Handmaids & Friends
From left, crafters Glenda Martin, Bonnie Helm, Linda Smith and Van Johnson will participate in the 27th Handmaids & Friends Craft Show Nov. 23-25. (SUBMITTED)
York, PA -- Bonnie Helm loves Christmas.

So when her mother began a craft show out of her home in Charlotte, Helm latched on to the idea.

Her sister, Connie Cline, opened the first floor of her house on North Manheim Street in Springettsbury Township and, together, Cline and Helm began their own tradition.

"We started it to raise some money for Christmas gifts, just three or four of us," Helm said.

The response was huge -- 2,000 to 3,000 people in just four days.

"We were overwhelmed, we had so many people," Helm said.

The Handmaids & Friends Craft Show continued for 25 years, moving out of Cline's home in its 21st year and into a rented storefront.

But 13 years ago, when Helm opened The Front Porch Tea Room adjacent to her home in Hallam, the craft show ended.

"I said, I can't do this anymore," Helm said.

Her customers didn't let her off the hook easily, though. They continued to ask Helm when she would host another show.

In 2011, Helm conceded, opening the Handmaids & Friends Craft Show for its 26th year. Themed Christmas trees, centerpieces, wreaths, gifts and homemade baked goods filled the first floor of the tea room and Helm's house, and about 1,000 people came through.

This year, Helm is hoping for more.

"I've been crafting all year," Helm said. "We go into high gear from July on."

She paused, then laughed. "I'm 69 years old. I'm getting too old to do this."

Helm relies on a support system of crafters, many of whom have been involved with the show since its inception.

"Over the years, we even had our kids crafting," Helm said. "Our husbands, God love them, put up with it."

Offerings this year include Victorian-, angel-, music-, Santa- and snowmen-themed trees, plus ornaments, holiday decorations and more.

The kitchen will be filled with homemade goods including pound cake, pies and jellies, including one of Helm's specialties: Christmas morning jam, made from peach schnapps and cranberry juice.

"Everything is for sale," Helm said.

Handmaids & Friends 2
This snowman is an example of the crafts that will be available to buy. Items range from holiday decorations to homemade baked goods. (SUBMITTED)
"And everybody does a little bit of everything."

717-771-2090, @sarahEchain

If you go

What: 27th Handmaids & Friends Craft Show

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 23-24, 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 25

Where: The Front Porch Tea Room and Bonnie Helm's house, 25-27 W. Market St., Hallam

Admission: Free

Details: Parking is to the rear. For details, call 717-755-6596