A Tea & Sympathy Christmas Tale

A few years back, Nicky penned a book of recipes and anecdotes from Tea & Sympathy, along with waitress Anita Naughton. Anita is a fabulous writer; here is her account of Christmas in Greenwich Avenue’s little corner of Britain. We hope you enjoy it and that each and every one of you has as fabulous a Christmas as is humanly possible! Looking forward to seeing you on the other side – we are open as usual on December 26th. Merry Christmas!

When I think of Christmas in New York, I’m suffused with the same feelings of pleasure I get from watching an old Woody Allen film. I love the yearly rituals: a trip to see Macy’s windows, a free makeover at Bloomingdale’s (I’ve never actually had one but I like to know I can), the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, and, of course, walking through Central Park on a crisp winter’s day to watch the ice-skaters.

As the big day approaches, I find whatever excuse I can for a trip to the shop next door, where the familiar products transport me back to my childhood. There are tins of Quality Street, boxes of Roses and Black Magic chocolates, bags and bags of Maltesers, and tube upon tube of Wine Gums. There are Christmas puddings, some with port and others with brandy. There’s Christmas cake, Turkish delight, Christmas crackers – and stockings full of every English sweet you can name.

On Christmas Eve we will have a Christmas party. We will close the restaurant early and all traipse into the shop. Sean will organize the music and open bottle after bottle of Champagne. Nicky will make a huge saucepan of milled wine. The kitchen guys will take off their work clothes and dress up for the occasion. It’s the only day of the year that all the staff ever get together.

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