My grandparents are the only people that I can remember having an aluminum Christmas tree. These trees became popular in the early 1960’s. I don’t know when my grandparents got theirs but I don’t remember a Christmas before they got it and since I was born in 1962, there is a good chance that they were using it for my very first Christmas. The only decorations on the tree were balls and all of them were blue. My grandparents also had a color light wheel for the tree just like everyone else who had these. The wheel would be pointed at the tree would slowly rotate changing the color of the light shining on the tree. It seems like the motor on the wheel quit working after a few years. My grandparents didn’t buy a new wheel or get the motor repaired. Instead they chose to leave the blue light shining on the tree.
They would put up their tree in their living room. The living room and dining room were in a part of the house that they rarely used any other time of the year. Even during Christmas, the adults seemed to spend more time in the den of the house while the kids were playing in the living room around the tree. One year before Christmas, my grandparents got new carpet in the living room. One of the grandkids discovered that if you took off your shoes and rubbed your feet across the carpet, you could generate extreme amounts of static electricity. All of the kids would scoot around on the carpet in our sock feet, chasing each other. Shock fights were all the rage and gave us reason to spend more time in the living room, especially during the cold winter months. For some reason, the aluminum tree seemed to cause the carpet to create even more intense static electricity, increasing the shock during fights and unintentional contact with our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. A usually welcome kiss from a well-intentioned relative would turn into a swear-worthy zap. And heaven forbid that you actually touch the aluminum tree. Getting too close could create a visible arc and a shock that couldn’t have been any worse than if you stuck a paper clip in an electrical outlet.
Over the years, the shock from the carpet diminished although you still had to be careful of the tree. While aluminum trees fell out of fashion well before the end of the decade when they were introduced, my grandparents continued to use theirs well into the 1980’s, maybe even into the 1990’s.
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