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'It's not work': 89-year-old Calgarian enjoying selling Christmas trees


Merle Smith has been selling Christmas trees since 1957.

"Work doesn't feel like work if you enjoy it. So, for me, it's not work," the 89-year-old said.

When he first started selling trees, he recalls they were priced around $2.50 each.

Signs on his lot now display prices of $35, $45 and $65.

While prices may have risen, some of his customers have remained loyal, with families returning for generations.

"They come and say, 'We wouldn't have a tree without you -- you're part of our tradition,'" Smith said.

For Smith, the joy comes from having children on the lot -- something he truly enjoys.

"I love interacting with the little kids. I'll chase them around and nearly have a heart attack," he said.

At his peak, Smith was selling 800 trees and managing seven lots.

Now, he operates just one located at 26th Street and 28th Avenue S.E.

"I know another fellow, and I think he's down to maybe three lots," Smith said.

Though the Christmas tree market has changed over the years, Smith's spirit remains resilient.

"I couldn't just sit in the front room of my home when I could be out here having fun with the kids and sharing jokes with the adults," he said.

Smith still has approximately 200 trees left to sell. Top Stories

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