The Saga of the Christmas Trees of Ocean Beach

by on December 15, 2021 · 4 comments

in History, Ocean Beach

Originally posted Dec. 13, 2021

By Eric DuVall / Point Loma – OB Monthly / Dec. 13, 2021

What do you know about the OB tree? It always leans to the left … right? Well, that would depend on your vantage point. Or what side of the (chain link) fence you’re on.

But all that aside, the Ocean Beach community Christmas tree is greeting its 41st consecutive season this year, and its preposterous, zany and improbable history is certainly something to celebrate.

What’s that you say? A few decades doesn’t qualify as history in your book? Then take heart, for the tradition of a community Christmas tree in Ocean Beach really goes back almost a century.

A deep dive into the recesses of the Ocean Beach Historical Society’s archives revealed that the earliest record we have of a similar fete was the Christmas Tree Festival at Lomaland in Point Loma in 1909.

Writing in the Palo Alto Citizen, L.P. Prathward described the event as “by far the most delightful celebration of the yuletide holiday we had ever witnessed. A beautiful Shetland pony, Exile, loaded down with great bags containing presents” for the children of Lomaland, was led into the rotunda of the Temple of Peace, where each child came forward one by one to select a gift.

The earliest Ocean Beach community Christmas tree that we know of was decorated on Christmas Eve 1926. The tree was displayed at the corner of Newport Avenue and Cable Street and was a collaborative effort by the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club and the OB Chamber of Commerce.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie December 15, 2021 at 11:37 am

Loved this article.

I think this year’s OB tree is beautiful and has brought a lot of joy to many.


OB John December 19, 2021 at 8:15 am

The OB Orphan Tree is a tradition I think we should be proud of here. It seems to me that it just keeps on surviving each year in the face of various vandals and attacks and OBceans just keep propping it back up when damaged and move on with life unlike Fox news who thinks it’s a sign of the beginning of the end of civilization when a homeless, mentally ill (or maybe not) person burns their, claimed, $500K tree down. Christmas in OB just wouldn’t be the same without our REAL tree.


sealintheSelkirks December 4, 2022 at 6:59 pm

Looked at the OB Hotel cam tonight and the tree looks really good. A lot of work went into doing this. Very cool. Yes, it definitely leans left from the cam with the Pier in the background!

The peace sign isn’t very visible but I guess it is facing up Newport not the cam. I could see putting up a bigger one maybe?

Congrats on whomever worked to get it like this. And I don’t even celebrate Christmas but Winter Solstice instead. Good job, folks! Nice to see the vendors leaving the space clear, too!



Geoff Page December 5, 2022 at 11:02 am

Well, I’ll be Scrooge. I hate the killing of a beautiful tree every year for this and the big left lean joke is getting stale. This year’s tree was a beautiful tree and it is not crooked. It could easily be straightened with a guy wire and at least die in dignity standing tall as it did in life.


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