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(Mental Floss)   You might just be as old as subby if the Christmas soundtrack of your youth is the grinding gear noise of the color wheel as it shone on your Aluminum tree   (mentalfloss.com) divider line 52
    More: Amusing, Christmas, Reader's Digest  
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3840 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Dec 2013 at 7:21 PM (18 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-07 06:58:46 PM
1.  I'd forgotten all about magazine Christmas trees!  But we used TV Guides.
2.  Never heard of IBM wreaths
3.  God's Eyes--another thing I'd forgotten!
4.  I love C6 Christmas lights (although I never knew they were called that.  Happy to have a name for them now)
5.  Yup--we had an aluminum tree & the color wheel--until my brother got scared of the wheel after seeing War of the Worlds.  Reminded him of the Martians' eyes.
6.  We used the stencils for the spray snow.  Easy to scrape off w/a window scraper.
 
2013-12-07 07:09:42 PM
I'm old but don't remember any of those.  Subby must be a decrepit geezer.
 
2013-12-07 07:24:17 PM
Poke an eye out!
 
2013-12-07 07:27:46 PM

Bucky Katt: I'm old but don't remember any of those.  Subby must be a decrepit geezer.


I remember grandma having one shining on her aluminum tree in the 60s. I'm 55 although I"m not sure where that actually places me on the geezer spectrum.

As a computer science major in the early 80s, we were still using punch cards.

It's funny how ancient is generally about 30 years closer than folks realize.
 
Ab3
2013-12-07 07:28:16 PM
Steamed clams?
 
2013-12-07 07:29:11 PM
It's the first tree I remember from when I was a kid
 
2013-12-07 07:31:18 PM
We have an aluminum tree with a color wheel now.

/It's beginning to look a lot like a vintage ironic hipster Christmas!
 
2013-12-07 07:33:09 PM
Festivus pole?
 
2013-12-07 07:34:28 PM
Punch card wreaths, my Mom still has mine from 73 or 74. We went into the computer room at school, had a few big ibm consoles. The wreath survived west texas, and now resides in Austin. My mom still drags it out when I visit with the kids. That and my early, 20th century steiff teddy bear, one given to me when I was 2 by an old spinster, but my Mom holds on to for 'safekeeping." Yeah, right.
 
2013-12-07 07:34:36 PM
My mother used to play this non-stop around Christmas.

www.great-songs-of-christmas.com
 
2013-12-07 07:34:38 PM
We had a cardboard fireplace similar to this.
 
2013-12-07 07:37:57 PM
You know what really grinds my gears?
 
2013-12-07 07:44:19 PM
the c6 bulbs gave off an incredible amount of heat and were not meant for indoor use hung over a [dry] tree. i remember taking off my mittens and warming my hands over xmas bulbs during a truce in our hours long snowball fights. truces were called when some kid got nailed with a icy snowball or once every year or so a golf ball sized rock the thrower claimed was a snowball or the slutty or tomboy girls showed up.
 
2013-12-07 07:47:59 PM
All the years since the Christmas where I got an Atari 2600 are just a blur
 
zez
2013-12-07 07:54:16 PM

starlost: the c6 bulbs gave off an incredible amount of heat and were not meant for indoor use hung over a [dry] tree. i remember taking off my mittens and warming my hands over xmas bulbs during a truce in our hours long snowball fights. truces were called when some kid got nailed with a icy snowball or once every year or so a golf ball sized rock the thrower claimed was a snowball or the slutty or tomboy girls showed up.


Some ornaments were designed to use that heat to spin things
 
zez
2013-12-07 07:55:00 PM
I really want an aluminum tree and color wheel for my mid century house.
 
2013-12-07 07:58:10 PM

Ex-Texan: Punch card wreaths, my Mom still has mine from 73 or 74. We went into the computer room at school, had a few big ibm consoles. The wreath survived west texas, and now resides in Austin. My mom still drags it out when I visit with the kids. That and my early, 20th century steiff teddy bear, one given to me when I was 2 by an old spinster, but my Mom holds on to for 'safekeeping." Yeah, right.


You do know that in good condition those things are worth a fortune!
 
2013-12-07 08:00:35 PM
We had the IBM wreaths, and they actually came from an IBM office. Ours had added glitter, though. I also remember the window stencils. Whatever happened to Glass Wax? Is it still around?
 
2013-12-07 08:01:30 PM
Did anyone else think that was Pamelyn Ferdin as the child in the stencil commercial?
 
