Tinsel Covered Trees are Back!

Nostalgic tinsel trees have exploded in popularity and I can see why! The word tinsel comes from an Old French word “estincele”, which means sparkle. When I was a kid, we hung tinsel on our Christmas tree … one strand at a time!  Tinsel covered trees bring back so many memories and I love that they are making a big comeback! I’m so excited to share some of the most jaw dropping tinsel trees from here to the North Pole.

This is part of my Christmas tree decorating series and you can read more inspirations posts in the links below …

Sparse Christmas Trees Here

Ribbons & Bow Christmas Trees Here

This post contains an affiliate link which means if you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Tinsel dates back to 1610 Nuremberg, Germany where it was made using REAL SILVER that was pounded into very thin strands. It reflected the candlelight (yes, they used real candles on their trees back in the day!) Needless to say, it was EXPENSIVE not to mention that it would turn black and break when exposed to heat from the candles.

Over the years, other materials like lead were used to make tinsel but today, it’s made from PVC (plastic) coated in a metallic finish. Plastic tinsel does not hang as well as tinsel made from heavy metals such as silver and lead but life is a trade off after all (new tinsel is affordable and we won’t die from lead poisoning)!

Vintage Holiday does it again with this Christmas tree is covered in antique metal tinsel and hundreds of Shiny Brite ornaments as well as this tabletop tree covered in antique lead tinsel. I love it paired with big, colorful bulb lights!

He takes vintage Christmas to the max with his collections of Putz houses, bottle brush trees, Christmas cards strung on garland, and blow molds!

Love this little tabletop tinsel covered tree covered in retro, colorful bulbs and vintage ornaments kellyelko.com

Buy Old-Fashioned Looking Tinsel Here

Vintage Holiday may have outdone his tree from last year with this spectacular flocked tinsel tree!

He says, “My living room tree is finished and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I tinted my own flock again this year and I went with a light lilac-y shade. I’m always inspired by vintage photographs from the 1940s of trees completely covered in tinsel. So, I decided to use gobs this year to make the tree look as though it is dripping in icicles. I think she is glorious!”

Flocked Christmas tree dripping in tinsel strands!

Is that a tree hiding under all that tinsel? This tinsel covered tree from Lune 1860 is an absolute show stopper.

Here are their tips for removing tinsel: “Let the tree dry out completely, use a hard bristle brush and comb it all out. Save tinsel and use it over and over and over again.”

Christmas tree dripping in tinsel!

Erika of While Florian Sleeps draped tinsel over a fully decorated tree, that includes lots of vintage ornaments, for a lush look.

“To me, Christmas is a time for nostalgia and magic. Some of these ornaments date back to the 1940’s which is incredible!!! Each is so unique and holds many memories of Christmases past,” says Erika.

Tinsel covered Christmas tree covered in vintage glass ornaments kellyelko.com

This perfectly imperfect tree sparkles like a diamond and fittingly so because it was created by jewelry designer Lindsey Cates.

Love this Charlie Brown sparse Christmas tree covered in tinsel

I love the way Gwen Hefner hung tinsel in clusters and she says of her over the top tinsel tree, “I used about 15,000 strands of tinsel to really take it up a notch. It sure does glisten, with sunshine by day and Christmas lights by night.”

Gobs of tinsel on this gorgeous Christmas tree

David Lawson Design says, “Sparkle Szn is so close!” His tree is awash in tinsel and giant silver balls are tucked underneath.

Tinsel covered Christmas tree / kellyelko.com

Says Natalie Paramore about her tinsel tree

“1,200 warm lights⁣
16,000 strands of tinsel⁣
Not a single ornament ⁣
Willow, you’re perfect⁣

Willow is the name of our tree that she had when we got her. This year I was feeling something different for our tree. As we pulled down all the boxes from the attic full of decor and ornaments, I just wasn’t feeling inspired. Most of the ornaments have been gifted to us or passed down. And while they are very sentimental and I’ll never get rid of them, this year, I just needed something different. ⁣So, the boxes went back to the attic. Tinsel and lights galore were purchased and here we are. Couldn’t love it more.”

Christmas tree dripping in tinsel kellyelko.com

“We decorated the tree in tinsel, adding a nostalgic, whimsical touch and bringing back those old-school vibes. It’s a playful way to add some sparkle and can be a fun twist for those who love a bit of retro charm,” says Chris Loves Julia.

This massive tree dripping in silvery tinsel is a showstopper.

