The History of the Tinsel Tree

I was inspired to read up on Tinsel Trees just this week, when working at Swish Vintage I got to set one up for a customer to come have a look at. I thought …I know a touch about these gorgeous glittery trees,but Id love to know more! So I did some research…

Tinsel or Aluminum trees were popular in the United States from 1958 until the mid 1960s. They were made in array of jaw dropping colours, that vintage lovers drool over – pink, teal, silver, gold. They were first manufactured around 1955 up until sometime in the 70s, even though they had lost popularity a few years before then. They lost their popularity in the mid 1960s and some say  A Charlie Brown Christmas is to thank! It aired in 1965 and used the tinsel tree as a symbol of the commercialization of Christmas, which left a sour taste in viewers mouths and many-a-tinsel tree could be found curb side after Christmas that year.

In the height of their popularity, aluminum tress could be found in the Sears Catolog with the following description:

“Whether you decorate with blue or red balls . . . or use the tree without ornaments – this exquisite tree is sure to be the talk of your neighborhood. High luster aluminum gives a dazzling brilliance. Shimmering silvery branches are swirled and tapered to a handsome realistic fullness. It’s really durable . . needles are glued and mechanically locked on. Fireproof . . you can use it year after year.” – Sears, 1963 Christmas Book


They had a futuristic look to them, which would of course be popular in those times, when the space-age was all the rage. The customer I sold the one at Swish to said her husband told her it looked like an “explosion” and he loved it for that!

While they are hard to come by here in Alberta, in the United States they seem easier to find. During the holiday season, some places hosts Aluminum Tree Museums and exhibits. Sadly, a lot of these trees were thrown out once they went out of fashion. Over a million were produced at their peak though, which means there are definitely a heck load out there waiting to be revived



The gorgeous green and silver tinsel tree that was available at Swish was the first one I had ever seen up close, let alone assembled! I figured it would be something like the Christmas tree I set up as a child, but it was not! The stand/trunk was a green wooden pole with holes strategically placed all the way up for the branches to hook in to. Look at it in all its glory… I am so jealous of the couple who go tot take it home and make it their own.


These glittering, delightful tinsel tress have come almost full circle; from the epitome of popularity, to becoming faux pas and distasteful,  and now being sought out and sold for a very pretty penny of two ( or if you are one of the lucky ones, you find it in your grandparents attic or at the local thrift shop). This is one gal who would just love to have a pretty pink or silver tinsel tree to set up each year and sprinkle with vintage baubles!

Happy Holidays


The Deluxe Dollhouse


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