2013-12-07 08:01:45 PM
We never had an aluminum tree, but we had the rotating lamp as well as a rotating stand that would slowly rotate the
entire tree, making all sorts of trippy patterns with our strings of C6 lights on the wall as it slowly turned.
 
2013-12-07 08:06:54 PM
My in-laws neighbors had an aluminum Christmas tree with the color changing light shining up on it and they even built a special little room on the side of the house that was glass on three sides so everyone could see it.  This was only about five years ago.
 
2013-12-07 08:08:00 PM

zez: I really want an aluminum tree and color wheel for my mid century house.


Our place was built in '57 and looks like it. The tree and color wheel totally fit.
 
2013-12-07 08:11:32 PM

zez: I really want an aluminum tree and color wheel for my mid century house.


Which century? Because some colors clash with mid-sixth century daub and wattle.
 
2013-12-07 08:33:32 PM

edmo: Bucky Katt: I'm old but don't remember any of those.  Subby must be a decrepit geezer.

I remember grandma having one shining on her aluminum tree in the 60s. I'm 55 although I"m not sure where that actually places me on the geezer spectrum.

As a computer science major in the early 80s, we were still using punch cards.

It's funny how ancient is generally about 30 years closer than folks realize.


Me too.  I'm 52, and my grandparents had the aluminum tree and color wheel.  All stuff we couldn't give away when they died in the 70s.  My parents ended up tossing both.

I was too young to "claim" it and my brothers got the good furniture and stuff.  I got my parents.
 
2013-12-07 08:38:22 PM
They forgot the bubble lights


i283.photobucket.com
 
2013-12-07 08:39:50 PM

zez: starlost: the c6 bulbs gave off an incredible amount of heat and were not meant for indoor use hung over a [dry] tree. i remember taking off my mittens and warming my hands over xmas bulbs during a truce in our hours long snowball fights. truces were called when some kid got nailed with a icy snowball or once every year or so a golf ball sized rock the thrower claimed was a snowball or the slutty or tomboy girls showed up.

Some ornaments were designed to use that heat to spin things


Bubblers. Bubblers. Christmas wasn't Christmas without the liquid filled bubbling christimas lights that looked like candles on wreaths.

/through the bars on my crib
 
2013-12-07 08:40:39 PM
So close. So Santa's in the chimney and he's falling fast close.
 
2013-12-07 08:46:53 PM
I loved jacking around with Glass Wax. Hated the aluminum tree and the noisy color wheel.
 
2013-12-07 08:53:18 PM

edmo: Bucky Katt: I'm old but don't remember any of those.  Subby must be a decrepit geezer.

I remember grandma having one shining on her aluminum tree in the 60s. I'm 55 although I"m not sure where that actually places me on the geezer spectrum.

As a computer science major in the early 80s, we were still using punch cards.

It's funny how ancient is generally about 30 years closer than folks realize.


I was recently telling some friends about a dust up I had with this jerk kid in high school :  as he walked past he managed to knock all my books to the ground.  I retaliated later that day by grabbing and shuffling his box of computer cards.  The parents knew what I was talking about but their kids couldn't grasp the concept of punch cards.

/get off my lawn
 
2013-12-07 08:57:33 PM
My Christmas soundtrack:

upload.wikimedia.org

Also, Joy to the World as performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. And I sometimes pull out a good requiem mass, too, just to screw with my family.
 
2013-12-07 09:00:54 PM
My BIL started a company (Yuletide Expressions) making reproduction aluminum trees about 12 years ago. I couldn't believe how much they sold for, and he sold several thousnd a year through hammacher schlemmer.  I guess they were the most authentic reproduction available, the machine he used was designed by deconstructing the old "evergleem" trees to make them the same way they were made in the 50s and 60s.  He sold the machine and the company 5 years ago and I believe they are now out of business.  Sure wish I had a half dozen of those trees though, it looks like they can be sold for a fortune.
 
