Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Hospitality And A Warm Cup Of Cheer

A few years ago, I started helping my daughter set up a hot beverage bar at her school as a fundraiser for charity. It finally dawned on me that this would work great for drop-in visitors that stop by the house during the holidays. So I set about creating one for my own kitchen, mostly with items I already had around the house. Below I've included pictures from the last two years and you can see that items on the trays differ depending on my mood and what I have on hand.

A cute container with peppermint sticks (a must have for hot chocolate!)...


And a jar full of marshmallows and a scoop...

Three cute shakers I found at a store one day for nutmeg, chocolate, and cinnamon (the 'adult' must have items for coffee!)...

Coffee syrups for flavoring...


A selection of hot chocolate packets and teas in holiday flavors as well as some all time favorites...


Don't forget mugs, spoons, cute napkins, a sugar bowl, and honey...



If the door bell rings, I just pull out the creamer and add it to the tray.


For hot water, I use an electric tea pot that heats in less than 3 minutes. And for coffee, I use a coffee pot of course, but I also have a commercial grade thermos with a pump spout that I use if I want to keep it hot and fresh all day long ...


Each morning, I just add fresh water to the pot and coffee in the thermos. Visitors often can't stay long and this way I can offer them something right away to warm them up before they are out the door again. And if they can't stay, I keep hot/cold cups with lids for a "to go" treat. Any unused water can be used in something else when I cook and the extra coffee... well, I can always drink one more cup, right? Besides, you don't have to fill it to the top, just make what you think you'll need for that day. Oh, and if you don't have a tray, just use a cookie sheet and add a placemat to it in order to cover any "stains" it may have.

Finally, I like to keep a plate of cookies or a sampling of other Christmas treats that I can offer, so I have these on hand and just cover them with plastic wrap to keep them fresh until visitors arrive. I just refresh the plate when needed.

This really is so easy sometimes I wonder why I don't do this year round?


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