Atomic Age ladies of a certain age posing by Christmas trees


Originally published at:


is it wrong that I looked at a few of them and thought “Yeah…she’s kinda hot.”?



My grandmother had one of those silver trees with the color wheel light. So much magic…

Alas, my mom threw it all out in the 1990s when I wasn’t looking.


Calling them “Atomic Age” ladies is a bit misleading … I was hoping for fallout-shelter signs on the wall, mushroom-cloud ornaments on the tree, luminous green cocktails, two-headed dogs, etc.


I want this tree SO BAD!


I’m about the right age for this; maybe it’s due for a comeback!


I like how the colors in this one have shifted towards red and cyan:

Also the tree is marvelously uncomposed.


Those ladies obviously don’t give a flock.


I think I see at least one, maybe two, that were taken in the '70s.

Also, the bottom one on the front page of the post seems like an eerie simulacrum of my step-grandmother’s home.


I’m old enough that those pictures stir up oppressive memories. They make me feel like I’m about eight and the only kid there. “Mom, I want to go outsiiiide!”


I never realized untill the last few days how prevalent alumimum christmas trees were. Thanks, bOINGbOING. I guess I was born right after they peaked.


My grandma had one of those, too. It really was mesmerizing. I also totally expected to see her snapshot in this collection. She would’ve fit in perfectly.




Mom? Is that you?


In “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Lucy demands an aluminum tree.

Whoa. Just looked up aluminum trees and it was the Peanuts that were the demise of them.


Color wheels. Yes. I used to fixate on the changing colors reflected in the tree’s aluminum foil branches, trying to catch the color-mix transitions.


Are you sure the colors have shifted in the photograph?

Perhaps the world was differently colored at the time the photograph was taken.

I’m reminded of a favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:

Calvin: Dad, how come old photographs are always black and white? Didn’t they have colored film back then?

Dad: Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs are in color. It’s just the world was black and white then.


Oh, I know. I just wasn’t aware they were so common.


Why are these pictures so unnerving? Why?