Festivities with Friends: Cookie Decorating and Hot Cocoa Bar

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Here come the holidays!  With all of the hustle and bustle around this season, it can be hard to find time to actually enjoy it.  For me, Christmas truly IS the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the music, the decorations, and of course - the food!  But mostly, I love getting together with friends and family to celebrate.  This year, with the helping and styling of Jessica Linn Events, I teamed up with the amazing Marah Frank and Cris Zaragoza to show you how to throw the ultimate festive get together - with custom cookies and an incredible hot cocoa bar.

Can you really call yourself a holiday hostess without baking and decorating gorgeous gingerbread and sugar cookies?  I used my all-time favorite recipe to make these beauties!  (Just a tip: make sure your significant other didn't throw away your perfectly good eggs BEFORE you start mixing your batter!  It may save you a midnight trip to Rite-Aid.) A little bit of unaltered royal icing goes a long way when decorating.  To make things easier, have it in piping bags for your guests upon arrival!

We had countless fun options on deck (crushed peppermint, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.) for toppings, but I chose to keep mine fun and girly with sugar pearls and glittery crystals!

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For the hot chocolate bar, mix-ins are a must!  Prepare for the eclectic palates of your guests with an array of flavors like caramel, toffee, and peppermint.  (Melted kisses make for an extra rich and chocolatey experience!) Oversized marshmallows act as gorgeous drink toppers - they're Instagram friendly and taste good too!  Try these from Sur La Table.  They're similar to the ones Marah brought to our gathering!

We're all guilty of leaving half of the cocoa powder unstirred at the bottom of our mugs.  To avoid this, make sure to include peppermint sticks and pirouettes in your spread. These pretty pieces make it easy to swirl and ensure that every bit of chocolate makes it safely into your belly!

For an extra twist and instant warmth, add a shot of peppermint schnapps.  (You're welcome!)

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 Photo by @samisaundersstudio

Photo by @samisaundersstudio

When it comes to the decor for your holiday hangout, your theme is everything. (Special thanks again to Jessica Linn Events for making everything look absolutely gorgeous!). Be careful to stick to one style to avoid creating a nonsensical mess! Our goal was to bring a rustic, woodland, wonderland to life.  Fresh greenery brings warmth and coziness to any tablescape. And in conjunction with mason jars, chalkboard topping labels, and wooden accessories, your display will easily come together.

Now that you've got the basics, don't forget to make it fun.  Your Christmas party should be simple, and stress-free.  After all, no one likes to deal with the Grinch!

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 Photo by @samisaundersstudio

Photo by @samisaundersstudio

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xx