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Hot Cocoa Crate and Cocoa Station for Small Spaces

This Christmas cocoa crate and hot cocoa station is meant for every day through the holidays and winter. It uses up a small area of our kitchen cabinet, which I think is designed to be a small office area in the kitchen. We use it as an area for coffee and have a cabinet with all the coffee fixings cups etc above it. But what about for the holidays? or hot cocoa season? I wanted something special, affordable, and small enough to fit on the two-foot counter with a coffee pot.

The Cocoa Crate and Station Before

Here’s the tiny area I am working with. (I can’t ditch the ugly oak cabinet color yet, but Hubs is slowly coming around to the idea.)

A small coffee station with an espresso make and cannisters. It has no Christmas decor as its the before picture

It’s clear, free of junk, and functional for most of the year, but it needs some spunk and spiffing up for the holidays.

Some Ideas for Maximizing a Space

In a small space, the counter area is always at a premium, especially at Christmas time. If you can find something like a small wood caddy to add height and layer items it will save you some counter space. I found a little wood crate at a thrift store for $1, it fit three mugs while giving me to ability to place something else on top if needed.

If you can’t find one, it would be easy to build with two four-inch square ends and six 1 by 2’s cut to 15 inches for the three long sides.

My little cocoa crate didn’t have legs so I glued together dollar tree Jenga blocks and added them to the bottom using E-6000. That little bit of height makes it easier to pull the mugs out of the box.

Small flat wooden jenga blocks used as legs on the cottom of a coffee caddy.

To update the box I filled the staple holes with filler, gave it a quick sanding, and applied three coats of white Fusion mineral paint in the color picket fence.

Hot Cocoa Crate How-To Video

I created a how-to video showing the steps I took making and decorating my hot chocolate bars.

Adding Gingerbread Decor

My kitchen Christmas theme this year is gingerbread, unfortunately in the rural area we live in I was unable to purchase gingerbread themed mugs so I made some using plain white dollar store mugs and my Cricut.

Then to add a gingerbread adornment I found a gingerbread ornament, painted the red out with pink, and added some sparkle using fine glitter and tada she was pretty much perfect.

A hot chocolate bar with a gingerbread themed cocoa crate, themed wood caddy, and some DIY gingerbread mugs .

Add Small Lights and Labels

A smaller area means things are more cramped, with good labels and some extra lighting users will find it easier to look for what they want.

I put the pieces together to hold the mugs and the little box adds enough room on top for several jars of hot cocoa bar goodies like sprinkles a jar of fudge and so forth..

Here are the supplies you will need to set up and style a small hot cocoa bar like mine:

  • Wooden caddy /crate/ box
  • Mugs
  • Glass jars
  • Evergreen picks

Decorating the Hot Cocoa Station

To keep costs to a minimum use whatever Christmas themed mugs you have or whip them up like I did for my caddy.

Use Small Hot Chocolate Station Jars

Use containers with lids wherever you can. The lids keep the items fresh, they are easy to find either at thrift stores, or dollar stores. Wide mouth mason jars are my favorite for this, especially vintage mason jars.

A small Christmas hot chocolate bar made with thrift store vintage mason jars, and free printable labels.

Hot Cocoa Bar Topping Ideas

You will want to have as much variety as you can provide given the time you have, your budget, how much space you have, and the number of guests you expect over the holidays. My hot cocoa bar is minimal, my space is small, and I only expect two or three people to be enjoying hot cocoa as we are having a couple of small gatherings instead of one large one. Hubs will be using it most of all, so I made sure to add extra chocolate.

There are countless ways to add fun toppings to your hot chocolate bar. You can add chocolate, alcohol chocolate, coffee syrups, and spices (think about Mexican hot chocolate). Then all the sides like shortbread cookies, gingerbread, and biscotti. Syrups like salted caramel, french vanilla, and Irish cream. Candies, like marshmallows, sprinkles, sparkling sugars. I created two free-label printables with various chocolate topping ideas that you can tape to the front of your glass jars.

Free printable labels for a hot cocoa bar laying on the counter. There are 12 different labels each one with a different hot chocolate bar topping idea.
A hot cocoa station for small spaces sitting on a kitchen counter with a homemade wood crate holding coffee cups, assorted mason jars with pretty minimalist labels for various toppings and homemade fudge .

Other Hot Cocoa Bar and Coffee Bar Ideas

Today’s post has a small cocoa bar that I will keep up until Christmas. It’s small and meant to serve one or two people whenever they want a hot treat. Here is another huge cocoa bar I created for a gathering. It’s perfect for a group of people who were sledding or tobogganing and this welcomes them home. It’s also great for a large group on Christmas Eve and so forth.

hot chocolate bar,hot chocolate bar ideas, hot chocolate toppings,

A Large Coffee and Cocoa Bar for a Group

This hot cocoa bar includes adult beverage ideas, loads of different toppings, and frozen whipped cream ideas for making a special event for a group even more special.

Small kitchen Christmas coffee station using red truck Christmas decor.

Compact Farmhouse Coffee and Cocoa Bar for a Keurig

This is a very simple Red Truck Christmas coffee bar you can create with assorted tins of goodies and a Keurig. The red truck is used to hold mugs, spoons, cinnamon sticks, and other types of stirring utensils like chocolate covered spoons.

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