2013-12-07 09:02:51 PM
Those color-wheel aluminum trees are pretty! And I loved the lights that used the heat to spin things. There were ones with bubbling liquid inside as well!
My father made an armature out of chicken-wire, which was then dressed in a home-sewn Santa Suit, complete with a realistic cloth-like Santa face mask and a beautiful flowing white beard and hair. Large boots were polished a shining black. It was life-sized and my dad had wired it, so the eyes lit up (shining through the eye holes of the Santa mask). He'd also made the flat wood base slightly curved and weighted, so the least breeze would get it swaying slightly. Gave it a very life-like appearance, when viewed through the large picture window, from outside.
My mother and father also made a good-sized 'snowman' which lived the rest of the year in a large cardboard box strapped high on the garage wall. Each year he was lifted carefully out and then re-frosted like a big cake, with the frosting made from whipped Ivory Snowflakes. His hat was made from cardboard, sprayed shiny black. His eyes and all were of material which were stuck to the.whipped frosting before it dried.
Making everything ourselves always seemed very magical to me as a child.
I love the model steam trains included in decorations as well, but THOSE should be running year round IMHO.
 
2013-12-07 09:13:38 PM
Chalk me up as another one of the "Grandparents had the aluminum tree with the color wheel" crowd. I think that's all because a) at that age they tended to have more disposable income and b) it didn't shed needles everywhere to have to clean up.

The most unusual tree I saw as a kid was owned by a neighbor (an older woman from Germany I think) she had actual burning candles on a live-cut tree. I know that tree fires were a thing even back then as a kid who was 10 or so at the time (c6 bulbs and all of that) because my parents had a strict rule that 1) the tree will never be left unattended and 2) the tree will only be lit while an adult was in the house and awake, so the candles really struck me at the time as being dangerous. Her place never burnt down do I guess she knew what she was doing (or was extremely lucky) but that was the only time in 50 years that I've ever seen that.
 
2013-12-07 09:26:29 PM

catmandu: They forgot the bubble lights


[i283.photobucket.com image 400x400]


My grandmother had the bubble lights, we'd go to her house with her silver tree and the color wheel, I can still hear it. And watch The Wild Wild West. And Wild Kingdom. And The Wonderful World of Wald Disney.

/W's for the Win.
 
2013-12-07 09:27:15 PM
We had the aluminum tree, the color wheel, and pink shiny balls on the tree.  Me mother had tried all the regular colors, even white and silver, but the pink ones actually gave off the best colors from the wheel.  After all these years, I have one lonely pink ball left, and it goes high on our tree.  The kids think it is the ugliest thing ever, but my siblings want to fight me for it every year.
 
2013-12-07 09:41:06 PM
What's so old about an aluminum tree?  I have one up in the den right now.
 
2013-12-07 09:57:04 PM

kimwim: catmandu: They forgot the bubble lights


[i283.photobucket.com image 400x400]

My grandmother had the bubble lights, we'd go to her house with her silver tree and the color wheel, I can still hear it. And watch The Wild Wild West. And Wild Kingdom. And The Wonderful World of Wald Disney.

/W's for the Win.


Wald woult wonder why.
 
2013-12-07 10:06:55 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com

The soundtrack to many a childhood xmas.
 
2013-12-07 10:12:02 PM

WorthNoting: Those color-wheel aluminum trees are pretty! And I loved the lights that used the heat to spin things. There were ones with bubbling liquid inside as well!
My father made an armature out of chicken-wire, which was then dressed in a home-sewn Santa Suit, complete with a realistic cloth-like Santa face mask and a beautiful flowing white beard and hair. Large boots were polished a shining black. It was life-sized and my dad had wired it, so the eyes lit up (shining through the eye holes of the Santa mask). He'd also made the flat wood base slightly curved and weighted, so the least breeze would get it swaying slightly. Gave it a very life-like appearance, when viewed through the large picture window, from outside.
My mother and father also made a good-sized 'snowman' which lived the rest of the year in a large cardboard box strapped high on the garage wall. Each year he was lifted carefully out and then re-frosted like a big cake, with the frosting made from whipped Ivory Snowflakes. His hat was made from cardboard, sprayed shiny black. His eyes and all were of material which were stuck to the.whipped frosting before it dried.
Making everything ourselves always seemed very magical to me as a child.
I love the model steam trains included in decorations as well, but THOSE should be running year round IMHO.


What happened to all that stuff?

And the Wonderful World of Disney!  So much love for that!
 
2013-12-07 10:12:59 PM

catmandu: They forgot the bubble lights


[i283.photobucket.com image 400x400]


You can still buy those.  I have some on my tree right now.
 
