MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The most wonderful time of the year is getting off to a gloomy start.

Cloudy skies and fog hung over the downtown Minneapolis skyline most the day.

At a Christmas tree lot at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, owner Scott Barriball compared the forecast to those of years past.

“We’ve had times where it was 20 below this week, where people would just drive their car, point at a tree, we’d take it down and put it on their car, and away they’d go,” Barriball said. “They’d never even get out.”

Managers at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove say they’re not worried about melting snow. They already have a good base for cross-country skiers, and the ability to make more snow.

Hal Nelson says he skis several times a week for exercise. He’s dreading the warm-up.

“As it melts, then it freezes, then you get ice,” Nelson said.

Back at the Christmas tree lot, shopper Suzanne Herrick is also bummed about the weather, but it’s because she won’t be here for it.

“I’m sad too because it’s supposed to be nice and warm,” Herrick said. “Where was it in November? That what I want to know (laughs).”

Even though it will be much warmer than it usually is for mid-December, it will not be sunny. The cloudy conditions we saw Thursday are expected to linger for several days.

We’ll get the warmth, but not the sunshine.

The second weekend in December is a popular time for holiday parties and black-tie events. A lot of people will be glad they’re not dealing with a snowstorm.