I've accepted the fact that the Advent calendar that I remember from my childhood will remain only a memory.
For years I tried to find one just like it - a streetscape of an old German city centre at twilight, sparkling windows looking out over a main street where St. Nicholas is trailed by adoring young uns. St. Nicholas (no Coca Cola Santa Claus here) had just the right combination of German sternness and begrudging generosity. I spent way too much time gazing at those lighted shop windows, wondering what life was like in the apartments above those shops. There was just the right amount of glitter sparkling through windows that opened to reveal modest offerings of teddy bears and spinning tops. There were no cartoon figures or crappy chocolate.
This was one classy Advent calendar. Or, at least that's how I remember it.
I've given up trying to reproduce the magic. It belonged to another time. But I did recently stumble upon a lovely box of Advent calendar short stories. So I think I will start a whole new tradition. What better way to go through the darkness of December than escaping into a short story every day?