Easy Party to Host & Cute Inexpensive Gifts

by GfG on December 23, 2013 · 3 comments

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I love hosting parties.  Seriously.

I love hosting parties so much that I planned one for a week after our move in date.  Granted, I kept the number very small and warned the guests that there could be boxes and a serious lack of Christmas decoration.  I also kept the plan incredibly simple:   sing Christmas hymns and carols, enjoy hot cocoa, and visit.

If you are on Pinterest {follow me here}, then you probably have seen all the photos touting hot cocoa bars at parties.  I have too.  I thought they looked darling, despite the fact that I don’t even like hot chocolate.

So… I added coffee and chai latte to the menu.

It really is easy to host your own hot cocoa bar party.  Here is all you have to do:

  • Have lots of hot water and hot milk ready.  Try to avoid having your electric kettle break during your party.  Really slows down the party.  Ask me how I know.  If you own or can buy a few thermal beverage dispensers, it would really make things move along nicely.  I didn’t, so we hung out in the kitchen chatting as kids fixed their cupfuls.
  • Provide a few flavors of hot cocoa, just to make things interesting.  We had regular, dark chocolate, and caramel.  The coffee and chai were hits too. 

hot cocoa bar 2 WEB

  • Set out fun toppings or mix ins for the drink.   The more the merrier, in my opinion.  We bought many flavors of mini marshmallows, caramel bits, Heath pieces, cinnamon sticks and candy canes (for stir sticks) and more.  Live it up!

hot cocoa bar WEB

  • Place mugs (or in my case, disposable coffee cups with lids) for the guests.   Have enough cups for everyone, plus more.  I know that mugs of all winter theme are the cutest route, but it sure was nice to not have hardly any clean up at the end of the night because I used disposable cups.  
  • Give basic instructions to friends (and disclaimer to talk to their mom before getting seconds/thirds/whatever).  Our rule was, “Ask your mom before you fill your cup.”    That was about it, really.  Oh, and all cups stayed in the dining room.
  • Let everyone be creative.

It is definitely fun to set up and is visually appealing, even if you never eat much of the items on display.

I think it’s a terrific way to host an event with little fuss and not a costly event.  As much as I love hosting parties, our budget affects the kinds I can.  This one was perfect!

Give it a go for this Christmas and New Year’s season, or even just as a fun winter get together.  I’m pretty sure we’ll do it again this winter.  It was lots of fun.

I will admit that my favorite part of the evening was everyone gathered in our living room singing praise to our Awesome God through beautiful Christmas hymns.  Loved.it.  We had twenty-one kids and nine adults raising voices to the King.  My heart was full.  {eta: I know I said I kept the invites “very small” and though these numbers don’t seem to reflect that, it’s true… only 3 families were invited   :-)   }

As a side bonus for all of the goodies you buy, you can turn the left overs into gifts for other friends.  Buy some adorable gift boxes on the cheap.  Fill a Ziploc with hot cocoa and another with a variety of the yummy marshmallows.  Voila!

hot cocoa bar to go bags WEB

I think they are cute, unusual, inexpensive and fun small gifts.  Sorta a gourmet cocoa bar to go.

For those of us on small budgets, it’s fun to be able to give gifts, but hard to think outside the baking box.  I’m not usually up for loads of baking, so this gift meets me where I am.   These little gift boxes also meet the “Oh, yikes, we forgot (insert name here)!!” because they are super quick to put together.

hot cocoa bar to go WEB

Have you hosted or attended a hot cocoa party?


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

The Reader December 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

Okay, that is totally awesome!!

One, that you hosted so soon after moving in. Two, the idea in general (and I am with you — disposable cups, all the way!). Three, the “fill a little gift box with cocoa-to-go fixings” idea. Genius. The whole thing!

Will totally do this sometime. What a fun idea!


Sarah December 27, 2013 at 6:52 am

So sweet! One question – about what time did you host this? I like the idea of small, non-large-meal parties, but don’t want to cut into a meal time.


GfG December 27, 2013 at 7:08 am

We did it at 7 pm. I think it would also work to do an afternoon party, say 2-4. Depends on your crowd. Two of our guest families had littles that they brought in pjs. :)


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