25th Anniversary Countdown to Christmas: Day 20 (Martha's Calendar)

Throughout December, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I will examine 25 of the most memorable and influential people, moments and milestones at Martha Stewart's company over the last quarter century: the Martha Moments that fans are especially grateful for. I hope you enjoy these reflections on twenty-five years of excellence!


In the early 1990s, Martha's fame was on the rise. She was making regular television appearances and producing holiday TV specials. During the inaugural year of her magazine, letters began to pour in asking Martha all manner of questions, from how to fold a fitted sheet to when to prune an apple tree. Interest in Martha's personal life, too, became increasingly intense: How does Martha do this or that? When does she do it? What are her holiday plans? Where does she like to travel?

To address this interest, Martha and her editors conceived of something rather ingenious. Beginning with the July/August issue in 1992, a new calendar began to appear at the front of each issue of the magazine. It was simply called, "Martha's Calendar." It was another groundbreaking idea for the magazine and something that had not been done before in the publishing world: printing a calendar containing the personal and domestic appointments of the magazine's founder and editor-in-chief. It was a huge hit with readers who used the calendar as a guide for their own domestic chores: "If Martha is having her chimneys cleaned on this day, then I will too!" The calendar served as a list of gentle reminders for readers wanting to plan a more organized approach to home maintenance, while also offering an inside look at Martha's life: "Pack for trip to Japan. Have dogs groomed." 
The calendar evolved quite a bit over the last decade. For a time, it was pulled from the magazine completely, while Martha was fighting her legal battles. In the September, 2003, issue it was replaced by a less personal column called "Gentle Reminders" with seasonal tips and important dates for the season. Martha's Calendar returned in the April, 2009, issue in its original form - nearly six years later. Readers simply could not live without it!
After a six-year absence, the calendar returned to the magazine with the April, 2009, issue.
In 2011, the editors tinkered with the design of the calendar. It only remained this way for a few issues since it was not received well by readers.
This is the current format of the calendar as it appears in the magazine. It is now called "Martha's Month" and contains a sidebar with helpful hints for the season.
The calendar, of course, was easily parodied, and no one did it better than Martha, herself. In the April, 1999, issue of the magazine Martha published an April Fool's edition of the calendar, which you can see, above.


Rowaida said...

Dear Andrew,
Thank you very much for each post on "25th Anniversary Countdown to Christmas" Love love

Anonymous said...

Can't figuar it out.......the calendar is of little practical assistance to me, but is the first thing I read!
Bottom line ...it is interesting


Anonymous, I hear you. If I'm really honest, I must admit I almost never read it...but I do occasionally look through it to see if Martha is making any appearances. It's how I found out she was coming to the food show in Toronto in 2013, so it has its benefits!