Monday, December 16, 2013

Keep Calm & Drink Hot Cocoa: Celebrating with those who Support Your Mission & Vision

The end of the semester is nearing, and many school counselors are scrambling to figure out how to afford to say 'thank you' and show appreciation to those who support the school counseling mission and vision and collaborate to make reaching comprehensive school counseling goals that much more of a reality.

Over the last couple of years I have made an effort to say 'thank you' in many different ways. I've caught the Bed Bath & Beyond soap, lotion & candle sales-put stickers on the candles that say "Wise Wo(men) follow the light," made baked goods (cookies, brownies etc.), made "We Wisk you a Merry Kissmas, with hugs & kisses" gifts and many others that I cannot recall at the moment. None of those come close, in my opinion to the latest & greatest idea I picked up from Danielle Schultz at the school counselor blog.

This year I will be handing out small gifts to the cooks and some teachers I collaborate with extensively, but every teacher & staff member will be invited to the "Student Services Office 1st Annual Finals Week Hot Cocoa Bar." Our keep everyone calm and drink some delicious homemade hot cocoa.

To pull this idea off I searched the web for free printables (see photo to the left) to put on the cups, next year I might work with my amazing graphic design friend to create an actual logo for the festivities. Next I did a little research on what to add to the bar. I narrowed my list down to peppermint sticks, peppermint pieces, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, whipped cream, praline cookies, donuts, donut holes, and peppermint Hershey's kisses.

I picked up a less expensive table cloth at the Dollar Store, a nice glass jar to put the peppermint sticks in, a bucket with a lid for donut holes and cups.

I have a touch of Martha Stuart envy so I decided to make homemade hot cocoa versus buying the packets so I went back to Pinterest to find a great recipe. Once I had a plan, I secured all of the ingredients and I sprung for a percolator since I plan to make this an annual event.

I learned the hard way a long time ago to never try a recipe for the first time when serving the masses, so I tested my recipe out on my family first and oh my goodness was it great; the Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Irish Cream came after the true taste test. Highly recommend the after thought--after work.

Today I sent out the invitation above and set the table up (see pictures below) with my table top Christmas tree from the attic, teacher gifts & cards and all of the fixings. I made 40 cups of hot cocoa tonight and I will let it sit in the percolator on warm all night so the chocolate doesn't harden over night and I can leave by 6:00 am (I have about a 1 hour commute), to get to work a little early to plug the percolator in to reheat the cocoa for all to enjoy.

I can't wait to share a little holiday cheer with my colleagues...I will post pictures from the event in a follow up post soon.

Let's change the idea of talking at the water cooler and encourage our colleagues to visit their school counseling offices to 'Keep Calm and Drink Hot Cocoa" this and every holiday season because we are appreciative of all they do each day and all they do to help us serve our students.

How do you show your appreciation for teacher collaboration and support each year? Please share your thoughts and comments.

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