Dear Amy:

My ex-husband and I divorced more than a year ago. We had a pretty clean break because we both felt the need to move on.

I asked him casually if I could have my Christmas ornaments back. He said yes, but he asked if we could arrange it for the next year, when he would be back in the attic again.

The only reason I want these ornaments is that they are personalized and from my grandmother, who died shortly before the divorce proceedings. None of this is included in our divorce decree.

I've contacted him three times - twice via text and once via e-mail - but he hasn't replied, so I assume he isn't willing to give back these items.

I know I have no legal recourse because we did not explicitly state this in the divorce decree, but these ornaments are the only remembrance of my grandmother I have.

Is there a polite way to continue with this, or should I accept this loss?

- Only Want Ornaments

Dear Want: This operation would go much more smoothly if you had access to my Aunt Jean's pound cake. Because you don't, you're going to have to make your own.

Give your ex a heads-up by contacting him to say, "I'm planning to swing by to drop off some Christmas sweets later today (name a time when he's likely to be home). I'd love to pick up Granny's ornaments while I'm there."

Go to the house at the appointed time. If your ex isn't there, leave the goodwill goodies. A dose of holiday guilt should get him up to the attic.

If being nicey-nice doesn't work, contact your lawyer. There might be a loophole in your document through which you could gingerly pull grandma's ornaments.