Huge tinsel covered Christmas Tree

Dana of Adored House says, “I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it – I tried my hand at a tinsel tree! I’m already slightly regretting it, but there’s no turning back now! It sure is pretty though.”

I love Dana’s color palette of silver, gold and green on her beautiful tinsel tree.

Love this nostalgic Christmas tree covered in tinsel and gold and silver ornaments kellyelko.com

Marcela Sampson’s tinsel covered tree is the perfect hiding place for her toddler! What fun Christmas memories this kid is going to have!

Christmas tree covered from head to toe in tinsel kellyelko.com

Richard Keith Langham deserves an award for decking out this enormous tinsel covered tree!

Giant tinsel covered Christmas tree!

Our Connecticut Home has her own creative take on a tinsel tree … minus the tinsel!

She says, “the tinsel look seems to resonate with a lot of people! It’s just small silver ball garland cut into pieces!”

Tinsel inspired Christmas Tree - love that she used garland to mimic the look of tinsel!

Tinsel and red ribbon pair to create this festive tree.

Designer J.P. Horton shares his grandparents 1948 tinsel covered Christmas tree.

1940's tinsel covered Christmas tree kellyelko.com

Let’s all channel our inner Cary Grant and Loretta Young in the Bishop’s Wife and create the most epic tinsel tree of all time!

The Bishop's Wife Tinsel Covered Christmas Tree kellyelko.com

Are you team tinsel or does the thought of hanging strand after strand of tinsel on each and every branch send you into Christmas cookie eating frenzy to self soothe?

A few years ago, my friend gave me some antique lead tinsel and it’s stunning! I don’t have enough to cover an entire tree but a girl can dream.

I always find vintage tinsel at the thrift store (not the antique, lead kind unfortunately) but if you can’t find any locally, you can find affiliate boxes of new tinsel here.

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  1. I’m old enough to remember putting tinsel on our tree one at a time! It’s fun to look at the photos, The trees are so pretty, however, my tinsel days will remain fond memories. This year I’ve noticed many people are craving simplicity. I’m going in for knee surgery tomorrow so I limited my decorating to greens, small trees, candles and fairy lights. This way I won’t feel pressure at the end of the month to put things away, lol. So I left all my beloved decorations in the trunk. There’s always next year. Thanks for sharing all the eye candy. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  2. The trees are lovely BUT highly dangerous for pets and small children. Flocked trees are also a no no for pets. Cats especially will eat the tinsel, and it can lodge in their digestive tracts- I know of cases where the tinsel had to be pulled from the poor cat’s rectum, one strand at a time. Flocking can be toxic as well.

  3. Wow, these are all incredible!! Thank you for sharing and I always love when you share history with us. I love learning new things!

  4. Tree’s dripping with tinsel are so pretty and I am glad it’s back. It makes a tree so dreamy and glamorous. When I was young my brother would make me so made, he’d just throw globs of it on our tree, I of course would pick them up and do it right, memories lol!!!

  5. Oh, I absolutely LOVE tinsel on a big fat chubby Christmas Tree! I don’t use it cuz husband doesn’t like it but I am drooling over the first tree you show! Thanks for the memories. Merry Christmas.

  6. Hey Kelly! Great posts! Can you tell me where your houses in the snow are located? I’d love to feature them! @digs_and_dwellings

    1. Last. From what I remember from my childhood anyways-and I’m only 56. And if you have pets, don’t even bother. That’s why I don’t, but I love the look!

  7. Years ago I had some tinsel that was about 7 foot long and was like a sheet you fastened around the top of the tree, and draped around it. I do know what happened to it. I have never found anymore like it. I loved it because it was so easy and looked so pretty. If anyone has some like it and wants to sell it contact me please.

  8. They are beautiful, I did wonder why they quit using it. As a little girl we used it every Christmas and saved it for the next and when we ran out, just bought another box. Thanks for bringing back all those wonderful memories.

    1. It seemed to phase out when the “modern” aluminum trees became popular. I started using tinsel two years ago and use old fashioned c7 bulb strings of lights. Found a site that sells led bulbs that look just the old style bulbs. So nostalgic.

  9. I love tinsel trees I put tinsel on my trees every year it’s a childhood memory for me it’s kind of a pain to get it off the fake trees but I do it anyway all those trees are so beautiful it it’s just a childhood memory for me

  10. So lovely! This year one of our trees has sentimental colorful ornaments and tinsel. Haven’t used tinsel in years but it is so pretty. I remember being enthralled by the bubble lights and tinsel on our trees growing up. We have bubble lights too, but not this year.

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