The perfect Christmas tree takes all year

For most people thoughts of Christmas end on December 26 - unless they work on a Christmas tree farm.

Then it's a year-round job ensuring that the rest of us have a live tree for December next year.

Tanya Pyers, co-owner of Santa's Farm at Albion Park, will have a brief post-Christmas break before preparing to plant the next crop of seedlings.

"Boxing Day we do nothing," Ms Pyers said.

"Early January we have to go through and clean up the paddock from everyone walking through it. We clean up all the stumps and tidy up the area.

"Then about August we replant. The seedlings would die if we planted them in summer because they couldn't stand the heat.

"Throughout the year we mow and spray. And we prune three times a year as well - about February-March we do that, another pruning in August and the last prune in September."

That pruning is important because, without it, you wouldn't get that lovely triangular-shaped tree with a point at the top for a star or fairy.

The seedlings that will be planted in August won't have people's Christmas presents underneath them until 2018 - the trees take five years to grow.

Despite having about 10,000 trees growing on the farm at any one time, the family's main source of income is cattle.

Any trees that were planted five years ago but didn't find a home this year are unlikely to be around for Christmas time in 2013.

"Some of them we might be able to keep, the smaller ones," she said.

"But with the rain we've had throughout the year, we'll have to pull most of them out because they're just too big.

"Some you can hold back for next year but there's a lot there this year that have got too big on us, so we're just going to have to pull them out."

And in case you're wondering why they don't just cut those trees down the sides and prune them into shape, Ms Pyers said it doesn't work that way.

"That's the thing with the Christmas trees, if you want that perfect shape, you just can't go lopping the top off," she said.

"They just won't get that tip ever again."

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