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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2012:12:08 16:32:19

One of my son’s favorite holiday movies has always been “The Polar Express.” We read the book. We watch the movie. We sing the songs. Hot chocolate, anyone?

When he was younger, my friends and I would throw a “Polar Express” party for our kids to help get them excited about the upcoming holiday season. We always had fun planning the party because there is so much inspiration to pull from “The Polar Express.”

Setting the Theme: Here are some clever ways to pull out all of the stops for your holiday train-themed party:

Send themed invites: Every great party starts with an invitation. Whether you’re sending text invites, e-vites or paper invitations, be sure to set the tone of the party with your invitation. In addition to sharing the date, time and location, guests were always encouraged to show up in their PJs — even the adults.

Greet your guests in style: Greet your guests at the door wearing a conductor’s hat and blow a toy train whistle to announce their arrival. Pass out Polar Express tickets printed on card stock along with a hole puncher. The kids at our parties loved to create their own messages on their tickets with the hole punchers.

Parting gifts: As a small party favor, give each guest a jingle bell to remind them to believe in the spirit of the holiday.

Keep your guests in spirit the with these movie-themed activities:

Coal in the Hole: Wrap a large cardboard box in craft paper and cut a hole in the center of one of the sides. Cut up pieces of black foam in the shape of coal. Have guests toss the coal pieces into the hole in the box.

Candy Cane Fishing: Tie a string to a long stick to serve as a fishing pole. Attach a candy cane to the end of the string with the hook end facing down. Place several candy canes upright in a jar and have guests use their “fishing poles” to “catch” the candy canes in the jar.

Find the Missing Bell: In the movie, the main character loses the bell that Santa gave him. To keep with the movie-theme, one person hides a jingle bell and the rest of the guests need to find it.

Another great way to bring the Polar Express theme to life is to have movie-themed snacks.

Some of my favorites are:

Elf Hat Snacks

Elf Chow

Santa’s Coal Candy

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

(All of these recipes are available at

One of my favorite treats to make for a Polar Express party are North Pole cupcakes. They are easy to make and super festive.

North Pole Cupcakes


12 cupcakes with white frosting

Clear sanding sugar

12 candy canes

12 red M&Ms

Red and white craft paper for signs

Extra frosting to use as “glue”


Cover the frosting with a thin layer of sanding sugar.

Break off 4-5 inches of the bottom of the candy cane.

Insert the broken end of the candy cane into the cupcake so that 4 inches is sticking out of the cupcake.

Place a small amount of frosting on each M&M and stick it to the end of the candy cane

To make “North Pole” signs, cut small rectangles from red craft paper.

Cut slightly smaller rectangles from white craft paper.

Affix white paper to red paper using non-toxic glue (I used an Elmer’s glue stick).

Write “North Pole” using a permanent red marker.

Affix North Pole sign to candy cane using a small amount of frosting.