Dad, the 60’s and the Aluminum Christmas Tree

19 Dec
an iconic shot

an iconic shot

There has been much interest in the Aluminum tree of late, strange that an item like this that at one time was the center of controversy and debate has become an object of adulation. The 60’s were a period sweeping tech advances, the space race was on and Pres Kennedy said we were going to the moon, as Jackie donned her modern Pillbox hat, which even Bob Dylan immortalized in song . The auto industry had abandoned the over wrought designs of the 50’s and embraced a new “clean look” Home appliances were now being dubbed “Sheer” no more bulbous refrigerators, rectilinear was the new design dictum. The Princess phone was the last word [no pun] in communications tech [ it lit up] Then along came the Aluminum Christmas tree, the ultimate in “modern” living, perfect for display on the moon. Reynolds Aluminum not wanting to left behind, introduced a game changer that flew in the face of Christmas tradition and all that was sacred.

The Clean Lincoln

The Clean Lincoln

As early as 57 a new look was coming

As early as “57” a new look was coming..note the right angles of her gloves.

Everything Aluminum

Everything Aluminum

Mad Men” was ahead of the curve embracing the revival of 60’s design. All of a sudden appeared the term “Mid-Century” modern, which replaced the “atomic age” label to describe the future look that swept the U.S. Many items that were once laughed at as naive and quaint were now becoming serious design statements. All things Mid-Century were in demand. an ironic twist, as I am a Mid-Century relic as well [and I’m not in demand] When Banana Republic teamed with Mad Men a younger generation was hooked. Skinny brimmed hats and the Rat Pack became synonymous with cool.

He was the last word in 60's hip

He was the last word in 60’s hip

It was my mother that fell hook line and sinker for the new look, Jackie was her style icon and she followed her style with religious fervor [as did many women of the day]  The Pillbox hat was essential and mom had one..a leopard one, [so politically incorrect these days]..Anyway the thought of a Christmas tree that needed no tending was irresistible to her. No dropping needles, no daily watering was “sheer” in every way. My Dad hated the tree he was a C.7 blinking lights and tinsel kind of guy. His protests fell on deaf ears. What wanted Mom she got. So poor Dad went out and bought the whole show, the color wheel and a set matching of gold tear drop ornaments. My sister and I had no say in the matter. I didn’t really love it either as I remember, but she did allow us to impinge upon her design scheme with a few of our favorite traditional ornaments, just to keep us quiet.

When I look at the shot of sis and I staring out the picture window, which Dad carefully composed, it never occurred to me that one day this life-less relic of a long gone decade would become a nostalgic touch stone. Thanks Dad, wish you were still around to see the current triumph your iconic photo and that hated tree.


3 Responses to “Dad, the 60’s and the Aluminum Christmas Tree”

  1. Rene Torres December 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Boy how that colored wheel has turned!

  2. Lisa December 25, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    I love this story. We had a tree like this as well and I would wait until sunset everyday for the sun to come at just the right time through the window to watch the tree sparkle. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had seen. I bought a 1960’s second hand silver tree about 15 years ago, it was still in the box! And my husband hates it.

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