New This Month

Come to Martha's Christmas Party

The trees are decorated, the treats are abundant, and Martha's famous eggnog has been whipped into a froth. At her annual holiday party in Bedford, New York, revelers of all ages join in the joy.

On a brisk, beautifully gray afternoon in mid-December, Martha is in her element, opening her home for the holidays and entertaining a crowd of more than a hundred. “I’m moving around all the time, welcoming guests, introducing good friends, and making sure everyone has enough to eat and drink,” she says. The party is in constant motion, too: It spans three houses on her property, and everyone is encouraged to explore the farm and make their way through all three spots, each one decked out in a different yuletide theme.

The Splendid Feast

Guests begin in the main residence, where shrimp cocktail and raw oysters are offered on the front porch. Inside, Martha’s brunch buffet supplies the savory: warm baked ham and biscuits, rich salmon mousse, crisp potato pancakes, and individual cheese soufflès, hot from the oven. The summerhouse sets the scene for decadent desserts, including fanciful cookies and birthday cakes for Martha’s December-born friends (Kevin Sharkey, Susan Magrino, and Darcy Miller), as well as Persimmon Pudding and Stollen.

Let It Snow

Down the path, chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s daughter, Anna holds a prized lollipop. She's just come from the weekend home of Martha's daughter, Alexis. It's called the tenant house and today it's kid central, brimming with confections. As people flow in and out, laughter echoes across rooms, chestnuts roast on a crackling fire outside, and carolers sing on the porch. As if on cue, a soft snow begins to fall. “It’s become a holiday tradition, "says Martha. "One I look forward to every year.”

 

 

A Magical Place

The tenant house is transformed into a woodland fantasy for Martha’s littlest guests, with furry bears underfoot and a table arranged with fuzzy reindeer, bottlebrush trees dusted with snow, and hollowed-out birch branches holding votive candles. Her playlist of cheerful tunes -- “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” -- rings through the rooms, and she makes sure there are oodles of candies and cookies (chewy molasses, buttery pistachio wreaths, and Alexis’s decadent chocolate chip) to satisfy every kind of sweet tooth.

The More, The Merrier

Guests included Martha’s nephew Morgan and his daughter, Beatrix, and actress Blake Lively, shown giving a squeeze to Ella and Pippa Nussbaum, two of Darcy Miller’s daughters.

Flights of Fancy

Martha has been collecting artificial Christmas trees of all kinds -- in varying shades, new and old, short and plump, tall and lean, and everything in between (many of which she created for The Home Depot) -- for decades, preferring this approach to cutting down living evergreens. In her bird room, above, she sticks to a green-and-white palette. On a sideboard, a pair of mint-colored trees, dripping with glittery ornaments and crystals, sit in birch-bark-covered vessels topped with cotton-wool “snow.”

Deck the Halls

Martha puts up dozens of trees each year. In her living room a magical tree glows warmly (above left). She purchased the faux stunner prestrung with lights --“a real timesaver,” she says --  and dressed it up in green and yellow ornaments. The stand is concealed by a wicker-basket tree skirt. 

Forest Fantasy

In Martha’s dining room, two shimmering silver trees covered in pearly-white ornaments flank the fireplace. Mercury glass reindeer adorn its mantel. 

The Sweetest of Endings

Vintage trees from Germany have soft-pink goose feathers in place of needles. They're placed on top of countertops in the summerhouse. Dotted with metallic glass balls in subtle hues of copper, bronze, and gold, they match the milk-glass cake stands, which are piled with iced cookies.