Jonathan Chandler.jpg

Jonathan Chandler shares information about his woodwork during the 2019 Holiday Living Show. 

’Tis’ the season to shop, or so hundreds of shoppers at the Holiday Living Show this weekend might say as they kicked off their holiday shopping at Halifax County High School on Saturday and Sunday.

The 800 shoppers Saturday had plenty to choose from with 97 vendors present, according to Pat Yancey with the Business Women’s Association of Halifax County that sponsors the annual two-day event.

She said they originally had 100 vendors register, but three had to cancel at the last minute.

“This is the most we’ve had,” said Yancey, and more shoppers were still pouring in on Sunday to take their pick.

Money raised at the Holiday Living Show goes towards the association’s scholarships, and Yancey said $9,677 had been collected from vendor fees.

Joining the vendors this year for the second year in a row was 12-year-old Isabella Daniels with her “Bellesentials,” which is her handmade soap and bath products.

“It’s really fun (attending the Holiday Living Show),” said Daniels. “We see a lot of people we know.”

Her mom, Vicki, agreed saying, “It’s about connecting with people,” and she said so many people who didn’t know about her daughter’s shop, know now.

In addition to selling at events like the Holiday Living Show and the Halifax County Fair, she has her own Etsy shop and sells on Facebook. She also has a YouTube channel where she shows how she makes her bath bombs, soaps and scrubs.

Her entrepreneur venture started three and a half years ago when she decided she wanted to earn money for gymnastics camp. She started with bath bombs, and it’s grown from there.

She learns from watching YouTube and other soap makers, and she tries to make more merchandise every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

But, she’s still dedicated to her gymnastics, with that taking about 20 hours a week, and she’s still able to contribute financially.

Even though Daniels is fairly new to the Holiday Living Show scene, other vendors like the Virgilina Women’s Club and Becky Boone with Green Hill Creations have been staples for more than 20 years.

With their Rada Cutlery, the Virgilina Women’s Club started selling at the Holiday Living Show in the 80s to raise money for worthy causes first starting with the Patrick Henry Boys’ Home, according to Cheryl Wilkins and Shirla Hudson.

They credited the late JoAnn Brewer for promoting the women’s club and their fundraisers.

“She really promoted it and kept it going,” said Wilkins.

The two said this was their main “money maker,” and that people expected them to be at the Holiday Living Show, so they intend to return each year.

“We’re not giving this up,” said Hudson.

Now that the boys’ home has closed, it goes to other causes such as Save Them One by One and My Life Matters.

And by Saturday afternoon, they had earned plenty.

“We’ve already sold out of some things,” said Wilkins. “People come back to our booth year after year. They expect us to be here.”

Traveling more than four hours from Rutherfordton, North Carolina, was Boone with her paper creations.

Ranging from skinny notebooks to snowman popcorn holders and snowman lotion holders, she had plenty to choose from for the holidays, and she had plenty of teacher gifts.

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” said Boone of the Holiday Living Show.

Even though she and her husband moved away from the area 21 years ago, they look forward to coming back to the show each year.

“It’s like being home,” said Boone, who used to be a piano teacher in the area, and the show allows her to see many of her former students.

“The people are so nice here, and the women’s club who are in charge, they’re so good. It’s just a great place to come shop for Christmas,” she added.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at