What better way to warm up on a cold winter night than with a delicious cup of hot cocoa? And what’s better than a simple hot cocoa bar that everyone can enjoy? Today I want to share 5 easy steps to build a cozy & festive hot cocoa bar for the holidays.

5 Easy Steps to Build a Cozy & Festive Hot Cocoa Bar for the Holidays - Hot cocoa sign a decor favorties

Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate

There is something so cozy and comforting about a mug of hot cocoa, especially at Christmas. Are you a hot cocoa or hot chocolate fan? Did you know there was a difference?

Yes, friends! Yes, there is!

“I was going to sip on a diet soda, but a little voice convinced me I needed the extra calcium from a cup of hot chocolate.” — Cathy Guisewite

Hot cocoa is usually made from cocoa powder, sugar, adding milk or hot water. Because of that, hot cocoa is usually sweet and light. Hot Chocolate is made with just that, chocolate. Shaving the chocolate works best for melting it with milk.

In my opinion, both options are good! What’s not to love about a warm, yummy chocolate mug of goodness?

Recently I shared my Simple & Traditional Holiday Home Tour. If you missed it this year, my Christmas theme has been simple; traditional in nature. Beautiful colors of red, green and fun family traditions.

A hot cocoa bar is right on top of that traditional list for me!

5 Easy Steps to Build a Cozy & Festive Hot Cocoa Bar for the Holidays - Various Christmas mugs, such as reindeer, snowman, and Santa

Items Needed For Hot Cocoa Bar

Having a cocoa bar set-up, one that is ready for family & friend visits, is a real time saver. I used my super cute cabinet top for setting everything up.

Who doesn’t want to save more time preparing, especially with family and friends come to visit?

Like most things I create, I first try to use what I have on hand then purchase items I may not have. To create this hot cocoa bar, you will need:

  • Hot cocoa
  • Fun Christmas mugs or holiday disposable cups
  • Mason jars
  • Marshmellows
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate spoons
  • Caramel or chocolate toppings
  • Whipped cream
  • Festive home decor elements
  • Napkins

Step 1 – Choose Your Cocoa

There are many different ways to make hot cocoa. You can try a store-bought mix or make your own from scratch using cocoa powder, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. It’s always fun to add a variety of flavors and spices to your mix, such as peppermint, cinnamon, or ginger.

If you have a Keurig machine, these days, you can even buy hot cocoa pods. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Step 2 – Gather Your Toppings

There are so many options for hot cocoa toppings! They actually seem to be endless. If it fits in the mug and tastes yummy, it probably will work! Here are some of my favorite options:

  • Marshmallows
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate spoons
  • Peppermint sticks
  • Carmel or chocolate syrup
  • Sprinkles
  • Candy canes
  • Nuts
  • Cookies

I use mason jars to store some of my toppings. The clear glass jars help to make a pretty appearance with the sprinkles, marshmallows, and peppermint, as you can see in my photo below.

Step 3 – Set Up Your Coca Bar

I love creating a festive table setting and putting together this hot cocoa bar was no exception!

It’s simple and small, but mighty in fun!

Adding different levels when you have a smaller space to work with is helpful. For instance, this time I used a cake plate to display some of the toppings and my cocoa packets. In the past, I’ve also used tiered trays and have even stacked books, covering them with a pretty cloth. The books give you the height you need, but no one can tell what they are. Sometimes, depending on what you are creating, it’s fun to keep the books exposed.

Finally, I added my electric teapot. All I have to do is add water when someone comes over.

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Step 4 – Add Some Festive Touches

Once my levels and sign were in place, I added some pretty red and white garland, and some fabric squares from my sewing stash which added some pops of color. I also used the fabric squares with some green twine, to adorn the tops of my mason jars. So easy and it adds just the right amount of festive.

5 Easy Steps to Build a Cozy & Festive Hot Cocoa Bar for the Holidays - Different levels to display different parts of the cocoa bar

My hot cocoa sign is a favorite! However, if you don’t want to spend the money on a sign, there are plenty of free printable sites out there that you can use and then frame yourself.

Next, I added my Christmas mugs that I have collected over the years. I can’t be the only one with a cupboard full of Santa and snowman mugs, can I?

Step 5 – Serve and Enjoy

Voila! The hot cocoa bar set-up is finished! Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the warmth of the season! Let your guests create their own personalized cups of hot cocoa.

So easy, right?

Oh, I almost forgot one of my favorite toppings!

The whip cream…don’t forget the whip cream!

5 Easy Steps to Build a Cozy & Festive Hot Cocoa Bar for the Holidays - The completed hot cocoa bar display

How To Create A Simple Hot Cocoa Bar

Simple and traditional. I hope you enjoyed my 5 easy steps to build a cozy & festive hot cocoa bar for the holidays

Nothing fancy, just cute and easy. Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or just want to enjoy a special treat with your family, a hot cocoa bar is a great way to do it. And the best part is, it’s easy to create!

In addition to the hot cocoa bar I shared, if you love the Santa and the snowman picture, as much as me and my granddaughter, you can find it here!

I hope I’ve inspired you to put together this fun hot cocoa bar. As a matter of fact, I know it will make your family and friends feel welcomed, this holiday season!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest!

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34 Comments

  1. Sweet hot cocoa bar! Fun to learn the diff. Between hot chocolate vs hot cocoa.
    I love Franzeses cocoa, imported from Italy by a niece n nephew. Avail online. Links are awesome. May ask Santa for an electric pot with pour over spout.

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