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Escape Warmth in Wilton's Winter Wonderland

WILTON, Conn. – Outside the heat index makes it feel like 111 degrees. But step into Jennifer and Gary Bean's Wilton business and it's the week before Christmas.

With Dean Martin crooning "It's a Marshmallow World" from the sound system's speakers and the scent of pine yuletide trees wafting through the air, The Historical Christmas Barn offers a brief psychological respite from the brutal summer weather.

"When it gets hot, I start thinking of Christmas," said Jennifer. "It's a nice escape."

This weekend, customers can celebrate "Christmas in July" with the shop's annual storewide sale, which runs through the end of the month, coupled with its three-day Tent Sale in the parking lot.

For Kathy McDonald of Woodbury, it's never too early to start shopping for the holidays. She stopped in for some Christmas craft supplies and added to her collection of Dickens Village figurines.

The Beans purchased the now 20-year-old business about two years ago. They have an extremely loyal customer base who shop year-round, said Gary. One of the newest trends, he said, involves keeping a tree up throughout the year and changing decorations to match the season. The Historical Christmas Barn provides inspiration with dozens of themed trees throughout the shop. Halloween, Easter and Thanksgiving decorations are tucked in various corners of the store.

"This is a different shop than what you'd normally find," he said. "A lot of places import stuff from one particular area. We have stuff made in China, too, but we also bring in merchandise made in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic."

And, no matter what's going on outside, in here it's always a few days before St. Nick is due to arrive. "We definitely get into the Christmas mood earlier in the year," said Gary. "But we keep our family traditions the same at home."

The Historical Christmas Barn is located at 146 Danbury Road in Wilton. For more information call 203-761-8777.

Have you visited The Historical Christmas Barn during its Christmas in July sale? What did you buy? Leave a comment below.

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