leah's ebay finds: aluminum christmas tree


When I was growing up, our next-door neighbors had one of these aluminum Christmas trees, which they’d haul out every year and set up with a lighted color wheel turning its sparkly silver branches from neon red to yellow to blue to green and back again. I’m pretty sure my parents considered it the height of tackiness, but I thought it was absolutely magical.

I’d forgotten about it for years, and Christmas after Christmas my own family would drive out to the country to chop down a farm-grown tree — or, if our December weekends were especially packed, simply pick one up at a local lot. I always feel guilty and wasteful around January 2, when we toss the dried-out tree onto the curb for the trash pickup.

I recently remembered our neighbors’ space-age-style tree, and decided that I simply must have one. Not only will it work nicely with my favored holiday color scheme of silver and chartreuse with black accents — it turns out that, despite its glorious artificiality, a vintage aluminum tree (as opposed to a new, nonrecyclable fake evergreen, which uses all sorts of toxic chemicals and petroleum products in its manufacture) is actually a fairly Earth-friendly option. Plus, while new aluminum trees cost $300 or more, there are hundreds of vintage models on eBay starting at just 99 cents. I’m quite taken with the tree above, for instance, which stands 6 feet tall and comes with 46 pom-pom branches. Current bid: $10.

(P.S. Don’t forget the color wheel!)

See more of Leah’s great finds on her blog, More Ways to Waste Time.

From our partners

Don’t let kids touch the old ones. They’re heavy in lead.


Your post reminded me to get out the silver fiber optic tree I got for the office last year. It’s just as you describe, with a color wheel and everything – it’s a tabletop model that I got after the holiday at Target last year. You might want to check there and see if they’ve got them this year as well. It’s just big enough to fulfill your silver wishes but small enough that you can have a big green tree as well if you’d like!

It’s similar to this one but without the LED lights: http://www.target.com/Fiber-Optic-Light-Christmas-Tree/dp/B000ROPTA0/sr=1-4/qid=1196099471/ref=sr_1_4/602-8466576-6347827?ie=UTF8&index=target&rh=k%3Asilver%20tree&page=1

Thanks, Christian — good to know!


I have one of the vintage ones, bought it a few years ago off ebay (it may even be the exact one pictured, love the pom pom branches!). After losing auction after auction for a vintage color wheel, I found a new one @ Improvements: http://www.improvementscatalog.com/product/id/105633.do. My spinning base is vintage, though; I couldn’t find anyone still making those.

I’m going to have to put it up on a table this year to keep its leady goodness out of the reach of the Baby Who Eats Everything, but I can’t wait to set it up.

Mary T

So, wait — the old ones contain lead? So even though they’re not producing more toxins in the new manufacture, I’d still be bringing lead in the house? Are there any links to where I can find out more on that?


omg, we had that same tree growing up! and i was embarassed because christmas trees were supposed to be green…at least to the 6 yr old me. now i wish it were still around (we finally convinced my mother to throw it out after many years, in favor of a newer, more realistic fake evergreen).

sarah's momma

Hi. i’m actually ammused by stuff that you called ‘vintage’ (& people bid for it?!) is actually a common thing here on the east side of the world. you have that aluminium tree, here in Malaysia we called that thing ‘bunga manggar’ , but with slightly different arrangement (n lots of other metallic colours too!), usually seen in a Malay wedding reception. Here’re some pics to share…



(photo credits to fellow friend who’s a wedding photographer, of wedding momments of one of my bestfriends)

fabulous! i’d better check out leah’s blog more often.
(pssst… come by + enter my giveaways)

sarah's momma

Hi. I’m ammused by things you find new/interesting/’vintage’ , while the same thing is somehow one common thing (& we sometimes take its presence for granted *sigh*) in another part of the world. The aluminium tree u feature here is the exact thing we have here in Malaysia called ‘bunga manggar’ (with slightly different arrangement though). It’s a must in any Malay wedding reception here! Usually ushering the bride&groom’s arrival. Some photos to share:




(photos credit to my wedding photographer friend, of the wedding reception of one of my bestfriends)

shelterrific » Blog Archive » leah’s ebay finds: vintage glass ornaments

[…] P.S. Wouldn’t these look lovely on vintage aluminum tree? […]

Mary T

sarah’s momma, that is so cool!


i have a vintage aluminum tree as well, didn’t know about the branch and lead thing, but i don’t handle them that much. love it. found the color wheel first, in a junk shop in western ny, back in 1997. then in 2000 bought the tree and tree spinner base on ebay, for around 35 for each. i get so many compliments, at least i think they are compliments, on it. it truly is magical. i like to listen to old german christmas albums, vinyl of course, while admiring it.

Kory Carroll

I have 219 Vintage Aluminum Christmas Trees in My Collection. I have been Collecting them for about 30 Years now. Please Don’t worry about the Safety of them.
Just so You know… Beware of the ‘Now’ Products You have in Your House and are putting in Your Stomach, now that can Kill You.
Not the Vintage Aluminum Christmas Tree.
Merry Kitschmas and a Happy New Year!

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