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Hot Cocoa & The Christmas Spirit

I decided to not decorate for Christmas this year.  I didn’t last year, either.  Actually, last year was a therapeutic reminiscing and purging activity of holiday decor followed by post-holiday purchases with the hopes of decorating my little apartment this year.  I’m not being bah-humbug this season or anything I just wasn’t feeling up to decorating.  I have, however, been playing my Christmas Playlist since the day after Thanksgiving.

I love Christmas music.  I have everything from Dean Martin to N*SYNC Christmas music, and I love it all.  I am a strong supporter of Christmas music not being allowed until after Thanksgiving, but on that day my Christmas music starts and it doesn’t stop until December 31st.  My mom was supportive of my decision to leave my home bare for the holidays, and instead had us all come over early for our weekly Sunday Family Dinner to help decorate her home.

The boys put the lights on the house while the girls put together the tree and decorated inside.  I had beef stew simmering in my dutch oven, Christmas tunes playing, and the promise of homemade hot cocoa for after dinner.  The house was definitely full of the “Holiday Spirit”.  As we were putting up all the decorations I confessed to my mom that I had a touch of regret about not decorating at home, but that I still didn’t really feel like it.  She let me take home my grandmother’s little ceramic Christmas tree so I would have at least one decoration.  That tree is a childhood staple and it warms my heart to now have it sitting on my kitchen counter.  I’m still not feeling the entire decorating idea, but it is nice to have that one thing.

My favorite thing about my mom’s Christmas decor is that it is mostly homemade and old.  Most of the Christmas tree ornaments were made by one of her seven children in school or church.  From the clay Christmas tree pencil holders that were made in kindergarten to the toilet paper roll-turned-angel tree topper that my now 21-year-old brother made in elementary school.  She has them all.  There is a California license plate ornament and “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament for each of us.  There are some newer ornaments as well, but its the handmade ones that make Mom’s tree special.

We decorated, talked, laughed, and ate.  Everyone moved into the living room to watch a new tv show that has become a Sunday night ritual while I lingered in the kitchen to make my hot cocoa.  I decided that I wouldn’t do my usual chocolate-lover’s-dream hot cocoa since I was bringing along Tim Tams to accompany.

Tim Tams are these little chocolate cream cookies that I was introduced to while living in Washington (definitely one of my favorite Washington memories).  They are good on their own.  I mean, it’s chocolate cream sandwiched between chocolate wafers and dipped in chocolate, what’s not to love?  To make this an even more decadent treat someone came up with the “Tim Tam Slam”.

Take chocolate wafer, bite off opposite corners, place in cup of hot cocoa, sip hot cocoa using wafer as straw.  As soon as the hot cocoa hits your tongue, throw the entire wafer into your mouth and enjoy the gooey, quadruple-chocolatey goodness of the now melting wafer.  You have just slammed your Tim Tam.  You’re welcome.

Yield: serves 6

Simple Hot Cocoa

A simple hot cocoa recipe to keep you warm and comforted.


  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 cups whole milk


  1. Whisk together cocoa powder and sugar in pot on stove to break up any lumps. Pour in the milk.
  2. Set heat to low. Do not let milk come to a boil. Whisk constantly to maintain smooth texture
  3. Serve hot


This is a simple and straightforward hot cocoa recipe. Try adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg (or both!) and a splash of vanilla extract while heating for a spiced treat.

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