Buddy the Elf said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." Buddy clearly did not take in account my lack of singing abilities when he said this. And I know that I am not the only tone deaf holiday lover out there. This year, in hopes of spreading the holiday spirit, I have gone with an alternative route to singing. A foolproof way that can turn any "bah humbug" into "totally tinsel." HOT CHOCOLATE!

We all have a hot chocolate memory. Warming up with a mug after sledding, burning your tongue rushing to get the marshmallows out, or even watching Polar Express and singing along, "hot hot oh we got it." Store-bought hot chocolate is a staple holiday treat that comes in many packages. After a long night of a blind taste testing with some of Santa's helpers (aka my closest friends) and many cups of hot chocolate, I've found the best store-bought hot chocolates mixes on the market. 

5. Swiss Miss, Marshmallow Lovers

Barbara Heidkamp

Swiss Miss is the classic choice. The epitome of store-bought hot chocolate. It's sure to be crowd pleaser, is ready in seconds, and comes with extra marshmallows. Yes, please!

Taste: Like childhood in a cup, this hot chocolate mix not only comes with a the closest thing to Lucky Charms marshmallows, but it also only requires hot water. 

Cost: $1.98/ 8 servings at Walmart

Accessibility: VERY easy to find at almost any grocery store or on Amazon.

4. Ticket Chocolate, Hot Chocolate Sticks

Barbara Heidkamp

This Starbucks find was a flex splurge! It came with three different flavors (white chocolate, sea salt caramel, and peppermint). Stirring the stick to melt the chocolate is the true testament to patience paying off. 

Taste: Each cup is special and individual like a snowflake.

Cost: $25/5 servings at Neiman Marcus

Accessibility: Hard to find, available at some Starbucks.

3. Land O Lakes, Arctic White Cocoa Classic

Barbara Heidkamp

The packaging didn't lie. Rich, creamy, intense flavor is exactly what you get with this mix. This twist on a classic rings in the winter like vanilla white snow. 

Taste: Like a hot vanilla milkshake

Cost: $4.93/12 servings at Walmart

Accessibility: Easy to find at local grocery stores and online on Amazon.

2. Williams-Sonoma Classic Hot Chocolate

Barbara Heidkamp

When cocoa powder is overrated, come back to the basics. This "classic hot chocolate" is pure chocolate shavings that melt over the stovetop. A little hard work clearly pays off after making this one. 

Taste: Thick, chocolatey richness that's well earned after the hard work of making it.

Cost: $19.95/12 servings at Williams-Sonoma

Accessibility: Only sold at Williams-Sonoma.

1. Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa With Chocolate Chips

Barbara Heidkamp

The most beloved amongst Santa's taste tester helpers. This mix is easy to make, yet it leaves the great taste of true chocolate chips on your tongue. This is sure to be a go-to every trip to the grocery store. Your friends won't believe it was store-bought.

Taste: Imagine what the chocolate river in Willy Wonka tastes like—it's probably not as good as this. 

Cost: $13.57/ 15 servings on Amazon

Accessibility: Easy to find at local grocery stores, Amazon, and Target.

Next time you need some holiday cheer, warm up with a mug of some of the best store-bought hot chocolate mixes and make some memories that will last a lifetime while you're at it. 'Tis the season to drink chocolate, the most wonderful time of the year.