Who else is whipping up lots of hot chocolate right now? Ari’s two favourite things right now are tea parties and hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), and she got me thinking about the idea of a hot chocolate station. They’re a fun addition to holiday parties or to have set up with everything you need for your favourite warm bevvies when you come in out of the cold (you can also add tea, coffee, maybe some Irish cream or Kahlua…;) ). I love the idea of setting up a station, but if you’re limited for space you can go vertical (use a tiered stand!) or stock a basket or container with your favourite essentials and tuck onto a shelf or into a cupboard and pull it out when you have guests coming over- or when you’re craving a hot sweet drink! 😉
Another twist on this idea is to put together a gift basket that includes everything you need for a deluxe hot chocolate- think a yummy mix, marshmallows (the gourmet mallows from Marsh&Mallow are the best), sprinkles, and some pretty cups – or add essentials to a cute togo cup like this one). I just realized I didn’t include a seasonal essential- candy canes!!!- but hopefully this post gives you some ideas. Side note: how cute with this be to have set up on Christmas for when you’re opening gifts? Add a few snacks and you’ve got a cute buffet!
I’ve included a few ideas from some of my favourite local shops in this post (see # 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9) + some easy to shop online ideas.Have you ever set up a hot chocolate or beverage station? What did you include?
If you love eggnog, this mocktail is for you! I’ve been playing around with my milk frother for hot and cold drinks (it’s great for topping coffee) and I’ve been wanting to create a yummy drink that’s perfect for holiday parties. I didn’t add alcohol to mine, but you definitely could for a spiked version. These ombre eggnog mocktails get their colour from a natural food colouring, and the layers on top come from frothed milk (when frothed it will sit on top of the eggnog rather than mixing in) and whipped cream. Top with some cute sprinkles or crushed candy canes and add a pretty swizzle stick or party straw for a fun drink for your holiday parties. Cheers friends!
Ingredients (per drink)
1 cup eggnog (for a spiked version swap in Irish cream or add some rum to the eggnog) 😉
1/2 cup milk
Natural food colouring (I love this one by b’Lure)*
*Read more about this natural food colouring following the recipe
1.(If you prefer a chilled drink skip this step). Pour the eggnog into the milk frother and press the heat/ froth button. Once ready, pour into serving glass and repeat to make the desired amount of drinks (tip: this would also make a cute shot- style drink). Add a few drops of food colouring and blend until desired colour is reached (I used about 5- 6 drops of the b’Lure flower extract per drink).
2.Rinse out the frother and remove any eggnog residue and repeat the frothing step with the milk. Pour the frothed milk on top of each drink.
3.Top your mocktail with your favourite toppings and add a party straw + candy cane or swizzle stick for a fun finishing touch.
About the natural food colouring I used for this recipe:
A friend recommended the b’Lure food colouring while we were shopping in a health food store about a month ago and I was excited to try it out (note: this post is not sponsored and I wasn’t provided this product in exchange for having it be included; it’s a genuine recommendation I’m sharing with readers in hopes it will be something they’re interested in trying themselves). I’m always looking to try natural options and have been having fun experimenting with this flower extract for the past month. I’ve been adding it to cocktails and drinks so far, and will be testing it out in holiday baking this year as well. If you’re looking for a natural blue/ green food colouring, this is a great option. When you see all the pretty photos on Instagram and Pinterest with a green/ blue colour, this is likely what has been used. Here’s some info about it:
-made with 100% natural flower extract from the Butterfly Pea Flower to give a bright blue colour
-has a light sweet flavour, but won’t overpower the flavours you want to taste
– more acidity in the drink/ recipe = a more purple colour
-great for cocktails, frosting/ icing, baking, desserts, and other cooking/ baking
If you’re looking to add a little pop of colour to your holiday decorations this year, this dried orange Christmas garland is a pretty homemade addition and can be adapted to suit your decorating style. Go for simple with all- greens, or add in extras like ornaments, pinecones, cinnamon sticks, etc for a fuller option. Since we’re now officially counting down to Christmas I thought this would be the perfect DIY for the first weekend of December!
To dry the oranges you can you use a dehydrator or dry slices in the oven. Once they’re dried simply string them onto some twine or ribbon, or attach to a greenery garland; I used twine and a hot glue gun to make a small fresh greenery swag and added pinecones along with the orange slices for mine. To hang, either glue or tie on some ribbon or twine. You can also use the dried oranges to make pretty ornaments or a wreath (they’d also be cute tied on to gifts!). I like that this is a more traditional decorating idea, but one you can adapt to suit your home and decorating style. Enjoy a cozy afternoon whipping this up with a cup of eggnog by your side and some festive music.
