IT'S the first thing that hits you when you pull into Craig and Laurelle Mc Clellan's driveway on the Mornington Peninsula.
Lined up in a row like regimental soldiers extending to the horizon is a sea of Christmas trees.
Christmas Tree Farm, in Moorooduc, has been in the Mc Clellan family for almost 30 years.
Craig and wife Laurelle started their family business as a 5 acre block, selling wild Christmas trees.
This has since grown into a flourishing 140 acre Christmas tree farm on Stumpy Gully Rd in Moorooduc, selling up to 25,000 trees annually.
"We have three kids and we started when the eldest one was 10 years of age," Mr Mc Clellan said.
"Our kids have grown up in the Christmas tree business."
The Mc Clellans say they helped revolutionise the cut Christmas tree industry in Australia when they first began 30 years ago, refining the practice - and more importantly the shape - of the Christmas tree in Australia.
"We totally changed the way Christmas trees were produced in this country,'' Mr Mc Clellan said.
"It's been a very interesting business, being right at the start of it, from what it was then to what it is now, it's become entirely different.''
After first starting the Christmas Tree Farm, the pair went to the United States to explore and research foreign Christmas tree production and markets.
They learned techniques of shaping and keeping Christmas trees which better suited the Australian market back home.
"I think that's principally been our success - we were able to satisfy this notion of what people had in mind as a tree, rather than what was being offered in the marketplace,'' Mr Mc Clellan said.
A short while after the Mc Clellans perfected techniques to shape the tree, they say they brought a different and safer concept of a Christmas tree stand back to Australia.
"The introduction of the water stand really changed the whole business,'' he said.
"Thirty years ago, most Christmas trees were cut down 7-10 days before Christmas, because everybody knew that by the time dad dragged it home, chucked it in a bucket of dirt - the thing was looking pretty average by Christmas Day,'' Mr Mc Clellan said.
"It changed people's buying habits.
Instead of waiting for the last 7-10 days, just before Christmas...people started to put their tree up at the traditional time of the 1st of December confident in the knowledge that the tree would still be looking good by the 25th.''
But Mr Mc Clellan is adamant the life of a Christmas tree farmer is not always merry.
The growth cycle for the Monterey pine is four years.
They also flush out and need to be reshaped twice a year.
"That's 25,000 trees sheared twice a year...50,000 shearings a year,'' Mr Mc Clellan said.
"By hand,'' Mrs Mc Clellan added.
With the Christmas Tree Farm working toward bringing holiday cheer year-round, the Mc Clellans say their own Christmas is a quiet one.
"We go to my daughter-in-laws, or my daughter's, and just relax,'' Mrs Mc Clellan said.
"It's a very good life growing Christmas trees, interrupted by Christmas,'' Mr Mc Clellan joked.
Two weeks after the harvest and Christmas periods are over, the year-round cycle begins all over again with a clean up of the farm.
But according to the pair, it's all worth it when the kids come down to the farm
Sharon Burgess and son Jarrah Burgess, 16, of Frankston South, said come down to the Christmas Tree Farm every year and pick out a fresh tree to decorate.
Adorned in a Christmas hat, she brought along nephew Jet James, 4, to help pick out the new tree.
"It's artificial if you have an artificial tree," Ms Burgess said.
And Mr Mc Clellan agrees:
"Having a plastic Christmas tree is a little like having a bunch of plastic flowers, or eating a plastic chook for Christmas - you just don't do it," he laughs.