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No Aluminum Christmas Tree For Me!

Bob Alexander

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Christmas memories can come from the most unexpected sources. While browsing through stacks of boxes for this year's holidays, I found myself staring at a box containing an aluminum Christmas tree of the 1960's.

I love Christmas trees! Whether they're inside the house lavishly decorated, or still standing in the field uncut, I get excited by the sight. I even enjoy the task of dragging boxes of ornaments, bulbs and strings of lights up the stairs from the basement where they're stored each year until the next visit from Santa.

Of all the Christmas trees I've seen through the years I can truthfully say that there has only been one I would classify as really ugly. After cleaning out my late father's attic a few years ago, on a whim I retrieved the box containing that sad excuse for a tree and took it home with me. I still don't know why I didn't throw it away. I couldn't possibly be sentimental over an aluminum Christmas tree.

Sometimes during my late teen years, aluminum Christmas trees became a trend. My dad thought this tinny tree would solve the problem of dry evergreen needles falling to the floor. Until that time we had always cut our Christmas tree, usually a cedar, from the woods that was only a mile from our house. That year we had one that literally shimmied with any breeze in the house, such as exhaling.

Coming home from college on Christmas break, I was a little homesick after spending my first semester away from home. I was looking forward to an old fashion Christmas with family and friends and was shocked to see what was occupying the space that had always been dedicated to a freshly cut aromatic cedar tree. There was a glistening, shimmering, shiny gigantic shredded roll of aluminum foil shaped into the form of a tree!

Looking like something out of a bad B movie, one that ended with aluminum trees taking over the world, this tree had just a dozen or so red balls hanging on its tinseled limbs. Yes, there was tinsel dripping from the aluminum silver branches, which I immediately recognized as overkill committed by my younger brother!

Beside the tree there was a rotating color wheel with a spotlight behind it that shined through the color panels of red, green, blue and gold, making the aluminum tree change colors every 5 seconds or so. It was a surreal scene, especially to someone who was looking forward to the aroma of a freshly cut Christmas tree.

I should have had a hint of the changes in my parents’ holiday decorating when I saw the aluminum wreath on the front door. Freshly cut pine bows had always adorned the entrance to my parent's house up to this point, an open invitation to join in on the holiday festivities that were just inside the door. Those who were expecting a traditionally decorated Christmas tree were in for a surprise!

Thankfully the aluminum tree fad went out of style in just a few years. During its time it was heralded as the latest in holiday technology. I can say with authority that we were the only ones in our neighborhood who had such a tree!

My parents then moved on to fake green trees with little bottles of aerosol spray that was guaranteed to smell like a fresh cut cedar or spruce tree. I can only imagine the effect on my psyche if those aluminum branches had been sprayed with a spruce scent!

Thinking back to those days made me nostalgic enough to lug the box containing the tree up the stairs and put it in the Christmas corner of the living room. It doesn't look any better in my house than it did in my parents’ almost 50 years ago.

Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at: ,


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