Hot Chocolate Bar & Holiday Cookie Party

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

On the first Monday of every month I have lunch with a fun group of local bloggers. This month, for our December meetup, we wanted to have a cookie swap party! I have never been to a cookie swap before, so I was really excited to host this month’s get-together!! :) We have had a cold snap come through, so I thought it might be fun to have a Hot Chocolate Bar at the party waiting for everyone when they came in from the cold. :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Welcome to the Hot Chocolate Bar! :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Step right up :) I printed a fun chalkboard Hot Chocolate Bar sign from Yellow Bliss Road, and added instructions for how many scoops of hot chocolate to use per lever-press of hot milk from the thermos. One scoop = one press, so you could just make a small amount so you could try them all! :) I used these hot/cold drink dispensers from Sam’s Club.

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Grab a mug :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Or if you just want a tasting, you can use this mini marshmallow mug! :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

I love having lots of options, so I set out nine different types of hot chocolate with plenty of marshmallows, toppings, and mix-ins to choose from. :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Vanilla, Gingerbread, Peppermint, and Neapolitan Ice Cream marshmallows :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

How cute are these ice cream cone marshies?? :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

These were all the different flavors of hot chocolate: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Red Velvet, Gingerbread, S’mores, Nutella, White Mocha, and Peanut Butter Cup. :) I bought all the hot chocolate mixes at World Market except for the Peanut Butter Cup. I could not find peanut butter hot chocolate anywhere, so I mixed regular hot cocoa mix with peanut butter baking chips that had been ground finely in the food processor.

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

I loved the snowy look of this White Mocha Hot Chocolate!

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Add your cocoa mix and milk and choose a stirrer if you wish — a peppermint stick, cinnamon stick, or a chocolate hazelnut pirouette :) The pirouette gets all chocolaty, and then you can eat it ;)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Kevin’s favorite was the dark hot chocolate with Peppermint Andes chips mixed in and stirred with a peppermint stick. The Peppermint Andes melt in the hot chocolate and makes the perfect Peppermint Hot Chocolate! :) My favorite was the Red Velvet topped with whipped cream, drizzled with homemade caramel sauce and garnished with a chocolate hazelnut pirouette. Swoon!

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Don’t forget the marshmallows! :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Here were all the delicious cookies from the cookie swap. We each brought an extra dozen to snack on during the party. I set them out on my living room coffee table so we could sit around and chat and eat cookies. ;) I made these Brown Butter Snickerdoodles for the swap.

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

I also set up a cookie packaging station with festive holiday plates, tags, glitter pens, plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, tape, scissors, ribbon, twine, and a hole punch. And napkins, in case our hands got all sugary from the cookies! ;) We all brought any extra cookies we had that didn’t get swapped and went around the table making “sampler platters” that we could wrap, decorate, and label right then and there to share with friends and family.

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Instant holiday gifts to drop off to neighbors! :)

The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

Everyone brought their cookies to be swapped already wrapped, labeled, and with a copy of the recipe attached.

I think this was our most delicious meetup yet. ;)

We had so-so-so much fun at the hot chocolate bar and cookie swap party! Here are some tips if you want to host your own ultimate holiday cookies and cocoa party! :)


Tips for Hosting a Cookie Swap

  • Ask each guest to make 6-12 cookies for every person in attendance, plus an extra dozen for sampling during the party. It’s helpful to have guests RSVP with the type of cookie they’re making to avoid duplicates. We brought our cookies to swap packaged for each individual with a copy of the recipe and labeled with their name for easy swapping.
  • Create folding place cards to display in front of each plate of cookies, so you know which cookie is which. Label them with the name of the cookie and who brought them.
  • Set up a packaging station so guests can take home holiday cookie plates to drop off to friends, family, and neighbors. Consider including festive holiday plates, tags, pens, plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, tape, scissors, ribbon, twine, a hole punch, and napkins.
  • On the day of the party, have a a few tables set up for sampling, swapping, and packaging cookies. I set out a few fun cake stands for us to use at the sampling table.


Hot Chocolate Bar Ideas

Keep water or milk hot in a Drink Dispenser.

