By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A December warmup has a lot more people outside than we typically see this time of year. The average high temperature so far this month is 30.9 degrees.

Compare that to the same date in 2016, when the average temperature was 23.1 degrees.

On this night two years ago, it dropped down to 11 degrees below zero.

“Last year, we were not out walking like this. Yeah, it feels good,” said shopper Josh Treadway.

It was 43 on Saturday, 46 on Sunday, and a balmy 36 on Monday afternoon. The gloves came off and so did the hats.

“It’s springtime,” another shopper said.

Or at least it’s sweater weather, though some die-hards could be found without sweaters.

This year, clear roads and mild temperatures are allowing would-be last-minute shoppers to take their time.

“Definitely, for our gift merchants we get a lot more people coming and browsing. It keeps people from turning to their computers to order online,” said Jennie Zafft, marketing director at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.

At this mall, shoppers have to walk outside to get from store to store.

“It’s huge. With the weather I feel like there is a sense of urgency for people,” said Goska Colbert.

Colbert is the owner of Good Things, a variety store where you can buy fake snow if you’re running out of the real stuff.

Colbert believes a busy time of year is made even busier when people can get outdoors. She said Mother Nature can take credit for a certain percentage of sales this mild December.

“Ten to 20 percent, yes. Absolutely. We’re looking at the numbers every day. We have our goals and we can look at the numbers and see where we stand. We are doing really well,” Colbert said.

John Lauritsen