Make Your Own Hot Cocoa Bar

On Christmas Day, we’re spending a relaxed day around the house. It feels nice, and also a little strange.

Our family is in a stage of transition right now. We’re still a new-ish blended family, figuring out what it looks like to combine holiday traditions. Being a blended family also means that all the kids have two sets of parents to share time with during the holidays. Our oldest daughter just got married, so she has in-laws to work into her holiday schedule as well.

Our kids are all in that young adult stage, where they have jobs and other obligations to work around.

And on top of all of that, we’re still figuring out how to navigate Christmas without my mom, and we’re a little run down from my dad being in the hospital a good part of December.

Finding ways to be flexible with our celebrations was challenging, but it was important to me to set the example for the kids that even though life is changing, as long as we remember what is important–each other and our family bond–how or when we celebrate doesn’t really matter.

The Saturday before Christmas was the day when we could get almost everyone together, so we used that day as our main celebration, and did all of our gift opening then.

A more relaxed Christmas today is probably what we all need most, even though it’s different from how we have traditionally spent the day in past years.

Today, a couple of the kids are here for either all or part of the day, and some may just drop by for a little while in between celebrations they are attending with other family members.

We are putting some soups in the crockpots and people can serve themselves as they come and go. We’re going to lounge in our comfy clothes, watch some Christmas movies and maybe play pool or cards.

Also, I set up this cute little hot chocolate bar for people to help themselves over the course of the day.

Hot Cocoa Bar

It’s all about the toppings..

Making a hot cocoa bar is so easy. You can create one right now with ingredients I bet you already have in your pantry.

Thank you to our thoughtful neighbors for the little plate of homemade goodies delivered to our door. ❤️

I put my hot cocoa bar together kind of last minute, so these are the things I had on hand:

  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Peppermint sticks
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Hazelnut wafer sticks
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • A variety of flavored coffee syrups
  • Some chocolate Santa candies

I also set out a tin of our favorite Starbucks hot cocoa mix, plus a couple of other varieties I had in the pantry– peppermint hot cocoa, and white chocolate cocoa mix.

Other toppings that would be great, too:

  • toffee bits
  • broken up pieces of your favorite candy bar
  • various flavors of chocolate chips
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whipped cream
  • candy canes

Make it pretty

The visual appeal of your hot cocoa bar is fun, but not absolutely necessary. Your family will still enjoy making their own cocoa creations even if you just plop all the ingredients out on the counter and let them have at it. 😜

If you do decide to fancy it up, just look for what you have around your house. I bought THIS three-tiered serving stand last summer to use at my daughter’s bridal shower. Since then, it’s already found several new uses, so it was worth the purchase price of less than $24.

Here it is on Saturday holding our Christmas desserts.

I love that my mom’s sugar cookies, as well as my mother-in-law’s kolaches are both represented here.
I strung a set of 25 Christmas lights around the toppings for an extra festive touch.

My daughter gave me the adorable rustic letter board as a Christmas gift, so I opened it right up and tried it out. It was perfect for the hot cocoa bar and added a fun touch. I’m so excited to use it for other things in the future!

If you have a little mini white board, or chalk board, that would also work perfectly for making a cute little cocoa bar sign. See THIS post and THIS ONE for pictures of my little chalkboard sign that I also use quite a lot.

Really, just look for things around your house to use for this–a pretty serving platter would work, or even just a sheet of festive wrapping paper underneath to give your cocoa bar a colorful pop. Plus, the wrapping paper can just be thrown away after for easy clean up!

I used small mason jars for my toppings, but you can use anything you have around. Labeling your ingredients makes it easy for people to know what each topping is. I found some free printable labels online, but you can make your own, too. The ones I printed didn’t include a chocolate Santa label, so I made my own out of black card stock and a white chalk marker.

Spiked Hot Cocoa

Let’s be honest, at this stage in life, if I’m drinking a hot cocoa, it’s 99% likely that it will have something a little “extra” in it. 🤣

For my hot cocoa bar, I set out some spike-able options. My favorites for adding to hot cocoa are Kahlua, Bailey’s (the new red velvet version is delish!), Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Frangelico, and Creme de Menthe.

Finishing touches

If you have a little more time on your hands, you can add a few extras that will really make your hot cocoa bar special. Some cute holiday napkins, holiday mugs, and stir sticks take this to the next level. I didn’t have any stir sticks on hand, so I set out leftover paper straws from our Pomegranate-Pear Sangria for people to stir their cocoa with.

You can buy pre-made spoons dipped in chocolate, but you can easily make your own, too, if you have time. How fun would these be? I’m definitely making these for next year!

Add some treats

Set out a platter of your holiday cookies or candies to accompany this, and you have a wonderful little hot cocoa bar that will welcome your guests and spread a little holiday cheer to your celebrations.

Wishing you all peace & joy. Merry Christmas. 🎄

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