Gingerbread marshmallows
Peppermint marshmallows
Neapolitan marshmallows
Peppermint Andes chips
Caramel Bits
Whipped cream
Chocolate syrup
Homemade Caramel Sauce
Peppermint sticks
Cinnamon sticks




Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Party Free Printables

Hot Chocolate Bar Sign from Yellow Bliss Road
Blank Dotted Circle Labels for Hot Chocolate Bar
Cookie Swap Place Cards
Cookies & Cocoa Christmas Party Printables from Catch My Party — I didn’t use these but I thought they were cute! :)


Fonts Used

Birmingham Titling (Hot, Bar on the Hot Chocolate Bar Sign, cookie title on the place cards)
Bombshell Pro (Chocolate on the Hot Chocolate Bar Sign, baker’s name on the place cards)
Quaver Serif (Hot Chocolate Bar Labels)



Here are a few of the cookie recipes we swapped at the party:

Praline Cookies brought by Plain Chicken
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies brought by Miss Crystal Makeup
Forgotten Cookies brought by Southern Kissed
No Bake Coffee Balls brought by Sweet T Makes Three

And here are some of my other favorite cookie swap cookie recipes! :)

Secret Ingredient Christmas Cookies from Kevin and Amanda
Brown Butter Snickerdoodles from Ambitious Kitchen
Brown Butter Soft Batch Style Gingersnaps from Picky Palate
Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
Salty Pretzel Chocolate Chips Cookies from Cookies and Cups


The Ultimate Holiday Party! Hot Chocolate Bar and Cookie Swap Ideas

What combination of hot chocolate and toppings would you try first?? :)

Thanks so much for looking!! Have a great week!! :)

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106 Responses
  1. Jessica

    Hi, Kevin and Amanda,
    You guys are doing great. Everybody loves chocolate, especially children. I am sure they must have gone crazy in your chocolate bar cookie party. Thanks for sharing such an idea.

  2. Karen Lawson

    OH MY GOOOODNESS!!! I just found your website & I feel like that little guy in the turbo tax commercials I’m so happy! You guys are amazing! I love your documentation of your LIFE! I pray to one day have a neighbor like you!

  3. Sophia

    I’m hoping to host a cookie swap for Christmas 2017!!  What a lovely presentation.  Thank you so much for sharing your pictures & ideas!

  4. Susan

    This is a really cool idea but isn’t it a little over the top…
    I mean americans have to be rich and with a lot of freem time because this looks very expensive and time consuming, more like a second christmas than a party. And what is a cookie swap party? What next…. Sandwich tradings in summers and lemonade stations? I mean this is just too much.

  5. Amy

    Just wondering how many cups of water / milk does the dispensers hold? and can it heat up quickly? Having about 50 people at a party but trying to figure out keeping water hot. Thanks

  6. Casie

    I wish you would do a post sometime on how/where you store all of your used party supplies. What do you do with all of that stuff (tags, signs, trinkets, etc…) when the party is over? Do you save it for another time? Throw it away? Give to someone else to use? Sell it on Craigslist? I never know what to do with all the little detail thingys I make for parties. For things that are party specific, I know I will never have the same themed party again. I just don’t know what to do with everything. I know you have some fabulous ideas up your sleeves. Thanks Amanda!

  7. Shawn @ I Wash You Dry

    This is seriously so much fun to look at! I want to do one of these parties, how awesome! Thanks for all the great inspiration!

  8. Tiffany

    Hi! I was curious if you could tell me where you got all the different hot chocolate mixes… Did you make them yourself or do they sell different flavors somewhere? Hosting a party for 100 people and I am in charge of the Hot Chocolate Bar! This is super cute!! Thanks for sharing

  9. Brandy

    Amanda, you killed it with this party! And the post was so detailed. Thank you. What size mason jars did you use? I’m assuming 32oz for the cocoa and either 12 or 16oz for the fixins? Thanks! I’m a newbie to your blog and can’t wait to look in all of your archives.

  10. Aimee

    Hi Amanda!

    I was wondering what font you used for the word ‘chocolate’ on the sign? It’s so pretty. Love this idea, too! :) Thanks so much!

  11. Leah

    So cute!! Love the great ideas. I’m planning to do a hot chocolate bar at our toddler Valentine’s Day party for all the mommies! Will link back here for sure, since it’s such a cute set-up. :)

  12. Heather

    I’m doing this with co-workers for your school. We have about 50 staff. How much hot chocolate mix do you think I would need? Dispensers of milk?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Amanda

      Hi Heather! I think 1.5 cups of hot chocolate per person would be a generous estimate. It takes about 1/4 cup hot chocolate mix to make 1 cup hot chocolate. So if you multiply 50 times 1.5 and divide that by 4, you get about 19 cups of hot chocolate mix. If you just wanted to allow for one cup of hot chocolate per person, that would be about 12 cups of hot chocolate mix. You probably want to have at least 2 dispensers of milk, one on each end. Hope this helps!

  13. Jen

    Hi Amanda,

    I am in love with this hot chocolate bar and party! Everything is just adorable! I am having my daughter’s first birthday next week and the theme is a “Winter Onederland” and I would love to print out the tags for the toppings for a hot chocolate bar but I don’t know how to print with the wording on it. Please help me! I feel very clueless! Thank you so much!


