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.
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)!
This Christmas tree is covered in antique metal tinsel that drips from its branches! Hundreds of Shiny Brite ornaments and an old glass tree topper add to the nostalgic feel of this tree from Vintage Holiday who says, “This is my favorite tree I’ve ever done and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
Vintage Holiday does it again with 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!
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.
“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.”
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.
Marcela Sampson’s tinsel covered tree is the perfect hiding place for her toddler! What fun Christmas memories this kid is going to have!
Designer J.P. Horton shares his grandparents 1948 tinsel covered Christmas tree.
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!
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.
Love vintage Christmas?