Wisconsin: Aluminum Christmas trees are the stars of this museum show

Daily Deal and Travel Blogger

Remember the moment in the 1965 TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when Lucy says she wants “the biggest aluminum tree” anywhere? She was tapping into a holiday fad of the day: aluminum Christmas trees.

Now 20 of these silver, pink, gold and green trees will be on display during the holidays in “‘Tis the Season” at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison.

“It’s a huge Wisconsin story of innovation and holiday nostalgia that only the [museum] can tell,” museum spokeswoman Ellen Pincus said by email.


The Aluminum Specialty Co. in Maitowoc, Wis., was first to market the space age-looking trees, known as Evergleams, half a century ago. More than a million wound up in American homes as a substitute for--or maybe even a complement to--a traditional pine or fir, according to the museum. Faux-tree lovers placed them on revolving stands with a light wheel that cast different colors.

The company stopped making them in the 1970s, but now the trees have retro appeal.

“What began as a novel, stark departure from tradition is now an evoker of nostalgic Christmas memories,” Pincus says. (If you’re pining for your own Evergleam, all is not lost. EBay lists a bunch of them, from $99 to $900 for a 6-foot blue tree.)

The exhibit opens Tuesday and continues until Jan. 11 at 304 N. Carroll St.

Info: Wisconsin Historical Museum, (608) 264-6555