For me, there were many novel things about the recent holiday period. Exhibit A was the Christmas party I went to on 27 November ("We couldn't get any other date, so it was either now or the second week in January," offered the host). Exhibit B would be the retro-future battery-powered salt and pepper grinders a friend was given by an insane relative ("Make every dinner party sound like Einstürzende Neubauten!" you rather hoped the publicity blurb would scream).
Exhibit C must be the gendarmerie I saw in Paris just before new year. Why? Because they were wearing brand spanking new inline skates, that's why. They were standing at a junction in the Rue St Honore (Paris's equivalent to Bond Street), so maybe they thought their fancy footwear would increase their chances of catching fleet-footed pickpockets (the most fashionable of whom, I gather, are all now sporting skateboards, aerodynamically sound bodysuits and jet-packs). Either that, or they were two weeks early for Fashion Week.
But the thing I really noticed about this Christmas was the fact that everyone's Christmas tree lights were blue. (Apart from mine, that is, which are still traditional fuddy-duddy white.) There they were, curling round a gargantuan municipal tree on the outskirts of Cheltenham; there they were, draped along the top of every other fashionable boutique in Marylebone; and there they were, tracing the arch of the best restaurant in Chantilly. They even made an appearance in some south-east London postcodes that aren't normally represented in the society pages of magazines such as Posh People's Preposterous Party Pics.
Thinking I had missed out, I went online - only to find that it's almost impossible to buy any other colour. Red and yellow seem to have been banished to Eastern Europe, while the white ones I've used for years can be bought for roughly the price of a loaf and fish supper. Not only that, but - according to my friends at Yahoo! and Google - they're not called blue Christmas lights, but "Bethlehem Blue Christmas Lights", and miniature ones at that.
This is obviously a ruse to get us all to buy our Christmas lights the way we buy our trees and crackers - every damn year. So if there's a possibility that, come next December, you're going to start getting all stressy because you think you've got the "wrong" colour lights, I recommend you spend the next 10 months consulting as many experts as possible (who, these days, all appear to be living online). Personally, I think I'd go for green, but then don't hold it against me if every one of your neighbours chooses purple instead. After all, trying to predict fashion is about as easy as trying to eat spaghetti using shoelaces instead of a fork. In the dark. Without any shoelaces.
So good luck to you all. I think you'll need it.
Dylan Jones is the editor of GQReuse content