Years ago, my dad's cousin made us an Advent calendar. It was a felt tree appliqued onto a large piece of burlap, speckled with snaps. Below were twenty-four pockets which held the felt ornaments. At the beginning of Advent my siblings and I would convene to decide which ornament would grace which day -- the star always went to the twenty-fourth day and was snapped onto the top of the tree, and my sister, who was the fourth, always got to put it up.
This year I thought it would be nice to have the calendar for my girls, as they're getting old enough to understand Advent as period of waiting and preparing for Christmas. I called up my family (my packrat sister in particular) to ask if they would send it to me, but alas, it is no more!
About two years ago the top story of my father's house caught fire due to faulty electrical wiring. (This sort of thing happens when your house is approaching its century.) No one was hurt, thank God, but the third floor and most of its contents were totaled. My brothers, 25 and 23, both had rooms up there and ended up mostly stuffless, but as they're currently studying for the priesthood you could look at it as the beginning of their lives of renunciation and poverty.
Insurance put up my dad and younger siblings in a downtown apartment for most of the school year -- ironic as my family's house is blocks from the school my two youngest siblings attend -- and covered the repairs to the third floor and roof and other affected areas. So after a rough year, dad's house looks better than ever and has up-to-date wiring in the attic.
Which is all fine, except that the Advent calendar was stored in a closet upstairs and perished either in the fire or at the cleaner. It's sad to think that my girls won't be able to enjoy such a delightful experience from my childhood, though of course since they have no memory of the calendar it doesn't affect them in the least.