Thursday, December 12, 2019

Christmas - Mid-century Style... Sort Of.....

Let me start by confessing - I'm a bit of a Christmas addict.   I love the lights and the glitter and the bright sparkle that it brings as the days grow shorter (sunset was at 4:04 today!).  Without it, I think the winter solstice would be so depressing.  So I tend to get carried away with decorating - some years, I'll decorate 5 different trees, to spread the holiday cheer.

But this year, as we approached the holiday season, I had visions of recreating the mid-century Christmas that my husband so fondly remembers.

His family must have been real trendsetters - they put up an oh-so-mod aluminum tree each year, complete with a color light wheel.  It came in a big box and each branch came in an individual paper sleeve - that was inserted in a hole on the trunk.  They only had one color ornament on the tree (he remembers they were blue, but that seems like an unusual choice, so maybe his color blind memory isn't quite right!!).

To provide color on that sea of reflective silver, you plugged in a color wheel light and it would spin and constantly change the tree color.  Ah mid-century, what a glamorous way to bathe your tree in shimmery light!

So I set out to find a mid-century tree.  I looked on e-bay, but most of the trees looked like they had seen way too much wear and tear over the years.  I looked for reproductions, but they were all 5 feet tall - which would look pretty silly with our tall ceilings.  Finally in desperation, I found a large silver tree and ordered it.  Richard wouldn't get the joy of sliding each branch out of its wrapper, but it promised 10 minutes of assembly time, which he loved. ( He still bemoans the years I tried to create a Hallmark style Christmas, which included getting lost on the drive to the tree farm, sawing the tree down with their rusty saw and the spider nest that we discovered as we set it up in the living room (yes, there was a lot of screaming!) Not quite what the holiday movies promised!).

Once we had the sparkly silver tree, I tried to find a color wheel.  But there were similar challenges with that as well.  I was worried about the old wiring on the vintage ones.  And the new ones all had terrible reviews - problems with overheating, wheels not turning, etc.  So I finally resorted to colored twinkle lights with white wires, to make them less noticeable.

And the thing I was most excited about from my own childhood?  Pulling out my parents Shiny Brite ornaments that I've dragged all over the country in our many moves.  I used to have a couple of boxes, but they're taken some abuse over the years and now I have one solitary box.

 Aren't they cool?  They paid a whopping 98 cents for them and would be amazed that they're still in use 60 years later.  But since I didn't have a lot of them, I wanted to add a few more ornaments, so was delighted to discover Shiny Brite ornaments at West Elm.  Who knew they still made them, but the price is a bit higher!

But while I love the Shiny Brites,  I also wanted to include ornaments from our own family - the ones the kids made and some special ones we've collected over the years.  So I combined them all!
Can you guess which are the vintage vs new ornaments?
Made by Katie - age 3
Is it a true mid-century Christmas tree - nope!  But with so many memories tied to it, it's still pretty special!
PS - doesn't the new siding look fantastic???

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  1. I recognize those ornaments! I have some from my parent, too!

  2. I recognize those ornaments. I have some of them from my parents, too.

  3. i thought the reason they had color wheels was because you cant put eletric lights on an aluminum tree because youll get eletricuted


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