The Monocle founder and editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé why-oh-whys in the International Herald Tribune about the lack of Christmas spirit in London and New York (nowadays). But just when I fear he maybe doing God on us and thinking of empty churches, he adds a clarifier: “Shop windows were generally joyless and there even seemed to be a lack of special packaging in the department stores.” Ah, it’s the consumer landscape that troubles him, the lack of demonstrative, tinselly commitment to Christ’s the-till-bells-are-kerching-ing. I understand.
I’m not sure he’s right. My local garden centre opened its Christmas shop in September. Their wiry robot reindeers have been head-nodding ever since as mile-long ropes of pulsating light convey the message-seed of Christ’s birth (again) and fibre-optic trees iridesce like squid. Still, Tyler offers a comparative perspective based on his incessant, manic travelling - I wouldn't want to carry his carbon-heavy conscience.
In the IHT piece alone you can count up the air miles over a few days: "During a swing through New York last week ... "; "It wasn't until I was settled in on a fully decorated Lufthansa Airbus to Munich ... "; "Back in London 24 hours later ... "; "On Tuesday evening I boarded an ANA flight from Heathrow to Tokyo Narita ... ". In Japan he finds the Christmas that matches his festive expectation: "I actually got a bit emotional at the Tsutaya bookstore in Roppongi Hills as the music piping through the store reminded me of shopping with my mom at Ogilvy's department store in Montreal ... " Ahhhh.
Fortunately, he's not tempted to fly back to Montreal. But then these days he does live in "Switzerland, Sweden and Britain".