic piece of mistletoe, or live mistletoe, to hang above the door.

silvera luminum christmas tree

Silver tinsel Christmas tree, sold with ornaments and stand, Wellwood, 6 ft. h., $49.  Photo: Amazon

revolving color wheel for aluminum christmas tree

Revolving color wheel, with red, blue, green, and yellow, early years of Kurt Adler, $46. Photo: Amazon

ceramic christmas tree

Vintage ceramic Christmas tree, plastic lights, 1970s, selling for $90 online.  Photo: Ruby Lane

new ceramic christmas tree

Green ceramic Christmas tree, 15 in. h., sells for $38Photo: Amazon

NOMA bubble-lites

Original NOMA Bubble-Lites, selling for $130 online. Photo: eBay

new bubble lights

New set of 7 multicolor Christmas bubble lights, Celebrations Lighting, sells for $21. Photo: Amazon


2 responses to “Vintage and New “Vintage Style” Christmas Decorations Sparkle Again”

  1. sherandone says:

    The aluminum Christmas trees were actually offered to the public in mid 1958 and sales continued until the mid 1960’s. I still have my parents original tree and also my husband’s parents tree. I agree with joe0315 that the lights were available at a later date and were made by several different companies. Now, aluminum trees have regained some popularity. It can be nice to have as an extra tree; however, I still prefer a green tree.

  2. joe0315 says:

    The first aluminum trees were offered in 1959, so they did not become popular until the 1960s (revolving lights 1963). During the 1950s, flocked trees were seen. Artificial trees have been around since the later 1800s.

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