Our Christmas tree is a very eclectic one. We always adorned it with balls and ornaments that the members of my family chose as symbolic of things that are beloved to them. Santa Claus, toys, pets through the years, different sports, feminine ornaments, and of course my favorite - sweets.

Now I realize why I really do not want to dismantle the tree. It is not so much the work involved but more the fact that putting away the Christmas decorations is a heartrending task for me. All the memories attached to each ornament that is evocative of a different period of pleasures in our lives, has to be locked away for eleven months.

One thing is clear to me though, since I was four years old and had the Golden Book “Christmas in the Country” read to me, I have been enamored with cakes and sweets. In that book, the animals in the barn are busy wrapping, packaging and baking beautiful cakes for the Christmas celebration.

As you can see by the photograph, some things never change. My visions of sugarplums will be put away lovingly and next Christmas will dance before me again to bring me renewed joy.

- Barbara Esatto, The Chocolate Goddess