How to host your own neighborhood Christmas Cocoa Bar

Five years ago, our family invited our neighbors to a coffee, cocoa, and cookie event in our driveway and it has grown into one of our favorite holiday traditions. My husband and I are both California kids and this isn't always the norm where we live, but we're so grateful that it has become the norm on our street! The annual driveway Christmas party has been a great, non-intimidating way for neighbors to connect and foster community.

By sharing our experience on social media, we hope to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and connect with their neighbors. Despite my initial nervousness, I am grateful we started, and I've been amazed at how God can use simple acts like invitations to build a strong sense of community.

Over the years, people have asked how we do it, so here is a simple recipe:

  1. Set the date and time, and create an invitation (see example below). We've done both morning and evening events over the years, depending on which was most effective for our street.

  2. Choose who you want to invite. We live on a cul-de-sac, so inviting the entire street makes sense for us. Your methods for defining boundaries may differ depending on whether you live in a long street, an apartment complex, or a rural area.

  3. Pass out your invitations as a family! If at all possible, we recommend doing this in person. This door-to-door approach has been equally as impactful as the actual event. Our 5-year-old son loved being the one to hand out the invitation this year. I also recommend praying as a family before you go (this always helps to calm my anxieties, as this is always the part I fear but end up enjoying the most!)

  4. Gather supplies, from simple coffee and donuts to elaborate decorations. This year, we set up a coffee and cocoa bar with marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, candy canes, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and whipped cream. Other options include cookies, a fire pit, or ornaments. Be creative and remember that most people are happy to enjoy the company and aren't looking to be impressed. (But if impressive spreads are your gift, go for it!)

  5. Enjoy fostering connections and building relationships with your neighbors! We've had years where a lot of people came and others where only 2 other families came. Don't get discouraged, and remember numbers aren't always a sign of success.

Have you tried anything like this? Are neighborhood gatherings common where you live? Let us know how it went!

Example Invitation:


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