    1. Amanda

      Hi Jen! You can open the picture up in a photo editing program like Photoshop or upload it to and add text to it and then print it out. :) Hope this helps! :)

  14. Lisa

    Hey Amanda, this is so awesome! Just a question…what recipe did you use for you regular dry hot chocolate mix? I know this is probably a simple answer, but I really haven’t been able to find one that I can prepare in advance for my daughter’s 1st bday party this Sunday! Her theme is Winter Onederland and you have totally helped me kick her hot cocoa bar up a few notches :)

  15. Gaby

    I am trying to print off the Hot Chocolate Bar sign but when I print it is too small. I am trying to print it off for 8×10 size. Can you please email me the print directly? Maybe that will work. I’m not sure why it is printing so small. Thank you!

  16. liza

    Hi Amanda!

    Could you please tell me where you got the white snow looking material (can’t think of the name right now) haha. Thank you!

  17. Carrie

    I love this. I am planning to have a hot cocoa bar at Christmas for our family.
    Question – Are you able to actually type information onto the labels you linked to (example, the ones you used on the cookie table). Or do I need to print them and write out the info myself. I feel silly asking but I am just not sure how to type out and then print the labels.

  18. Angie | Big Bear's Wife

    I love everything!! I love it all! We had a hot coco bar at our wedding (7 years ago haha) but it was no where near this cute! Love all of the detail that you put into everything!

  19. ~*kristi*~

    I SO wish I was your neighbor! :P Or had one ounce of the creativity you have. It’s so fun and festive :)

    Question – where did you get that red and white string/ribbon that you used to tie on all the labels? It’s adorable and I would love to find it for my jars of candied almonds (made from your candied pecans recipe!) that I’m giving my family this year.

  20. Amanda @ Burlap and Denim

    This is so adorable! I love the tags and mason jars filled with the toppings. And I’m gonna head to Sam’s club to pick up one of the hot water holders. Thanks for sharing all of your tips, I feel a youth group cookie swap coming on.

  21. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    What an absolutely fun party!!! I want to live close so I can come to the blog meet ups. And a party all about marshmallows and cookies sounds just perfect! I love all the fun touches you added to your hot chocolate bar!

  22. Rachel

    Hi, Amanda! I love this idea, and the printables are great. How do you use the cookie place cards, though? Did you print them out on cardstock and then fold? Sorry if that seems like a stupid question. :) Also, how were you able to type on them?

    1. Amanda

      That’s exactly what I did! :) Print them out and fold. :) You can open the picture up in a photo editing program like Photoshop or upload it to and add text to it. :) Hope this helps! :)

  23. Christina Cowan

    Now, I have this strange compulsion to collect all kinds of wintery/Christmasy mugs! This is a great idea for my family get together!

  24. Simone

    Is it weird that I love your hot cocoa bar so much I want to make it a background on my computer? My jaw literally dropped at the picture. You made it look stunning – and so appealing!

    And the adorable packaged cookie swap. So cute! I’m going to a cookie swap for the first time on Sunday!

  25. Kristin @ Yellow Bliss Road

    Thank you so much for the shoutout! I’m glad you loved my hot chocolate bar print!! Looks like you threw a super fun party.

  26. Lara

    What fun! I really enjoyed reading this post and got a huge smile when I saw Forgotten Cookies. My mom made these all the time and I now make a slightly different version for my sister every Christmas. For a different flavor I use raspberry jello mix and mini chocolate chips…love that flavor combination. Enjoy your holiday season and thanks for the inspiration!

  27. Jen and Emily @ Layers of Happiness

    This is the cutest thing ever… and I love the “snow” on the counter! I am having a christmas party this weekend and I think I just might have to steal that idea!! ;)

  28. Susan

    Love, Love, Love!!! This is the best Hot Chocolate Bar I’ve ever seen!! You did an amazing job and should be so proud!! I adore everything you did and the mugs are adorable. Thank you for sharing your lovely Hot Chocolate Bar with us. Merry Christmas!!

  29. Pati L

    How fun, and so classy! You go all out & enjoy it, this is fun to see. It also brings back memories. My Mom used to host cookie exchanges when I was little. Lots of ladies (12-15) from church would show up with plates of cookies for the exchange; I’m thinking it was 10 plates of 6 & 1 plate to share but not sure. I would get to run the music (cassette player) as they would walk around the table with baskets. When I stopped the music, they would pick up a package of cookies from the stash in front of them, or near by so they wouldn’t have duplicates. Dad & I always wished they would make enough of all of them for everyone :) Mom said it was to be fun, not a load of work for everyone (to make so many cookies). Mom would also do fun little games with the ladies. I don’t remember the details, I was trying not to get into trouble for eating so many cookies (“they’re for the ladies first”), & waiting for them to leave to have more. :)

  30. Pam

    You amaze me! I am with Donna… I need a neighbor like you. (Although I could never live up to all that awesomeness… Could you just send me a plate of cookies?) Looks like fun!

