Martha's Christmas Books

Every year I turn to Martha's Christmas books for inspiration and comfort. Even if I don't always have time to make the crafts or try the recipes, I take comfort in the beautiful imagery and find joy in the inspiration behind many of the ideas contained in their pages. Below is a list of Martha's Christmas books - from her first self-penned book on the holiday ("Martha Stewart's Christmas") which was published in 1989, to the more recent compendiums of holiday ideas and recipes by Martha Stewart Living magazine. My personal favourite is "Classic Crafts & Recipes For the Holidays," which was published in 2001; I learned so much about growing Amaryllis and Christmas cactus from this book. I also love the compilation of Martha's holiday-themed "Remembering" columns from the magazine that are included in the book. Which of these books do you have? What are your favourites?
Here is a full list of Martha's Christmas books. Many of them were released in both paperback and hard-cover editions. The first book, "Martha Stewart's Christmas", was initially released in hard-cover, as shown above, but was later reissued with a new paperback cover in the mid-1990s. I've indicated which ones are "must have", in my opinion.

1. Martha Stewart's Christmas: 1989 (MUST HAVE)

This is classic Martha. Look for the original, hard-cover version. In the book, Martha invites readers to join in her Christmas celebrations as she decorates her home (Turkey Hill), wraps special gifts and prepares luscious meals for friends and family throughout the holiday. Some of the projects and ideas may seem a bit dated by today's standards but they can be easily updated to suit a more modern palette and sensibility. If you enjoy vintage Martha Stewart, or seeing her former home in Connecticut all decked out for the holidays, then this book is a must.

2. The Best of Martha Stewart Living Holidays: 1994

Five years later, after Martha started her magazine, the first collection of holiday ideas from Martha Stewart Living was published by Clarkson Potter. With hundreds of ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas, including recipes, craft ideas, table settings, decorations and collecting, it's a great compilation from the first four years of the magazine. (Fun fact: the cover was photographed in Quebec, Canada.)

3. Christmas with Martha Stewart Living: 1997

Building on the 'Best Of' motif, this book gathers ideas and recipes from the magazine that center on the celebration of Christmas. In addition to ideas published in the magazine, Martha shows you how she decorates her new house in the Hamptons (Lily Pond Lane) and her home in Connecticut, Turkey Hill.

4. Decorating for the Holidays: 1998

With over 200 full-colour photographs, this book focuses solely on the practice of decorating your home for a fun and festive atmosphere. From snowman ideas to floral centerpieces, swags and garlands to Christmas trees, it has it all! (I've always found the cover of this book to be delightfully camp!)
5. Crafts and Keepsakes for the Holidays: 1999

From crafting your own holiday wreath to making something special for your loved ones, this book celebrates the homemade and the handmade spirit of the holidays: from keepsake ornaments you can make yourself, to stockings you can sew, table favours and party decorations, the book will inspire the artist in you and help you make handcrafting your holiday gifts a treasured holiday tradition.

6. Parties and Projects for the Holidays: 2000

Entertaining during the holidays is almost always a given: this book helps you inject those parties with a touch of whimsy and the handmade. Featuring recipes and holiday projects from Martha Stewart Living, the book has ideas for fun projects for kids and adults alike.

7. The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Handmade Christmas: 2001

Want to make a gingerbread mansion for Christmas? Or your own gift wrap? Or beautiful, seasonal window boxes? Or your own wreaths? Filled with instructional ideas for creating magical holiday decorations, this book celebrates the very best of Martha Stewart Living's handmade holiday projects. 

8. Classic Crafts & Recipes for the Holidays: 2001 (MUST HAVE)

This book is probably my personal favourite. It's warm and 'classic' in every way. It has a great section on how to grow and keep your holiday plants (amaryllis, Christmas cactus), pinecone crafts, ice projects and some delicious recipes you'll come back to again and again - including Mr. and Mrs. Maus's fruitcake. Peppered throughout the book are Martha's personal reflections on the holidays in a collection of her "Remembering" columns from the magazine. There are glimpses of her homes in Connecticut, the Hamptons and in Maine all dressed for the holidays. I have it on my coffee table at this very moment and I know I will page through it several times this month. It's a "classic" indeed.
9. Classic Crafts & Recipes Inspired by the Songs of Christmas: 2002

This book really takes inspiration to the next level! Using the best-loved Christmas songs as the foundation for holiday projects and recipes, it presents us with so many witty and fun ideas. The fun starts with "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - a project inspired by each of the twelve themes from the song. "Deck the Halls" focuses on using holly in unusual centerpieces and decorations. And whether you listen to Bing Crosby crooning in the background or create your own chorus, you'll enjoy preparing the classic "White Christmas" all aglow with white decorations, white foods and confections. As always, full-colour photographs and clear directions make every project easy to create. 

10: The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook: 2003 (MUST HAVE)

Here, at last, is a compilation of every Christmas recipe (600 to be exact!) that had ever been published in Martha Stewart Living magazine to this point: from her classic eggnog to Turkey 101, a myriad of cakes and cookies, sides and hors d'oeuvres, you'll find everything you need for a classic Christmas menu. And if you're stuck on menu planning, Martha provides you with suggested menus as well! My mom loves this book and often refers to it this time of year for one or two new recipes to add to her traditional favourites. 


Anonymous said...

While I enjoy the all, "Martha Stewart's Christmas": 1989 is still my favorite! If a fan does not have a copy , they are still available at very reasonable prices on eBay.
Happy Holidays to all!

ms nic said...

Which one of these titles had the paper nutcracker ornaments? I can't remember!


Hi Ms Nic, It's the "Songs of Christmas" book where you will find the nutcracker ornaments.

mymontanahistorichome said...

Hi, there! Martha made a Christmas special based on her 1989 Christmas book. This would have been done that year or in the very early 90s. Do you have a copy of that video?


@mymontanahistorichome You can find each one of Martha's Christmas specials on her TV app. Download it at MarthaStewart.tv.