When Hallmark dropped this news I knew it was time for this idea list for an easy breezy hot cocoa bar idea early!

Growing up, my mom’s idea of a hot cocoa bar was a 1/2 bag of marshmallows (leftover from the year before) on the kitchen counter. But she made up for the crunchy marshmallows with homemade hot cocoa. My mom was knee-deep in Erma Bombeck books so I bet she was plotting where to stash the Peppermint Schnapps for her mug of cocoa.

But I wanted to step it up for the holiday season. Creating a hot cocoa bar, with candy canes, chocolate-covered pretzels and pink marshmallows was unchartered territory for me. It was the motivation I needed to create a hot cocoa bar before the snow ramps up all along the Rockies.

I am not a huge hot chocolate girl, but my family loves hot chocolate after fresh snow and commutes home after a day of skiing.


Sidenote: Pay attention to the marshmallows in the hot cocoa in the Hallmark movies.  


My goal was to keep it casual and cute with an assortment of goodies. Here are some ideas to make your own hot cocoa bar. I was surprised at how much my adulting children loved the idea. A hot cocoa counter is fun for kids of all ages and stages.


There are no rules to any beverage bar. That’s what makes it fun. I adapted my cocoa bar to fit my counter space.

I began with my tiered tray from my favorite online store. With a bag of unopened marshmallows, I layered  the top tier with marshmallows.

I love a tiered tray because it contains the ingredients and mugs/takeaway cups. A tiered tray is like a condo development; it is all about the vertical space on a counter! #realtorlife


Keeping with my Colorado casual hot cocoa bar I opted for the Nestle premade hot cocoa packets. I had big plans to make Martha’s hot cocoa, but I caved in Aisle 9 when I tossed two boxes into my cart.

I found the bulk of my hot cocoa bar goodies at Sprouts and Trader Joe’s.


For the second tier, I added candy cane sticks, yogurt pretzels and chocolate-dipped marshmallows. My kids and husband will love this twist on marshmallows.

And, finally, I switched out my Christmas ceramic mugs for these takeaway cups. I found them at Costco in the paper goods section.

And, with the holidays filled with errands, baking and parties, the family will appreciate the grab & go hot cocoa (and skip the $5.65 in the drive-thru window). If you want to add a beverage cart check out these beautiful bar carts for year-round entertaining!

Have a wonderful holiday season. If you would like to like weekly tips please sign up for the Weekend Edit-an easy breezy four-minute read delivered to your inbox on Saturday morning. You can sign up here.

Similar Posts


  1. Laura everything looks so cute and yummy. Love how your used your tiered tray for your station. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Your family is going to love using your hot cocoa bar this holiday season. I love your red snowflake cups. Wish there was a Costco in my neck of the woods!

    1. Thank you Paula! I rarely go to Costco and I almost put them back because there were so many!

  3. Great idea to put a hot cocoa bar on a tiered tray and I love that yours is galvanized! I seriously need to find myself a tiered tray. And LOL, you’re like me, I’m fine with instant store bought packets of cocoa. It saves a ton of money. So glad you could join in today! Thank you and hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. HI Cindy! Thank you! Tiered tray is from Decor Steals! My boys got in from Dayton and Minneapolis!

  4. Love your casual hot chocolate bar, Laura… and the paper cups actually look really cute! Great idea! Pinned!

  5. Laura, I love how you caved and went with the instant packages! Seriously, instant hot cocoa is pretty darn easy and pretty darn good, so most of the time…why bother? Love your photography!

  6. Hi Laura! Yes! I think we all need to fit things into our own lives and styles. If I had to-go cups as cute as yours, I’d use those too! Mine were definitely not cut out for this job. Your cocoa station looks like the perfect chocolate condo, ready for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you Crissy! Your comment made me LOL! Happy Thanksgiving! laura

  7. Such a darling display! I love the idea of using a tiered tray. May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

  8. Laura, those cups are super cute. Love tour tiered tray. Definitely the way to conserve space. Can’t have hot chocolate without marshmallows ~ peppermint sticks help too. Very nice job.

  9. Laura, I fully admit it… I went for the regular old hot chocolate packages, too! They taste good and they work. 😉 Love how you’ve put together your tiered trays with the cups of snacks and the colored marshmallows!! Funny, after shooting my pics, I found I DID have better hot cocoa in another cupboard, lol!

    Sorry I am so late getting over… I was sick with strep throat early in the week and then our daughter came for Thanksgiving, plus Christmas shopping, etc. But I am here and hopefully the pins will hit the European crowd this late in the evening. ;D

    Happy belated Thanksgiving to you and I hope your Christmas season is wonderful, too!
    Barb 🙂

  10. The hot chocolate packets are perfect! I probably need to move that way since my kids aren’t home as much being in college. So beautiful!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *