This weekend our family and another family trekked the three hours from Houston to Palestine (Texas) to climb aboard the Texas Railroad’s Polar Express train which runs in December for Christmas.
When my friend suggested we all go months ago, we were a bit skeptical given the short railroad ride compared to the six hour round trip it would take to get there. But I wanted to do it at least once with the kids and BOY am I glad I did.
Little did I know three months ago how much our family would appreciate a mega-shot of holiday cheer and how much fun we’d have hanging out with this other family. The reality is, I occasionally have play dates but rarely do we get the opportunity to do something with an entire family where both the kid sets match up well and the couple sets match up well.
The kids wear their pajamas on the train. You turn down the big railroad road and walk up to a train station bedecked in holiday lights and décor after parking and grabbing your bag of kid supplies. We bought the standard class tickets and they were perfect. The two couples sat in benches facing one another and the kids shared the other set of benches (little did we know how smart it was putting them on THAT side of the train).
The other mom packed these awesome Christmas kid items like flashing Rudolph noses and headbands with antlers and little stuffed Santas. (Mom tip – she says the Dollar Store is awesome for these. I’m so going to start doing this – the kids adored it!) The train takes off for the North Pole and the “chefs” sing and dance up the aisle while delivering hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies. Then the Polar Express story is read over the speakers and the chefs show the book if you didn’t bring your own copy. A conductor comes through to punch your gold ticket (those tickets, they kept getting dropped and lost underneath the blankets).
Finally, you arrive at the North Pole! Santa and his elves are waving from a snowy village. Santa boards the train and while you wait for him to make it back to your car, the chefs lead you in singing the best and most classic Christmas carols. Santa makes his way back to you to hand deliver each child their own golden bell.
We laughed and danced to the carols in the aisles and the kids had a BLAST! I only wish it were a longer trip, it’s just over an hour ride. However, they pack a tremendous amount of holiday cheer in such a little time. I left completely in the mood for Christmas! I’m so glad we went at the beginning of December because it has really amped up our holiday spirit!