A Martha Time Of Year

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When it comes to Christmas decorating, Correspondent Bill Geist can use all the help he can get. On assignment for CBS News Sunday Morning, he set off to study at the feet of the master: Martha Stewart.

Christmas time? Yes.

But, more importantly, time for another Martha Stewart Christmas special.

I couldn't wait. I watch it every year so Martha can tell me how to celebrate the holidays lavishly, properly, and tastefully.

But, somehow, my projects never turn out quite like Martha's.

"Why do you have moth balls on a Christmas wreath? They smell so terrible," Martha chided.

"They look like little snowballs," I explained.

"Oh, I see," Martha said dubiously.

So we tossed the wreath and moved on to cookies.

"I'm making a polka-dot polar bear," Martha announced. She was making cookies from scratch, of course.

Does she buy anything at the store, ever?

"Yes, I buy flour and sugar," she said.

She doesn't maker her own sugar and flour?

"No. Domino does a good job," she replied.

Her cookies are quite unlike yours and mine. Can she possibly help the likes of me? As I loaded the pastry bag, I warned her, "This isn't going to be pretty."

Her reply: "Don't you dare get any (icing) on my sweater!" Which naturally led to the question: "Did you make that?"

Martha helpfully pointed out that my dots were not perfect. They had these nagging little fishtails on them. (I don't have to tell you that her dots were fishtail-free.) And she is so skilled with a pastry bag that she could write thank-you notes with it. ("Yes, I could," she affirmed.)

How did she learn to do all this stuff?

"It just comes naturally," she said.

Where does she find time?

"Everyone can find time to decorate cookies," she replied simply.

I was in the presence of a pastry savant.

Martha made the ornaments for her tree, too, of course. This year, Martha is making pipe cleaner ornaments. (She has better pipe cleaners than most of us have.) And, when you see her pipe cleaner Santa ornament next to mine, you can see pipe cleaners may not be my strongest medium.

Martha said we could have learned all this and more on her star-studded TV special, which featured Tony Bennett and Cyndi Lauper.

The theme of the special: Dreaming of a white Christmas.

"To me, a white Christmas is the penultimate Christmas," according to Martha.

We don't have as many of them anymore. What is it, global warming?

Can't she do anything about that?

Turns out, she can. Martha made snow on her special, better than Mother Nature's. Martha's snow didn't melt, because it was finely ground Styrofoam.

I asked her, "You think your Christmas special will help me get me on the right track?"

Said Martha, "If you watch my Christmas special, you'll have a white Christmas. I guarantee i. "

A white Christmas. It's a good thing.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.