Warming up by the fire, sipping hot chocolate and watching the first snowfall make winter magical

4 min readFeb 4, 2021
A new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Stuffed Puffs® finds that most Americans agree winter is the most magical time of year. (Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels)

Enjoying a marshmallow-filled cup of hot chocolate, seeing the first snowfall and warming up by the fire after a day in the cold were revealed to be the best parts of winter.

According to new research of 2,000 nationally representative Americans, building a snowman and celebrating the holidays were also included in respondents’ favorite parts of the season.

This was followed by baking winter treats, skiing or snowboarding and going ice skating.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of chocolate-filled marshmallow brand Stuffed Puffs® for National Hot Chocolate Day, the survey looked at Americans’ love for the coldest season.

Making hot chocolate on a cold day and seeing extended family for the holidays rounded out the top 10 aspects respondents look forward to most about winter.

Results also discovered that the best outdoor winter temperature is 39 degrees Fahrenheit — but while six in 10 agreed that winter feels more magical than other times of the year, 68% also believe winter was more fun when they were a child.

This might be one of the reasons why 62% of parents surveyed (about 1,100 respondents) plan to live vicariously through their child(ren) this winter.

Two-thirds of parents (67%) said they’re excited to feel like a kid again this winter, and the top activity they’re hoping to do with their child is to enjoy hot chocolate with marshmallows (42%).

In honor of National Hot Chocolate Day on Jan. 31, the survey delved into respondents’ hot chocolate preferences — and their memories surrounding the beverage. One respondent reminisced about their father flooding the backyard to make an ice skating rink for them — afterward, they would come inside and drink hot chocolate.

Another respondent spoke about living on a Christmas tree farm and drinking hot chocolate with their sisters after helping other families with their trees, while a third said they did not have any specific memories but “any cup of good hot chocolate is a favorite memory.”

“There’s something nostalgic about sitting by the fire on a snowy day and drinking a cup of hot chocolate,” said Carla O’ Brien, the SVP of Marketing at Stuffed Puffs. “We weren’t surprised to see that having a marshmallow-filled cup of hot chocolate was the top favorite thing about winter — it’s one of my favorite aspects of the season, too.”

Of the 55% who enjoy drinking hot chocolate, a third (32%) said they drink it daily during winter.

Milk was the preferred way of making hot chocolate, decisively beating water (72% vs 15%) — with whipped cream (64%) and marshmallows (63%) chosen as the best toppings.

Sixty-two percent of hot chocolate drinkers said they prefer to keep their drink traditional, versus 31% who said they liked to experiment.

And 43% of hot chocolate drinkers said they believe it’s not limited to winter — and instead can be enjoyed year-round.

“There is no perfect way to make hot chocolate and that is part of the fun,” said O’Brien.

“Because the chocolate melts from inside the marshmallow, we just add two chocolate-filled marshmallows in a glass of warm milk, and my kids and I get to enjoy an instant cup of delicious hot chocolate. There are a variety of recipes to explore, like making hot chocolate cookies or these hot chocolate snowman pals.

“Whatever you prefer — whether it’s made with milk or water, piled high with marshmallows or topped with whipped cream — we encourage everyone to make some hot chocolate on Jan. 31 and celebrate the holiday with us.”


Enjoying a marshmallow-filled cup of hot chocolate — 48%
Going outside to watch the first snowfall — 47%
Sitting by the fire to warm up after a day out in the cold — 44%
Building a snowman — 40%
Celebrating the holidays — 38%
Baking winter/holiday treats — 34%
Skiing/snowboarding — 31%
Ice skating — 31%
Making hot chocolate on a cold day — 31%
Seeing my extended family for the holidays — 30%
Snowball fights — 30%
Seeing my extended family for the holidays — 30%
Sledding — 28%
Eating candy canes — 28%
Re-watching holiday movies — 28%
Wearing fuzzy socks — 28%
Eating hearty comfort foods — 27%
Cooking old family recipes — 26%
Driving/walking to see holiday lights around town — 25%
The general joy of the season — 24%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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