Trees Bring Holiday Spirit to Ocean City Beaches

Trees Bring Holiday Spirit to Ocean City Beaches

The community comes together to put up Christmas trees at the North Street (pictured) and 55th Street beaches. (Photo courtesy of Dave Stout)


Two Ocean City women living on opposite ends of the island have once again brought a community together with their Christmas trees on the beach, one at North Street and the other at 55th Street.

Sue McElwee put up a tree at North Street beach on Saturday, with the help of family and friends.

“We had an amazing turnout,” McElwee said. “We have a very generous community of people who donated unwrapped toys for Waves of Caring with St. Peter’s (United Methodist) Church here in Ocean City.”

About 50 people attended the tree-decorating event. McElwee’s children, Michael, 14, Maddox, 11, Mason, 9, and 4-year-old Harlow, were on hand to help out and enjoy the fun.

People write messages on shells to leave at the North Street tree. (Photo courtesy of Dave Stout)

People lined up to admire the tree and write their special messages on shells to place around the tree.

And putting up and decorating the tree was only a small part of the fun.

“We had Christmas costumes, surfing, shell decorating, and just so much love surrounding our beach tree,” McElwee said.

This is the third year in a row that McElwee has put a tree on the beach. But last year was particularly important, she noted, because it was a small way to bring people some joy and hope during the height of the pandemic.

The tree is carried onto the North Street beach. (Photo courtesy of Dave Stout)

This year, while the community is still dealing with the pandemic, the tree remains a reminder that there is a lot of love and caring people in the world, McElwee said.

“I’m wishing that this year’s tree brings as much happiness and joy to everyone as it does for our family and friends,” she said.

Judging by comments on social media, it appeared that people did in fact appreciate the kind gesture of the North Street tree, which was donated by Eisele’s Christmas Tree Farm. A local business, Peace of Wood, created the sign in front of the tree.

Kelly Hudak, of Ocean City, posted a video of the tree decorating and said, “Sue McElwee continued their family tradition! The tree is fantastic! Thank you McElwee family! We love our North St. beach family.”

Lorie Jaworski-Smith simply said, “What a wonderful tradition! I LOVE OCNJ!”

The tree at 55th Street is larger than the one last year. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Stampone)

Across town, Ocean City resident Melanie Stampone and her family also put up a holiday tree on the beach. But this one is at 55th Street.

Last year, Stampone said in an interview with that McElwee gave her the inspiration to place a Christmas tree on her neighborhood beach for south end residents to enjoy.

“Thank you, Ponderosa Tree Farm for donating the beautiful tree, Peace of Wood for creating the sign,” Stampone said on social media this weekend. “And to all the neighbors that came out to help dig and put up the tree, thank you. What an amazing community sharing the spirit of Christmas!”

And like last year, Stampone asked people to bring extra shells to leave under the tree for others to use to leave messages.

“We will leave a sharpie for your message,” she said. “Leave a shell at the base of the tree with your message, leave a smile, leave your footprints.”

Volunteers bring the tree up to 55th Street beach. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Stampone)

Stampone noted on social media that she did not want people leaving ornaments, ribbons or pictures on the tree.

“We want to keep our beaches clean and it has been windy. Also, in January we donate the tree to a local farm for the animals to eat, so it can’t have any ornaments on it,” she said. “Don’t forget to post your pictures, we love to see them!”

Residents took to social media to remark about the tree on 55th Street, just as they did about the North Street tree.

Kathy Gibson said of the tree at 55th Street, “Beautiful!”

And Andrea Kim summed up the sentiment that seemed to be the overriding theme of the two trees, put up by two women, on opposite ends of the island, with the focus of bringing the community together.

“Grace and community,” Andrea Kim said.