When Martha Stewart throws a holiday party, she doesn’t mess around. Every year, about 10 days before Christmas, America’s high priestess of entertaining invites more than 200 guests to her Bedford, New York, farm for an over-the-top open house straight out of the pages of her namesake magazine. There are strolling carolers and multiple Christmas hams; giant bowls of oysters, shucked à la minute and served with champagne; and one entire house (there are three on the property) devoted solely to festive desserts. “You never know what or who you’re going to see,” Stewart says. “Last year, Blake Lively came with her two children, and when you look at them sitting on the floor eating a giant piece of meringue cake, it’s just fantastic. They’re so beautiful, and they’re stuffing themselves! It’s special for them.” Special for everyone, really. How could it not be, when the main house alone is festooned with a minimum of 20 Christmas trees? “But it doesn’t look overdecorated,” Stewart is quick to point out. “You don’t feel like you’re walking into Bergdorf Goodman or something—at least, I hope not.” For Stewart, Christmas Eve itself is a more intimate affair, spent with her two young grandchildren and her daughter, Alexis, at their place in the city, where the family feasts on Alexis’s homemade fettuccine with truffles or caviar and opens their no-doubt gorgeously wrapped presents. Martha’s rule of thumb for successful gifting is simple: “If it’s something I desperately want to keep for myself, I know it’s really nice.”
Martha Stewart, at home in Bedford, New York, wears
a Row sweater and Charvet shirt; Heidi Carey earrings.