Holidays aside, there’s something about the wintertime that can be cozy and appealing. You read that right. I’ve found a few perks to deal with the seasonal chill whether we are in the mountains or at home. My goal is always to keep our kids and their friends coming back to our house to warm up after skiing or sledding.

In fact, I embrace a snowy day that allows me to create a refuge at home. It’s fun to come in from the cold and sit by the fire in a cozy sweater and fuzzy slippers.  If I am alone, I might dive into a captivating book or peruse my favorite websites for a little Christmas shopping. Chances are this moment will include indulging in a steaming cup of rich hot chocolate to warm me from the inside out.



As a creative, I love to create entertaining moments. Here, maybe I’m drawn by the possibilities to dress up this classic winter warmer, Or maybe It’s my love of welcoming home a pile of rosy-cheeked kids and teens in their long johns fresh off the slopes and full of stories after a day of skiing. Whatever the origin of my interest, this season always triggers hot chocolate. When I entertain guests of any age, I get especially excited to set up a bar with all the fixings to make this decadent beverage festive and soothing.

At our home in the Catskills, I chose accessories from my friends at Mark & Graham to create a hot chocolate bar that’s as visually inviting as it is delicious. I thought that our antique table made of twigs and logs was the perfect spot for guests to pause for this classic treat.

An acrylic tray with a tartan plaid base is initialed with the letter “R.” The tray is a suitable spot for layering, a design style that I’m married to for aesthetic drama. Here, I’ve used it to corral mugs edged in red, a bowl of whipped cream, and chocolate swizzle sticks. FYI…chocolate-on-chocolate is always welcome, but there is nothing like a classic candy cane to deliver a minty Christmas vibe to the hot chocolate. So, I made a presumption and let a candy cane rest in each mug. My polka dot pitcher enhances the whimsical mood of the vignette. Our “R” initial makes a second appearance on a linen napkin that makes our love for dogs crystal clear.



Of course, where there’s hot chocolate there should be cookies. So, for this hot chocolate bar, I made sure that there were plenty of holiday shapes and colors that nodded to the spirit of the season. For my husband and sons, custom, bear-shaped cookies show their names. Then I had my talented baker friends create candy canes, ornaments, and Christmas trees fashioned into cookies and put them up for taking on a 3-tier wooden star-shaped tray.

Remember, whenever you have any sort of food moments, add a live moment, too. Here, I added a mini antique pitcher of blue-and-white porcelain for an arrangement of Christmas greens and berries.

There’s no question that winter comes with a plethora of visual charm. But make sure that it offers warmth, too, through feel-good textures, crackling fires, and a cup of hot chocolate.