There's nothing more comforting than a mug of creamy hot cocoa on a cold winter snow day, but it's easy to get stuck in a rut with a packet of Swiss Miss. Next time you prepare hot chocolate for your family, make it a special treat with one of these 6 ways to spice up the winter classic.

1. Make it from scratch.

Convenience is crucial for busy parents, but homemade hot chocolate can be as easy as combining milk, cocoa, and sugar in a saucepan and heating until warm. And it always tastes better.

2. Try fancy flavors.

When you make your own hot cocoa, you can flavor it any way you want! Try Creamy Junior Mint Hot Chocolate or Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa for a fancy twist.

3. Go gourmet.

Still prefer the prepared variety? Splurge on a more expensive brand of hot chocolate for a special family treat. Starbucks, Godiva, and Williams-Sonoma all make excellent hot chocolate mixes (which only require you to add milk).

4. Add fun and tasty toppings.

For extra fun, set out a variety of hot chocolate toppings for your family to choose from. Keep it simple with a can of Reddi-Wip, or get more elaborate with some of the following:

  • homemade whipped cream
  • marshmallows (try flavors like peppermint or gingerbread)
  • candy canes (use for stirring)
  • crushed cookies or candy pieces
  • chocolate chips
  • flavored syrups
  • sliced strawberries
  • colored sprinkles

5. Make it on a stick.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick may require a bit more work ahead of time, but there's no doubt your kids will go crazy for this creative twist on the standard.

6. Spike it (for the adults).

With grown-up flavors like Orange Pisco, Tequila Mint, and Chile and Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, the adults in the crowd will love these 7 Ways to Spike Your Hot Chocolate. Or you can always just keep it simple — even a packet of Swiss Miss can be utterly transformed by a few shots of Bailey's.