FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, December 10, 2004

Artificial Christmas Trees Making a Comeback

Artificial Christmas trees are gaining popularity over live trees, as the newer designs look better and are easier to set up that older models, especially those that are pre-lit. Artificual trees are also safer and less messy than their all-natural cousins. Plus, they're a one-time investment that can last for many years. My pre-lit artificial tree, for instance, is a six-footer that I set up in about 15 minutes. No fuss, no muss, no strings of lights to untangle...

Those who prefer live trees seem to be favoring "choose and cut" tree farms over roadside lots. Even so, market share for live trees has fallen from 35.4 million trees sold in 1990 to 23.4 million in 2003. Conversely, sales of artificial trees have increased steadily.

A related trend is the growing interest in Evergleam aluminum Christmas trees that were popular during the 1950s and '60s. Once considered the height of tackiness, vintage aluminum tress are now highly sought after by nostalgia buffs and young hipsters with an eye toward the ironic. Interest in aluminum trees is so great that an aluminum tree museum has been established in Brevard, North Carolina.

A recent search on eBay revealed that vintage aluminum trees -- once relegated to flea markets and yard sales -- are selling for as high as $300 each. And if interest continues to grow, that price might prove to be a bargain next Christmas!

Sources: MaineToday.com, NPR (audio)