Here’s how I made mine.
– 1- 2 medium oranges
– fresh greens
-ribbon and twine (tip: florist wire might also come in handy if you have it on hand)
-additional decorations such as pinecones, cinnamon sticks, ornaments, etc
For the dried orange slices: Slice your oranges approximately 1/8″ thick and place on some paper towel. Pat them dry on both sides to remove excess moisture. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or onto the racks of a food dehydrator (I have a round one like this and love it). If you’re drying them in the oven set it on low (about 250°) for a few hours hours. Check them every hour or so and flip them so that they dry evenly on both sides. If you’re drying them in a dehydrator, you’ll probably need to do them overnight. You’ll know they’re dry when there’s absolutely no moisture left and they’ve turned a golden orange shade instead of bright orange.
For the garland: Start by laying out your greens to see how you want to build your garland. Once you have the garland laid out, use a hot glue gun and some twine and/ or floral wire to attach it all together. Tip: the hot glue will help hold the shape/ structure- especially in the center (see below).
2. Once you have constructed the garland, start adding in the decorative items. I opted for pinecones and some cream ribbon, along with the orange slices.
3.To hang, use a picture hook, thumb tack or removable hook (if you’re looking for some pretty options check out here and here).
Who’s starting to decorate for Christmas? Add a fresh festive touch with this simple greenery holiday wall hanging. All you need is some floral wire, fresh stems, and ribbon (maybe add a Christmas movie in the background ;). Choose a favourite festive word or phrase and enjoy a fresh addition to your holiday decorations.
This wall hanging isn’t too tricky to make, it just takes a little time and patience. Pour a glass of wine, put on some Christmas music and get into the holiday spirit with this pretty DIY.
fresh greenery of your choice (something with a flexible stem and not too much foliage is ideal)
tape (to help hold the shape of the words)
Start by wrapping a stem in the floral wire- approx 1″ twists.
2. Bend the wire to create the shape of the letters. Add in stems as needed, bending the wire to form the shape of the letters. Tip: you may have to break/ cut the stems rather than bend them to form the letters.
3. Use tape to hold down the design as you go to keep the shape. Once you’ve completed the design, go back and smooth out the shape; twist in more wire where needed to help hold the shape of the letters.
4. Add ribbon to hang and enjoy!
What are your favourite ways to decorate for the holidays? Share below!
Advent calendars are a fun holiday tradition, and even though we usually think of them as being filled with chocolate and sweet treats, I wanted to create one that combined the fun of receiving gifts with the joy of giving them.
Instead of chocolates and other sugary treats (because we all know there’s going to be enough of those in the coming weeks!) I wanted to do something that the whole family would enjoy, including little gifts, and activities that we could enjoy doing together leading up to Christmas. I didn’t want it to become too expensive or over- the- top, but something I’d have fun putting together and we’d all look forward to each morning.
While there are a few gifts mixed in, the main idea behind this advent calendar is to bring the family together, get into the holiday spirit, and teach our kids about kindness and giving- not just at this time of year, but all year. If you’re looking for fun ideas for the family going into the holiday season, I hope this candy- free advent calendar gives you some ideas! ADDED BONUS: Enter to win a prize package including tickets to some Vancouver Christmas events and a few other items to enjoy as a family. Scroll to the end of this post to enter to win!
For mine I’m using a wooden box I picked up at a thrift store, and used a picture frame for the numbers; nothing too complicated but something that the kids can open- like a traditional candy advent calendar- and that will be big enough to fit small items in. The fun thing about advent calendars is that there are so many styles and ways to put them together, the hardest part is deciding what to put in them.
For ours I’ve rounded up a few little gifts to open throughout the month, items/ materials for activities (ie sprinkles for cookie decorating), and good deeds to do leading up to Christmas, along with 12 random acts of kindness to perform each month throughout the year ahead. For some days there will a note or envelope with an activity or good deed written on it, for others there will be little gifts the kids can open. While I love the advent calendars with candy, I liked the idea of trying out this style and may include some sweet treats in future years (plus we all know there will be plenty of candy and chocolate over the holiday season!). This is my first year doing this (Will did something similar last year and I give him credit for giving me this idea) and I hope it becomes a tradition we continue.
If you like this idea and want to try it with your own family, here are some ideas to get you started with your own advent calendar: