A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Christmas Lights and Cocoa

The traditions continue as we enjoyed our annual night of viewing Christmas lights while sipping on hot cocoa and munching popcorn. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to watch our children carry on our family traditions with their loved ones.  Of course, that is what traditions are, right?

A few changes were made to this year’s Christmas light adventure. Normally the kids would grumble about any changes made to our family traditions. However, we all enjoyed these fun additions, so we didn’t hear those usual complaints. It all began with a hot cocoa snack board. We have always enjoyed cocoa while driving around looking at the festive lights, but this year, everyone got to create their own cocoa masterpiece.

This is so much fun to create and, of course, there are no rules!  When assembling your snack board, keep in mind that some goodies will be for the hot cocoa and some will just be for snacking.   This being the first year, I had a lot of fun assembling the goodies, but my mind is already swirling with different ideas for the next occasion.

Ideas for Creating Cocoa Snack Board ~

The other good thing to remember is that this just doesn’t have to be a Christmas thing!  We drink cocoa as many times as we can throughout the winter months.  This leaves more opportunities to have fun with this chocolate-filled idea!  As mentioned earlier, the goodies are endless that can be included in your setup.  Here are some fun ideas:

  1. Candy canes or peppermint sticks
  2. Crushed peppermint candies
  3. Marshmallows – plain, flavored or festive shaped
  4. M & Ms
  5. Malt Balls
  6. White mini Kit Kats
  7. Chocolate nonpareils
  8. Gingerbread cookies
  9. Graham Crackers
  10. Caramel candies
  11. White chocolate pretzel rods
  12. White chocolate chips
  13. Various candy Kisses
  14. Biscotti
  15. White chocolate covered Oreos

It was so much fun watching the kids create their specialty cocoas.  Addi even discovered a new favorite…she couldn’t get enough of the chocolate nonpareils (also known as sno-caps).   We used the disposable soup bowls for each person to create their own snack mix.   Each bowl started with a little popcorn and then they filled them to their heart’s content.

Hot Chocolate Bombs ~

Have you seen this new and totally fun idea for hot cocoa???  This is definitely something I will add to the snack board for next year.  But why wait????  You can make these all winter long!  They have gone viral on Tik-Tok and everyone is raving about them.  They are available in stores to buy or you can make your own.  I have saved several posts for reference, but I especially like the post by Gluesticksblog.com.  She gives great ideas and tips and also references a video of them if you have not yet seen how they work.  How to Make Hot Chocolate Bombs by Gluesticksblog.com.

We will definitely be making our own soon and will share our results once we have done so.  However, I am starting preparations for them now and ordered the silicone chocolate mold so I am ready to go.    After reading many reviews and scouring for the best prices, these are the chocolate molds I ordered.  These are the chocolate molds I ordered for Hot Chocolate Bombs!  From my research, I have discovered you need to pay close attention to size.  I also saw where many of the chocolate mold companies weren’t so good on delivery!

Marshamallows are obviously an important ingredient as well.   The dehydrated marshmallows work best as they are small and easier to work with when making hot chocolate bombs.  If you do not plan ahead, these can be very hard to find in the stores *voice of experience here!!!  Here are some handy and fun links to help out with that…

Dehydrated Marshamallows in 1-Pound Sealable Bag

Mini Marshmallows With Snowflake Sprinkles & Chocolate Jimmies

Off To View the Lights ~

Everyone gathered their hot cocoa and snack bowl and loaded into the car for the next step.  Unfortunately, I believe this will be the last year that we will all be in the same vehicle.  Fortunately, that means our family is growing…❤!  Next year we will have to use 2 cars….but you can be sure that won’t stop this family tradition!  We drive through neighborhoods to enjoy the festive decorations.  To those people who decorate every year…thank you!  Some of the displays are the same as they were when our kids were youngsters.  How cool is that?

