Every year, when the Blessed Shopping Season rolls around, I am seized by a desire so unreasoning, so beyond absurd, that it shames me to name it: I wanna be Martha Stewart. Watching her Christmas special, I felt the familiar tendrils of madness slowly creeping along my neural pathways, and as usual, did not know whether to shake my head or hang it. To understand the senseless nature of this phenomenon, there is something you must know about me. I am the Anti-Martha, a woman whose housekeeping style is proudly based on a lifelong belief that if God did not want things all over the floor, He would not have invented gravity. My office, my one refuge from the ravages of the borderline obsessive-compulsive neat-freak Mr Puff, is a towering monument to glorious chaos, a happy salad of tossed papers, CDs, FedEx envelopes, books, shredder-destined junkmail, and the assorted flotsam of that neo-feudal corporate oppression known as "work." But being messy does not mean that I scoff at aesthetics. My random hodgepodge piles of stuff are tastefully frosted with assorted bling and general fashion accessories, runners-up in last Tuesday's ShimmaPuff's Next Top Pendant challenge, eliminated contestants from the most recent episodes of Last Scarf Standing. In the kitchen, I am an unreformed Kirsten Cohen (though that and a happy marriage are absolutely the only things I have in common with her). I am an accomplished orderer-in, a reknowned arranger of lovely dinners lovingly prepared by other people. But every year, I watch Martha doing something like making merengue snowmen that require about nineteen steps of preparation, beginning with separating eggs, something I just don't do, have never done, and am not likely to do, and I suddenly want to be a person who owns like seven different piping tubes, and actually makes chocolate mousse with which to fill the half-baked scooped out merenge snowman bellies (step nine, I think, or maybe step fourteen) and merrily a-piping we will go. Martha winds twine around a balloon, the beginning of what will be a lacy, glittery ball, and they look exactly like some ornaments I saw in a fancy department store for $12 each, and I resolve to buy a dozen or so of them, since I also saw the exact same thing in the dollar store, sold on cards of two each. Why, oh, why, do I feel that it would be at once incredibly stupid and strangely desirable to go to the craft store, spend $10 or so more, and get the balloons and string instead, and spend an afternoon winding and brushing on watered down Elmer's glue? (Martha and her fellow TV show hosts call it "craft glue.") Now Martha is separating more eggs. For her, it's a lifestyle, I guess, this egg separating thing. For me, an activity as far removed from my own life experience or probability of becoming part of same as bungee jumping. Martha is, it turns out, making eggnog from scratch. It just so happens that eggnog is one of the things I am in charge of for our own family's Blessed Shopping Season celebrations, and I wince and fidget as she adds bourbon, rum, AND cognac (use a good one, she warns) to her egg yolks and the third or fourth different kind of sugar she has mentioned in this one show. I imagine her pantry, with six or seven matching canisters, hand labeled in fine calligraphy, each one containing its own kind of sugar, and cast a baleful eye on my own two admittedly beautiful matching cannisters, right out there on the "bar," a big one full of Splenda (That would be for me and my Shugga Dye Bead Ease) and a small one full of sugar for Mr Puff. The one lonely kind of sugar that has ever passed our door... Use your whisk attachment, she instructs, as she goes to beat up her egg whites in her $4000 standing mixer. Or maybe it is her heavy cream, for her eggnog. I think of the cartons of Borden's very fine eggnog with which, in combination with the excellent products of the Cool and Red-Whip companies, I have delighted loved ones for decades. Each little cup blended exactly to the taste of the recipient. Lotta eggnog, little bit of Redi-Whip, half cup of Cool-Whip, dollop of eggnog, two fingers, three fingers, half a pinky of Flor de Caña or Gifiti, both or none, and a shake or not of McCormick's ground cinnamon because the supermarket was out of the store brand. Martha is grating nutmeg now, and it hits me. I am going to really wow 'em this year. I'm going to buy me a nutmeg grater, I am. And a nutmeg. And instead of that shake of cinnamon, I am going to personally grate a little sprinkle of fresh nutmeg onto the Borden-Redi-Whip-Gifiti eggnog cocktail of every last loved one, whether they say they want any or not. How do they know? At long last, I have found an outlet, a way to assuage my annual IwannabeMarthaStewart attack. Plus, our tree is going to have glittery lacy balls just like Martha's. I'm off to the dollar store!