Monday, December 17, 2012

Keeping the Faux Fires Burning

The home I grew up in had a wood burning fireplace and we took advantage of it on many Winter nights, adding glow and warmth to the holiday season and the long cold months that follow in St. Louis.  It also provided a place to hang our stockings in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.  I always wondered what kids without fireplaces or chimneys did about Santa.  While looking through some of my wife's childhood photos, I found how some people resolved that dilemma.

My wife never had a fireplace and for Christmas, her family would assemble a cardboard replica.  It can be seen in the background in this picture from approximately 1972.  She's in the middle between her older brother and their dog.  Her younger sister is on the left.

After seeing that, I was determined to find one at a garage or estate sale.  February of this past year, I found one at an estate sale in Oakville.  I had seen it in pictures on, but I couldn't make the Friday debut.  I stood in the bitter cold to be first in line on Saturday and it paid off. The fireplace was still there and was marked half off.

It was still in it's original box and had it's instructions.  It was missing a few of the cardboard clips that hold it together, but fortunately those are easily reproducible.

The back of the box has a Santa and Reindeer that can be cut out and mounted through slots on the mantle.  Luckily for me, the previous owner hadn't done this and the box was still intact.

Here is it assembled next to my aluminum Christmas tree.

The mantle decorated with other finds from this past year

Missing from the fireplace was the light cord that mounts in the cardboard flames to simulate fire.  I stole one from one of my blow mold figures and put in a red flicker bulb.  It works great.  I received a tip from another blog that you can purchase the replacement cords at Ace Hardware.  It's also missing the spinner which creates "realistic fireglow effects".  It looks like this:

The tube is easy enough, but the spinner might be a little hard to replicate.  I may give it a try with some stock aluminum flashing I have.


  1. couldn't you cut one out of a disposable aluminum pot-pie tin or regular-sized pie tin? for about buck, it would be worth a try...

  2. A pot-pie tin is a good idea. That would be easier to cut. Trying to think... The last time I had a pot pie, it wasn't in a metal tin, but a paper one for microwaving. I'll have to find one that still comes in the metal tin. On the other hand, I think the Mrs. Smith pies still come in the metal tin which I could use as well.

  3. you can buy them in a stack of 6 at the grocery store in the baking aisle -- i only know this because i did recently. cheap!

  4. We had the Aluminum tree with giant rotating color wheel for many years, went to relatives then goodwill eventually, bad move


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...