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O.B. Christmas tree: too normal

Loma Portal family donates star pine

The tree arrives at the beach
The tree arrives at the beach

The journey of the Ocean Beach Christmas tree always has a good backstory and this year was no exception.

The tree was donated by a family in the Loma Portal area. Sal and Nancy DeMaria, local realtors, have owned their home since 1996. Nancy said, "When our kids were in high school, kids would come and [toilet-paper] the tree, and it was always a lot of work to get that toilet paper off of there. One year we had to hire a cherry picker to get it all down."

Sal told me "that the star pine was probably planted at the time the house was built in 1931. It would have been a sapling then, and has grown about a foot a year since that time."

Claudia Jack of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association has been organizing the removal and setup of the tree for the past 22 years. She told me that she has trees lined up for the next three years.

"As far as I know, we are the only beach community in the country that has a tree put right into the sand," Jack claimed. "There is a permanent manhole beneath the sand that is eight feet deep. The tree still has to be trimmed to get it to fit into that hole."

Usually, homeowners donate a tree because the roots are undermining their house, but Sal told me, "Nope, no problem with the roots. We just wanted to donate the tree to the community."

Jack told me it can cost $5000 and $6000 to have a tree of this size removed. This year's tree was about 65 feet once it was put into the sand; the crane operator reported that the tree weighs 10,000 pounds.

Locals have been posting comments on social media wondering if this tree will have the usual Charlie Brown Christmas tree look. Other than some crookedness at the top where it was sheared off by winds a few years ago (and a new top regenerated), it is one of the more normal-looking trees for O.B. Onlookers watching it being planted in the sand were already complaining that it looked "too normal."

O.B. Christmas Parade, Saturday, December 6, at 5:05 p.m. On December 4, at 5:30 p.m., the Ocean Beach Town Council will hold their holiday auction at Sunshine Company Saloon to benefit a food and toy drive. The old O.B. entryway sign will be up for auction this year.

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The tree arrives at the beach
The tree arrives at the beach

The journey of the Ocean Beach Christmas tree always has a good backstory and this year was no exception.

The tree was donated by a family in the Loma Portal area. Sal and Nancy DeMaria, local realtors, have owned their home since 1996. Nancy said, "When our kids were in high school, kids would come and [toilet-paper] the tree, and it was always a lot of work to get that toilet paper off of there. One year we had to hire a cherry picker to get it all down."

Sal told me "that the star pine was probably planted at the time the house was built in 1931. It would have been a sapling then, and has grown about a foot a year since that time."

Claudia Jack of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association has been organizing the removal and setup of the tree for the past 22 years. She told me that she has trees lined up for the next three years.

"As far as I know, we are the only beach community in the country that has a tree put right into the sand," Jack claimed. "There is a permanent manhole beneath the sand that is eight feet deep. The tree still has to be trimmed to get it to fit into that hole."

Usually, homeowners donate a tree because the roots are undermining their house, but Sal told me, "Nope, no problem with the roots. We just wanted to donate the tree to the community."

Jack told me it can cost $5000 and $6000 to have a tree of this size removed. This year's tree was about 65 feet once it was put into the sand; the crane operator reported that the tree weighs 10,000 pounds.

Locals have been posting comments on social media wondering if this tree will have the usual Charlie Brown Christmas tree look. Other than some crookedness at the top where it was sheared off by winds a few years ago (and a new top regenerated), it is one of the more normal-looking trees for O.B. Onlookers watching it being planted in the sand were already complaining that it looked "too normal."

O.B. Christmas Parade, Saturday, December 6, at 5:05 p.m. On December 4, at 5:30 p.m., the Ocean Beach Town Council will hold their holiday auction at Sunshine Company Saloon to benefit a food and toy drive. The old O.B. entryway sign will be up for auction this year.

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