I am revisiting the story, but completely reimagining it from the start. It is going to be effectively the same story, but follow a different route to the end.
Subject to change, of course, here are the first couple of paragraphs.
Dreadfully festive. The two words immediately sprang to the little snow leopard’s mind the moment he stepped through the front doors into the main hall of the airport. The hall was festooned with all manner of holiday gaiety including inoffensive streamers bearing blandly inclusive messages like, “Happy Holidays”, “Have a Joyous Festive Season”, “All the Best”, or “Cheers.” He removed his glasses, which had iced over as soon as their cold lenses encountered the warm, moist air inside the terminal, but even without them he had no trouble picking out the gaudy visual cacophony of seasonal trifles strewn about.
There were a couple of fake Christmas trees surrounded by equally fake gifts. Lights and baubles hung from the roof in striking juxtaposition against the stark steel beams of a ceiling that looked like it had been pilfered from an iron-aged steam plant of a bygone era. Plonq had never understood the reasoning behind trying to infuse a modern airport with the design paradigm of an 18th century train station. The two were completely different in all respects; for one thing, nobody had ever exposed themselves to him, nor tried to sell him narcotics in an airport bathroom.
Finally, the air was alive with the sound of generic, tinny holiday Muzak blending mercilessly with the intermittent roar of jets, the buzz of unhappy vacationers and the nearly constant squall of travel-weary infants. If any sound said Christmas to the snow leopard, this was not it. This was the discordant clamour of a place where hope and happiness came to die. Still, as he listened to the piped music, he had to admit that the Christmas Shoes song was more bearable without lyrics, so perhaps the place was not entirely devoid of grace.