2013-12-07 10:21:53 PM
My Mom got into the flocked trees with one color ornaments, so one year it would be a white tree with blue ornaments, red the next

/we never bought an artificial tree, for some reason
//probably because my old man was too drunk to assemble one
 
2013-12-07 11:09:30 PM

maram500: My Christmas soundtrack:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 220x220]

Also, Joy to the World as performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. And I sometimes pull out a good requiem mass, too, just to screw with my family.


This is a thing?  Why did I not know about this?
 
2013-12-07 11:32:26 PM
The aluminum tree and colour wheel are great when you are tripping balls.
 
2013-12-07 11:42:52 PM

Oldiron_79: The aluminum tree and colour wheel are great when you are tripping balls.


Does the British colour wheel have different colors than the American one?
 
2013-12-08 02:34:51 AM
We had a tinsel tree and its color wheel companion that I inherited from my grandparents when they downsized to one of those retirement communities.  A rescue kitty who used to belong to a drug dealer who subjected her to everything he sold was the reason we made the decision to replace it with something else.

When the timer would click on at 6, you could NOT budge her from sitting in front of it and staring at the wheel until it switched off at midnight.  I'm not kidding.  If you picked her up and moved her to another room, she would run right back to her spot just a few inches away from the wheel and just go right back to staring.

We started worrying she would go blind from it, and the tree without the wheel just wasn't as fun.  Also, the tree had seen better days anyhoo.  Gobs of the tinsel had been coming off the branches with each trip in and out of the original box it came in when new no matter how careful we tried to be--why, yes, we still had most of the original paper sheaths for the branches too.

We had bubble lights and Muppet Christmas in my house as a kid as well as a lot of the usuals on vinyl with the special stacker on the spindle so you didn't have to keep getting up to swap the 45 records in late 70s/early 80s.  (I had a 2600 under the tree one year too!  I wish I still had it.  The TI 994a, I don't miss as much although at the time, having one made me feel like the coolest kid on the planet.)  I do recall many of the bubble lights failing to bubble, so my Dad would play the game each year of trying to replace the ones that just lit up but never bubbled.

/I miss that tree sometimes.
//I think our kitty still does as well.  She's still around at 15 years old which amazes me considering what she went through as a kitten.
///Slashies come in threes.
 
2013-12-08 05:22:01 AM
I have a 3ft tinsel fiber optic tree and a 5w LED color changing spotlight. It's silent.
PS:
Go to YouTube and search for 'Boogaloo round the aluminum Christmas tree'.
 
2013-12-08 07:08:54 AM

Radioactive Ass: Chalk me up as another one of the "Grandparents had the aluminum tree with the color wheel" crowd. I think that's all because a) at that age they tended to have more disposable income and b) it didn't shed needles everywhere to have to clean up.

The most unusual tree I saw as a kid was owned by a neighbor (an older woman from Germany I think) she had actual burning candles on a live-cut tree. I know that tree fires were a thing even back then as a kid who was 10 or so at the time (c6 bulbs and all of that) because my parents had a strict rule that 1) the tree will never be left unattended and 2) the tree will only be lit while an adult was in the house and awake, so the candles really struck me at the time as being dangerous. Her place never burnt down do I guess she knew what she was doing (or was extremely lucky) but that was the only time in 50 years that I've ever seen that.


When living in Germany, several families I knew either had full candle trees or a mix of candles and lights. I bought several candle-holding ornaments because they are pretty ans unique, but am not brave enough to actually burn them.
 
2013-12-08 12:04:04 PM

Oldiron_79: The aluminum tree and colour wheel are great when you are tripping balls.


If you're going to spell it as "colour," shouldn't you also use "aluminium" instead of "aluminum"?
 
2013-12-08 12:36:52 PM

menschenfresser: Oldiron_79: The aluminum tree and colour wheel are great when you are tripping balls.

If you're going to spell it as "colour," shouldn't you also use "aluminium" instead of "aluminum"?


I sometimes type the brit -our spelling of things like color and armor from time to time. I guess its from where I read a lot of european history books which are generally in UK English.

"Alumininium" isnt one I encounter often from that source.
 
2013-12-08 01:56:05 PM
Dad taking every single light strand and checking to see which ones worked was a major Christmas ritual. It was also a good time to expand your vocabulary.

One year my sister found a huge cardboard Santa's sleigh near the place she worked. She brought it home and set it up, filling it with presents. We used that thing until it finally collapsed under its own weight.  The fact that something had chewed huge holes into it didn't help, just like Dad spilling Cutty Sark all over it didn't help.
 
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