In the back on Anna and Art Fowler’s home, one they’ve owned for several decades, is the family sun room. It’s a perfect place to sit and welcome in a new day. It’s even an ideal spot to nestle in and talk or drink a morning cup of coffee.
During the holiday season, particularly around Christmas time, the room takes on a different tone; it undergoes a transformation and becomes a winter wonderland, home to a Christmas village like no other.
“It’s pretty, but it’s also sentimental, and it means a lot to me,” Anna said.
The Christmas village has several different town settings and has become a holiday tradition in the Fowler family.
There’s a tiny Marsh supermarket, a Christmas carnival with moving Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, a snow-covered hill with sledders, a miniature church, several tiny Santa Claus figures — including one of him riding off into the sky pulled by his reindeer — and more.
The village is also set in an artificial snow-filled landscape with Christmas music playing throughout.
About 25 years ago, Anna, 73, saw daughter-in-law Joanie Fowler’s tiny Christmas village and was inspired to create one of her own.
“Mine was nothing compared to hers,” Joanie Fowler said. “I don’t know if words can do hers justice.”
Anna started out with seven or eight hand made ceramic pieces; through the years she has created, bought or been given hundreds of pieces to add to the collection.
Daughter-in-law Kelly Fowler helped make the village bigger this year. She donated several pieces from her mother’s Christmas village.
“Each year there is something different — it’s never the same, and we just love it,” Kelly Fowler said.
Anna first started displaying her Christmas village under the Christmas tree, but as the years passed, the village became too big, so she moved it into the living room. When the village became too big for the living room, she and her husband built the sun room on the back of the house to accommodate it.
The sun room has became the perfect spot for the 28-feet-by-4-feet Christmas village display, the Fowlers said.
Each winter, right after Thanksgiving, Anna and her husband Art, 75, turn the room into a Christmas lover’s delight. Art helps Anna create the village and makes sure the glowing pieces, the ones needing electricity, have power.
“It always means something a little extra when she gets it all put up,” Art said.
When Anna looks at the village, it takes her back to her childhood and reminds her of how much she loved being with family for Christmas.
She was one of six children with a stay-at-home mom who was also a “Christmas person,” Anna said.
Her mother passed down the love and magic of the season to Anna, who hopes she brings the feeling of Christmas to life with the Christmas village.
She loves to stand and look down on the Christmas village. She said it looks like an ideal small town at Christmastime.
Through the years the grandchildren, who are now grown, still look forward to seeing the village. A few years ago, when Anna wasn’t feeling well, she almost didn’t put the village out; but her grandson, who lives next door, persuaded her to do it.
“He said, ‘Grandma, we can’t have Christmas without the village,’” Anna said. “It showed me how much it meant to him.”