  31. donna

    I SO wish I were your neighbor! The “bar” is so beautiful and professional. You thought of absolutely everything.

    A very impressed Bostonian.

  32. Ashley


    Thank you for sharing all of the supplies/fonts that you used for your party. You are so creative! I just began reading your blog about a week ago (looking for photography tips) and I am completely fascinated with your life (in a non-stalker way!). Where did you learn photography? Are you self-taught or did you go to school for it? You have helped me so much so thank you! I love your house and your party hosting ideas and your photography… needless to say, I have added you to my blog role!

    1. Amanda

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Ashley! :) I guess you could say I am self-taught, I went to school to become a math teacher, lol! :)

  33. Naty

    Would you consider sharing all of the cookie recipes? That would be awesome….woulk like to do this with the cookies and cocoa for my work holiday party on the 19th.
    Thank you!

    1. Amanda

      Hi Naty!

      Here are the ones that I have :)

      Praline Cookies from Plain Chicken
      Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies from Miss Crystal Makeup
      Forgotten Cookies from Southern Kissed
      No Bake Coffee Balls from Sweet T Makes Three

      And here are some of my other favorite cookie swap cookie recipes! :)

      Secret Ingredient Christmas Cookies from Kevin and Amanda
      Brown Butter Soft Batch Style Gingersnaps from Picky Palate
      Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
      Salty Pretzel Chocolate Chips Cookies from Cookies and Cups

      Hope this helps! :)

  34. DessertForTwo

    This looks like the best type of holiday party ever! All people really want is marshmallows and cookies, so why not base a whole party around it? How great! I want to come next time :)

  35. TidyMom

    looks SO fun Amanda!! I wish I lived closer!! I’ll be out by World Market on Monday – hoping I can find some of those Hot Chocolate flavors!

  36. ally

    going out on a limb and asking an incredibly novice question, are the “printables” done on your regular printer? did you use a special type of paper for the chalkboard look or is that really all ink? i love this idea, it’s adorable, and maybe a great way to break the ice with my new neighborhood!

  37. TERRY

    Amanda thank you for sharing your step by step Cookie Swap and Hot Chocolate Bar ideas!
    Merry Christmas & WDE!!!!
    P.S. All In for our big SEC game on Saturday!!

  38. Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet)

    What a cute idea! We’re having a cookie swap at work on Monday…maybe I can do a streamlined version of the cocoa bar to add a fun element. My boss is giving us $100 to decorate and add some fun to the swap since it’s kicking off 12 Days of Christmas in the office…

  39. Lauren

    This is the cutest idea! Everything looked great. Now I need to start planning a cookie “exchange” (as my mom always called them!)

  40. Debi

    I just had a cookie swap here on Sunday and it was a blast also… Soooo much fun getting together with girlfriends and playing games and laughing.. One of the girls made a big Christmas stocking and filled it with 12 things and sealed it up with big stitches at the top (to be removed quickly later) During the swap she told everyone when they got a chance to get a piece of paper and pencil and number it 1 thru 12 and feel the stocking and write down what you thought each thing was in it. OMG!!! That was so much fun. When everyone was done she pulled out the stitches and took one thing out at a time as we checked them off – right or wrong… who ever got the most would win the stocking and the items inside…. if it was a tie – one would get the stocking and one would get the items.. I just happen to win that game all by myself.. Some of the items were a spool of thread, a small (attached together) bunch of safety pins, a little plastic toy penquin, a candy bar, a pill box, etc….. fun fun fun
    And where oh where did you find those adorable mini marshmallow cups?????

    1. Amanda

      Hi Lori! :) There is a link to the marshmallow mugs in the post, and the penguin and snowman mugs with the striped handles are from Target, and the rest are from Walmart! :) Hope this helps! :)

  41. Katherine

    Amanda, I LOVE how you always supply links to the adorable dishes/cups you use. I need those mini marshmallow cups in my life! My 2 year old would go bonkers for them.

  42. Anele @ Success Along the Weigh

    Sigh…why can’t I live close to you, be your friend and come to cool stuff like this? LOL My friends aren’t quite as creative on the entertaining front. Jealous!

  43. lori peuterbaugh

    What a lovely party….so much detail to the details!!! I would definitely try the peanut butter hot chocolate, then the Nutella!!

  44. Heather L.

    This is the cutest thing ever! Love every detail!

    I would love to see a closeup of the little tags you used on the cookie bags in the last picture – they look sort of chalkboard-ish and super cute! =)

    Thanks for sharing!

  45. shelly (cookies and cups)

    This is the sweetest party ever! My kids would go nuts for a hot chocolate bar! Love that the sweet marshmallow mugs made it home safely :)

  46. Gretchen

    This looks amazing. An adorable collection of mugs. I am amazed by the hot chocolate flavours and the add cookies on top. Definitely suggesting this for book club in winter. Thanks for sharing.

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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