ST. CHARLES, Mo. – People throughout the St. Louis area are preparing for winter, as the chilly weather has returned and will only get colder over the weekend.

It is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas on Main Street.

“The bookstore was full, it felt like Christmas traditions has already started,” said Ellen Hall, co-owner of Main Street Books. “It hasn’t, so I think the cold air gave everybody the energy of ‘Oh my gosh, I got to start my Christmas shopping.’”

With a double-digit drop in temperature, Main Street Books is one of many shops already in full swing, getting ready for their big tourism season with St. Charles Christmas Traditions starting at the end of the month.

“This is when we make our most money,” Hall said. “Some of the stores aren’t even profitable until the last three months of the season.”

Down the block, Kilwins’ customers are also taking a cue from the chilly weather.

“Yesterday was really warm, and I thought that was going to be really busy because it’s the last warm day for the year,” said Eli Vandersaul, a manager at Kilwins. “But today was even busier.”

With the recent roller-coaster weather, it is easy for extreme cold and high heating bills to sneak up on you. Oftentimes, this leads to people using space heaters and even ovens to stay warm.

“People push their luck, and that’s what bothers me,” said Gentry Trotter, founder of Heat Up St. Louis. “I’ve seen many cases, I’ve been at sites where kids have wound up dead of smoke inhalation, where people have been burned to death. I don’t want to see that ever again.”

Heat Up St. Louis reminds people to check on their elderly, disabled, and low-income neighbors.

“Inflation, weather, global warming, it’s been hell,” Trotter said. It’s going to get worse as we go further and further.”

To find more information and resources for Heat Up St. Louis, click here.