Martha Stewart hit a major milestone in her career this month.
The lifestyle expert is celebrating 30 years of her magazine Martha Stewart Living. Stewart gave PEOPLE a first look at the anniversary cover, which shows her at home in front of an impeccably decorated Christmas tree. (Martha Stewart Living is published by PEOPLE's parent company Meredith Corp.)
"We've done an awful lot with this magazine," she tells PEOPLE. "We really changed a lot in magazine publishing for the home and for lifestyle content."
Inside the celebratory December issue, which is on stands Nov. 20, Stewart, 79, and her editorial staff highlight their best recipes, home decor styles, and entertaining tips from the past three decades. Stewart reveals her favorite covers ("I chose 50 covers and they made me cut it down to 16 covers," she laughs), and gives a behind-the-scenes look at her Christmas party last year at her Bedford, New York farmhouse, which became the backdrop of the most recent cover.
Stewart's fellow celebrity chefs and friends chime in throughout the issue with what they think makes her such an iconic figure.
"I love when Martha is on the show," says Today's Al Roker. "She can be a little naughty, and no matter how many times I’m with her, I always laugh and think, 'How saucy.' "
"Martha is just curious about the world, always asking questions and learning from people around her—and she loves food as much as I do," adds chef José Andrés. "She ‘lives young.’ I think she’s even more of a millennial than I am!”
A look back at the very first issue (above), shot at Stewart's first house in Turkey Hill, Conn., proves that Martha Stewart Living's mission has remained constant for the past 30 years: make a beautiful home life accessible to all. (It's also evidence of how little Stewart has aged!)
"We have prided ourselves on creating a library of content that is voluminous and useful," Stewart tells PEOPLE. "You can look up pretty much anything, and something will come up about, 'Martha does it this way or this is how we suggest how to do it.' "
"That library of content is something that I'm extremely, extremely proud of."
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