For most folks, the Christmas season starts getting serious right after Thanksgiving.

Not with Josie Jenn.

For this Newton resident, Christmas begins in earnest a month earlier, when a parade of more than 200 carefully wrapped snowmen begin to vacate their off-season cardboard box homes and march to their assigned positions.

Most are on basement shelves, but there are snowmen in the kitchen, the front landing and, of course, the yard.

Each one is different from the other, but they all share one thing in common: They bring their owner — and visitors — a heaping dose of good tiding and cheer.

“They’re just fun,” said Jenn when posed with the proverbial question of why one would amass such a collection.

It all began 38 years ago, when Jenn, who works at Newton Medical Center as a physical therapy aide, married Bill Jenn. Bill was raised on an Iowa farm and, in his family, Christmas decorations were not as big a deal as they were with Josie’s, whose mother always put out numerous Christmas items.

A collection under way

So Josie got Bill steeped in her family’s traditions, and started buying snowmen and putting them out as decorations.

Only one thing: It didn’t stop with just a few snowmen.

She would pick up a snowman wherever she went — stores, second-hand shops and garage sales. Especially fruitful were day-after-Christmas sales — when deep discounts prevail.

And friends soon started giving Jenn snowmen as gifts.

Little by little, the collection took on a life of its own.

Bill has learned to like the little guys and helps put them up and down — even if he can’t believe how many are now in the collection.

“There has to be a stop to it,” he told his wife.

But no, there is none that can be seen.

Also awestruck by the wintertime fellows are Josie’s girlfriends, many who gathered recently at the house for a Christmas party.

“Oh, it was cozy,” Jenn said of the crowd of 16 women and 200-plus snowmen. Jenn also had an angel collection under way for a while, but put that one on hold to concentrate on the snowmen.

Only one of the snowmen that she knows of is an antique.

“He’s ugly, but kind of cute, too,” Jenn said.

Bringing cheer

The collection is not intended to bring Jenn monetary gain and she has scant interest in selling the items.

The couple, who has one grown son, don’t have any little grandchildren or pets running around their house and that’s probably a good thing for the collection’s preservation as the items are fragile and vulnerable if knocked over.

The practice of making snowmen, according to chronicles and diaries, has a long and rich history.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, tradition has it snowmen were made following each new snowfall.

Snowmen usually were given their personality with sticks, rocks, coal and vegetables stuck into them, and, of course, a smile, as they were to brighten up an otherwise dreary time of year.

Jenn’s cheery snowmen continue presenting their seasonal greetings until mid January, when the couple begin the laborious process of wrapping each one up and putting them into seasonal hibernation — until next year’s Christmas, when the process starts anew.

For Jenn, it just makes sense the snowmen are out with their warm personalities when they are — when it’s cold, bleak and snowy outside.

“They just fit in with the season,” she said.