But as the solstice approached, it was far from a frightful night to find a Christmas tree. There was no need to slog through snow Griswold-style.
"It still feels like fall. It does, it still feels like fall," said Sania Bauswell, an Ohio native.
At Bob's Christmas Tree Lot, Sean Walsh says business is brisk.
"It's been unexpected and actually the sales have been really well. It's been a real treat," Walsh said.
But there is at least one slick spot in town. At Maggie Daley Park, the skating ribbon is getting good use. Technology keeps it frozen, despite a night when the temperature won't dip below freezing.
There's really no need for a reminder, but here it is anyway. For a city that has endured brutal winters past, the mild weather is a welcome change for many. Because Chicagoans know, like the force, there must be balance in our weather universe.
"I can remember a couple of blizzards, I remember the polar vortex," said Brenda Summerville, a Chicagoan.
The Winter Solstice is when the Northern Hemisphere is farthest from the sun, which creates the longest night and shortest day.
"This is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. South of the equator, it's the longest day. Northern winter, and southern summer, begin at the solstice: 11:48 p.m. EST (4:48 December 22nd Universal Time). This is when the Sun reaches its southernmost declination and begins its six-month return northward," according to skyandtelescope.com.
The event is celebrated across the world, and is seen as the rebirth of the sun to some religions. At Stonehenge, an ancient site of stone formations believed to have been built in 3100 BC, thousands of people gather for the Winter Solstice. The prehistoric site becomes ceremonial grounds for druids, New Age followers and others during the Winter Solstice.
An event planned at Chicago's Adler Planetarium was canceled due to the weather. While it's unseasonably warm in Chicago, it's also raining.
After the solstice, the days start getting longer again in the Northern Hemisphere.