Carry Out and Puzzles ~

The final part of the evening is Chinese take-out at the end of our Christmas light viewing.  We call ahead and pick it up on our way back home.  Our little Addi already asks for this when we start choosing the date for this night.  Those traditions obviously make a difference even at a young age.  This just melts my heart!

The other new activity we added this year is doing a Christmas puzzle.  Not a large one, as we want to be able to finish it the same night.  My suggestion is to stick with 100 pieces or choose one that is a “family” style puzzle with three different sizes of pieces.  Have you seen these kind?  They are truly so much fun when you are puzzling with a variety of ages.

(Frosty the Snowman 100 piece puzzle)

Here are a couple options of the family time puzzles.  Our family has had one since the kids were young and we would do that same one every year.  Now there are even more options.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Family Time Puzzle  ~ The image Amazon includes here doesn’t show the different size pieces, but if you click on the link you will see that the Family Time puzzles have small, medium and large pieces for family puzzling.

Snoopy and Linus ice skating – Peanuts Family Time Puzzle ~ A super cute Family Time puzzle that also has small, medium and large pieces.

Christmas lights and cocoa has long been one of our kids’ favorite traditions of the many we try to do throughout the month of December.  I love watching our grown kids still juggle their schedules to make it all work.  Family time is oh so valuable and especially during this wonderful holiday of celebrating the birth of Christ!

Merry Christmas everyone!





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  1. Molly @ Transatlantic Notes

    I love the idea of this cocoa snack board! I will give this a try!

    • Shelly Latinovich

      It’s definitely fun! I hope you enjoy yours as much as we did ours!

    • whatdoesmammasay

      I think I’ll “steal” this cocoa snack board idea. It looks like so much fun!

      • Shelly Latinovich

        I am so glad to hear you are going to make it….I love when I can share fun ideas!

  2. Elle

    They look so happy and determined to really make that cocoa delightful! 😄 I’m very glad that you were still able to keep your family traditions during this time, and even more differently. There were a lot of things my family couldn’t do for this Christmas. Nonetheless, I’m still very thankful. Thank you for sharing this post! ✨

    • Shelly Latinovich

      Thanks Elle! They did enjoy it so much! Yes, we definitely still have so much to be thankful for! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas in spite of this crazy year!

      • Elle

        I sure hope I do! Merry Christmas to you! 😊✨

  3. sarahstyf

    These are wonderful traditions. Since moving to Texas and away from our parents, our kids have missed out on those traditions with extended family. I hope we get to experience them again before they are fully grown.

    • Shelly Latinovich

      That is definitely the hard part to being in different states. However, I hope you have found some new ways to share these experiences with them via internet and Facetime. Texas is a beautiful area!

      • sarahstyf

        We really love it. We are able to camp in winter!

  4. Jodie@lifeunboxed.blog

    Love the cocoa snack board. What a great idea!

    • Shelly Latinovich

      It truly does create a lot of smiles! Everyone enjoys creating their own “favorite!”

  5. Jenny Parker

    We always do cocoa and Christmas lights the snack board would be a great addition! We will be trying that this year. Also the frosty puzzle is amazing!

    • Shelly Latinovich

      Such a wonderful tradition to mix Christmas lights and cocoa. I am sure you will enjoy the snack board…it was a big hit for us! In fact, I can’t wait to do it again this year. And the puzzle….winner! Thanks for reading my blog! Happy Holidays to you!

  6. Pat M

    I love this!! I love how you make a whole night of it!! I did a hot cocoa snack board last year and it was awesome!! Maybe this year I will add in making a puzzle and seeing the lights!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Shelly Latinovich

      Thanks Pat! We really do enjoy the whole evening!!! What fun things did you put on your hot cocoas snack board last year….you can pass along some good ideas! I do think a puzzle is good and we truly love the ones that have the 3 different sizes so all ages can enjoy! Happy Holidays to you!

  7. Kelly

    I love the cocoa snack board idea! We always go through Starbucks in our jammies and then go look at lights — it’s one of my favorite traditions!

  8. The World Is an Oyster

    Some great ideas here! Fun and YUM!:)

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