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Top 5 Christmas decorations that are out of style

Updated on December 4, 2014

These Christmas decorations are disappearing

While enjoying a few of our older Christmas photos, I noticed that some of our traditional Christmas decorations are no longer in favor. While these used to be all the rage, they have been replaced by newer, trendier items.

While a couple of them were tacky (see definition below) even way back then they had a certain flair. Today, our tree is artificial and always beautiful as shown in the photo. While it still has many of the older ornaments, it has evolved like many of the Christmas traditions and customs.

This list is the top 5 things items that are disappearing from Christmas. This is just a short list but I am sure that you can think of others.

Tacky is defined by Merriam-Webster as "characterized by lack of good breeding".

Number 1 - The Aluminum Christmas Tree

We spent many a Christmas gathered around the aluminum Christmas tree. While I think it was in the late 1950s, it could have been in the 1960s. I checked with Wikipedia to find that it was popular from 1958 to the mid-1960s which is no help at all prompting my memory.

It had the traditional foil needles and was made of aluminum as the name suggests. It was not a tree that I could warm up to but my mom thought it was great. I think I was glad when it went away. Now, it just brings back pleasant memories so my mom could have been right all along.

Don't despair, these are still available on Amazon

Genuine Aluminum Christmas Tree
Genuine Aluminum Christmas Tree

However tacky these are, they have a certain place in many family Christmas traditions. Way back then they didn't use lights but had a color wheel which is item #2.


Number 2 - Color Wheel

Color Wheel
Color Wheel | Source

The aluminum tree did not have lights. To add color, a wheel was set off to the side to shine on the tree. It had four colors, The outer wheel was red, green, and blue and the center was yellow. It constantly changed the color of the tree and I think we spent more time focusing on the wheel than the tree. However, it was cool when the presents were wrapped in foil paper as they changed color too.

Would you believe you can get this on Amazon too?

Kurt Adler Early years Revolving Color Wheel Red/Blue/Green/Yellow
Kurt Adler Early years Revolving Color Wheel Red/Blue/Green/Yellow

Will wonders never cease?. Out of style, out of favor, this is still available. Not quite the same, the center isn't yellow but it would still work. What's even more interesting, I bet if one were setup, all of us would still watch it spin and change colors. It's hard to look away.


Number 3 - Tinsel

There were several ways to decorate with tinsel.There was my style where each strand was individually placed in a symmetrical pattern and then there was my brother who stood back and threw handfuls at the tree.

You could also look at a tree at any home and immediately know if they had small children. The tree would only be decorated with tinsel as high as the children could reach.

Tinsel was never ending and would turn up in the middle of summer behind something.

You will need at least two packages

BRITE STAR Silver 18-Inch Icicle Tinsel - 2000 Strands
BRITE STAR Silver 18-Inch Icicle Tinsel - 2000 Strands

Well, if you do it my way, you will need two packages. Do it my brother's way and one will do.

This was sort of depressing. I showed my grandson the icicles and he wanted to know what they were used for.


Number 4 - Spray Snow

This was always fun. Growing up in Southern California, snow was not something we saw on a regular basis. We could always make a trip to Big Bear to see the snow on the trees but living in the valley, there was no snow. My parents relented one year and bought us the spray snow. It was messy and smelled funny but at least it looked close to the pictures we saw on Christmas cards and advertisements in the stores.

Get three cans - You can spray it at someone and still have enough for the tree

Art Wall CH499-0506 Snow Spray, 13-Ounce
Art Wall CH499-0506 Snow Spray, 13-Ounce

We only had the spray snow that one year. We discovered it was fun to spray at each other. It probably wasn't good for us either. Several years later, my mom bought only enough for the tree. While it was pretty, it just wasn't as much fun.


Number 5 - Glass Wax

This was one of my favorite things to do at Christmas. You would pour the Glass Wax in a bowl and dip your sponge. Then you would dab it onto the stencils that were taped to the window. When it dried, the stencils were removed and Christmas designs would grace the windows for all the neighbors and visitors to enjoy.

Glass Wax went out of business so when I wanted to revive this tradition for my grandson, it was nowhere to be found. I was delighted when I found a replacement that works just as well.

Are these all out of favor?

Do you think you would revive any of these Christmas decorations?

See results

Feedback is welcomed

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    • profile image

      Don F 10 months ago

      I remember them all.

      At 70 I still put the icicles on one at a time. I fold them over a card for next year. I have bubble light on my tree and my 6 yo grand daughter always makes sure they are bubbling, turning them over to restart them. I still have my father-in-laws aluminum tree in the attic. But I would never use it. Real trees for me!

    • profile image

      Uncle Bill 17 months ago

      2:05 AM and in a nostolgic mood, remembered the Glass Wax stencils and found this site. What a pleasent time remembering past Christmas traditions and those loved ones who made them so wonderful. Thank You.

