In a very un-American way, I vanished for the past week with my family to spend some time in the mountains, enjoying the fresh air and skiing. I’ve spent most of the past 30 years in places where whole nations shut down around Christmas. Even when I worked at the World Economic Forum, with the Davos Annual Meeting less than a month away, Christmas was largely lights out for the organization.
The US is certainly different. My impressions are undoubtedly colored by the minor kerfuffle that sprang up concerning my business, in the few days before Christmas. But even without that, it is striking how little variation in the daily rhythm and routine is practiced here. Some of the difference is certainly healthy. As a secular Jew, I have to say I felt the huge emphasis on Christmas – to the exclusion of any other holiday – in Europe wearying. It’s a relief that Chanukah and other traditions get fair billing in the US.
But America would certainly benefit from a bigger breather than most people seem to take. So I did take a decent break, including from Davos Newbies.