Winter Weekend: The Family Hot Chocolate Stand


Open a Neighborhood Hot Chocolate Stand for a Winter Weekend Activity

Are your kids complaining of being bored this long winter season? Why don’t you warm up your neighborhood with a homemade hot chocolate stand with my How-To Guide?

We loved bringing a smile to so many faces in our neighborhood and adding some excitement to this cold weather!

As the long winter months continue, this season can feel boring, cold, and uneventful. We felt this way fairly early on, which I’d say is the perfect time to be creative.

Hot chocolate is a staple in our kitchen throughout the winter months. And I am proud to say we have found a new homemade tradition, creating a homemade hot chocolate stand! So how did we do it? I am excited to share how we made ours with my How-To Guide!

From start to finish, here is our advice

Estimated Project time: I suggest allowing 2-4 hours. An afternoon is a perfect window. We decided most people don’t particularly like to drink hot chocolate in the morning, and it is widely enjoyed as an afternoon or evening drink. From picking the name, setting up the stand, and being “open for business” for a few hours, this kept the excitement factor for us at an all-time high!

Age range: My son, Caleb, is turning nine, and this was the PERFECT project for him. He came up with the entire concept from start to finish with some help from his uncle. I think this is great for all ages, though depending on their interest level, elementary school kids are perfect. 

Perks of this project: It’s a wonderful way to bring joy to your neighbors and experiment with your kids becoming budding entrepreneurs.

Practice in the kitchen: Do a run-through in the kitchen before you open for business. It’s fun to test out different hot chocolate recipes and determine which recipe is the easiest, which is the most tasty, which is the most time intensive. We even looked up several blogs that suggested dipping the rim with candy or sprinkles! 

Recipe for success: When it came to our recipe, we chose to not make our hot chocolate with milk, since many have dairy allergies. Caleb is a fan of extra marshmallows so we made sure to incorporate marshmallows in our cups! We also noticed preparing each cup would speed up the process. This was a fantastic exercise in planning ahead. 

Name your stand: Let the kids creative juices run wild! Caleb named his stand HOG-Chocolate after his HedgeHOG. Personalized and fun! 

Dress up: Apron, chef hat, anything that gets the kids excited for this little “business venture.” They can dress the part!

Weather Counts: Winter weather is often unpredictable. Pick a day that it is not windy. We waited for the blustery week to tone down.

Our hot chocolate stand items

The set up: It’s simple. We brought our picnic table to the front yard and clamped a festive tablecloth (it was windy that day).

How to keep the hot water hot: We brought out our tea kettle and plugged it into the Christmas Light strand: i.e., extension cords. 

How much to charge: I left this up to Caleb and he made a menu with a variety of options. He had a small cup, large cup, a cup with extra marshmallows he named “The Decorative Delight,” which was adorable. I think it’s a good idea to guide them after a few test runs with family members. We set out a tip jar, too. I think it’s a nice gesture to also give away free cups of hot chocolate along the way. Kids will love the reaction and “good deed” feeling. 

Promote your stand: With a career in digital marketing and PR, I had a blast with a grassroots, hyperlocal marketing strategy and teaching this to Caleb. We promoted to friends and family and loved the support, plus, we promoted this in our neighborhood’s Nextdoor app with a cute post of our hours of operation. The stand in general created interest with neighbors walking their dogs throughout the day or neighbors checking mailboxes. Since Caleb was so adorable with his chef’s hat, this generated a lot of attention, too. 

Caleb thought up the idea to knock on doors and invite them over. He is very outgoing and loves meeting new people, so this was exciting for him. We are still fairly new to the block so we are very thankful we took the time to extend a personal invite.

I can’t wait to see your homemade hot chocolate stand! Follow me and tag me in yours! We would love to come stop by and show our support! @socialwithsarah_ on Instagram and Facebook

Sarah Crilley
Sarah Crilley lives in Plano, Texas with her 9-year-old son Caleb, fiancè Nick, adopted french bulldog Daisy. They are introducing the newest member of the family, Rocky Elliott the Hedgehog! (Yes..hedgehog😂) With hands full balancing "working mommy-life" Sarah works full-time managing the team at Real News PR in Dallas. She is a lover of coffee, listening to podcasts, attending community events, social media, and writing! She enjoys connecting and sharing with other moms. Sarah has been a contributor for CCMB since October 2016! She loves blogging and plans to incorporate video into some of her posts.