    • profile image

      Jerrie c 2 years ago

      I remember the tree lights tha had what looked liked colored candles and there was oil in them! You plugged them in and they would heat up snd inside the candle thr oil would bubble! I actually saw a set of those light afew years ago at a hardware store in my home town of owosso michigan! I couldnt brlieve my eyes i know my folks had theirs jn the 40s! Wow i should have purchased them ! Would love my grandkids to see them!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      The most fond memories and nostalgia for me are brought back by the icicles.

      Great hub!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Oh my gosh, that brings back such memories. My grandfather always had the aluminum tree and color wheel!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      Actually I just started using the large bulb light strings on my Vintage Trailer Christmas Tree and it is a hassle to find the missing light.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Oh good grief, my family had all of those! I would add the large bulb light strings that wouldn't work if just one bulb was blown out and popcorn garland.

    • profile image

      digital-captive 5 years ago

      @digital-captive: Ooops! Sorry, don't know how that last sentence got duplicated :)

    • profile image

      digital-captive 5 years ago

      Cool blast to the past! As others have mentioned there has been a resurgence of 'old time' Christmas trees coming back, joined by a few newbies. I was in the market for a new artificial tree this year and WOW was I surprised to find trees available in (I'm not kidding) bright red, hot pink, purple, white, silver, royal blue, lime green and... BLACK!! Yes folks, you can now have a tree that fits your EVERY decorating whim! Whew!...and I thought it was tough to decide sometimes between the natural Noble Fir, Nordmann Fir, Blue Spruce, etc., now I have a rainbow to deal with?! ;) I thought it was tough to decide sometimes between the natural Noble Fir, Nordmann Fir, Blue Spruce, etc., now I have a rainbow to deal with?! ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a cool history lesson of Christmas past and I remember all of these though we never had the aluminum tree or the color wheel but I was fascinated at how the colors showed on the aluminum when we would visit people who were progressive in the day. We always had plenty of tinsel and saved it from year to year...we started with silver, then went to strips of plastic that had a gold glitter on them and then finally gold tinsel. We would decorated windows and mirrors with the spray snow and glass was and ...ta da, it was Christmas. Thanks for the memories!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Tacky aluminum and pink trees are back in favor as are most things retro these days. Thanks for the memories -- never did have a metal tree but I remember the other decorations you've got listed here. (Plus trains and a plasticville village on cotton batting with mica and plastic "snow" sprinkled under the tree!)

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 5 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      Aluminum trees are coming back! They're in all the trendiest windows on the high streets of the Chicago Loop and areas like Lincoln Park and Wicker Park. I love them. Never heard about the wonder wheel - I'm going to look into that :)

    • profile image

      luvintage 5 years ago

      Awesome! I remember all of these things! And you are sure right about the tinsel-tinsel here, tinsel there, tinsel everywhere- all over the place for the rest of the year. We were one-strand-at-a-timers and it was beautiful when it was finished! Thanks for bringing it all back!

    • Glenn619 profile image

      Glenn619 6 years ago

      We still use Tinsel on our Christmas tree though besides the snow spray i am not aware of the other decorations :s

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Cool Old Decorations. Can't imagine spraying snow on the Christmas Tree, anymore. What a mess that always made! Happy Holidays!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Very nice history of bygone Christmas decorations. I remember we had plastic icicles to hang on our tree. They were glow in the dark (glowed purple), so we would take them in a closet to see them glow.

    • ThatsYourPeople profile image

      ThatsYourPeople 6 years ago

      What a great lens! I, too, grew up in Southern Cal. As far as I was concerned, if we didn't have a flocked tree it wasn't really Christmas.

    • markettrol profile image

      markettrol 6 years ago

      Great Lens.... I remember all of these items....Can not believe they are still around!!!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Oh my! My Aunt Cassie had an aluminum tree. I was more than fascinated by the color wheel and the way the tree constantly changed colors. It was absolutely mesmerizing! And the tinsel! My goodness! What a mess that was! My father was a stickler that they had to go on one at a time. It was quite tedious, but not as bad as their removal. The only thing to be done was to haul the tree off to the curb with the tinsel still clinging on. Of course, then it would blow around the neighborhood. Oh, those were the days, right?! Great trip down memory lane. Thanks!

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 6 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      What a fun blast from the past. My grandfather HAD the aluminum tree with the color wheel! Hilarious, and Oh-So-Hip. Thanks for giving me a smile today!

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      Love this lens :) We never had an aluminum tree. I remember the tinsel, so glad it is out of style. We had a lot of santa anna winds in So. Cal. and you could walk up to the tree and the static electricity would make the tinsel reach out at you. I remember seeing the pro tree flocking at the tree lots, blue and pink trees even. My mother let us do glass wax one time, she said never again. LOL. We had neighbors that took aluminum pie pans, nailed them to a wood triangle frame and poked holes in them put a christmas light in each pan and they had a pie pan tree in their yard. Oh the fun tacky memories. :)