At-Home Hot Cocoa Bar

hot chocolate and cookies
Agnieszka Kirinicjanow / E+ / Getty

One way to make your home warm and welcoming for your family and guests "when the weather outside is frightful" is to create a drink station for hot beverages. You can create a coffee station in your kitchen, of course, but for the holidays, a hot chocolate bar is fun and festive.

Carve out space on the kitchen counter, a bar cart, or a dining room sideboard to hold the accessories and ingredients needed to make a cozy cup of cocoa. Here are some tips for stocking a hot chocolate bar for the holidays:

  • Check retailers like HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Target and Marshalls for inexpensive mugs, jars and candy dishes that are holiday-themed.
  • Include a small chalkboard sign or artwork that encourages guests to help themselves.
  • For small spaces, put all of the accessories and supplies on a tray that can be moved out of the way if necessary, or used to serve drinks to guests who are curled up by the fire.
  • Put homemade cocoa mix in a glass jar, or set out a basket filled with instant cocoa packets and mugs for a charming display.
  • Include a small tiered tray or cookie jar for other holiday sweets, as well as a set of dessert plates so guests can take a little stash to their seat.
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    Mini Hot Chocolate Station on a Tray

    mini hot chocolate station
    Home Made Modern

    Short on counter space? Check out this adorable mini hot chocolate station on a tray, outfitted with just a couple of whimsical snowman mugs from the dollar store, mason jars for homemade cocoa mix and marshmallows, a dish for candy canes, and a miniature tinsel tree. So simple and sweet, right? Since it's all so compact and portable, drinks can be served just as easily in front of the fire as in the kitchen. 

    This is a great fix for anyone who has a studio apartment or small living room but still can't resist hosting over the holidays. (And we can't blame you!) Even if you can't make your own cocoa mix, you can display the store-bought kind in cute mason jars or glass containers for a polished presentation. And honestly, most of your guests won't know the difference or care anyway. Cocoa is always delicious.

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    Self-Serve Station on a Sideboard

    hot cocoa bar
    Pen & Paper Flowers

    Get inspired by this much more elaborate version of a hot chocolate bar styled on a sideboard. The rustic look of this self-serve station is perfect for a farmhouse decor or cabin vibe, and is complete with a wooden crate that holds a collection of white mugs and gives height to a simple yet festive fir tree.

    Plus, authentic wood slices elevate an assortment of toppings and syrups, as well as an array of glass jars with charming DIY chalkboard labels.

    While a hot chocolate station this complete is probably most practical for entertaining, no family would complain about having a space this sweet to enjoy themselves all season-long. Just be sure to use lids and proper storage to keep all your hot chocolate supplies fresh.

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    Hot Chocolate Bar Accessories

    hot chocolate bar accessories
    Home Made Modern

    When it comes to creating your own hot chocolate bar at home, don't feel constricted by the ideas you see here, which definitely lean towards the DIY, rustic aesthetic. You'll want to choose accessories and display elements for your hot chocolate bar that match the way you decorate your home for the holidays.

    Whether your style is whimsical, retro, traditional or formal, get the type of kitchen accessories you can pull together for a perfect hot chocolate station your friends and family will love. Ideas include holiday cookie tins, special mugs, mirrored trays, milk frother, and whatever other accessories fit your aesthetic.