19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (2024)

Grab your ticket and climb aboard! The dulcet tones of Tom Hanks and the heartwarming lesson of believing in magic have brought light and wonder to the Christmas season for almost twenty years now with The Polar Express. This holiday season, throw a soiree everyone will love with these Polar Express party ideas.

If you’ve ever stayed up late on Christmas Eve waiting for that telltale train whistle, dreaming of being whisked away in your pajamas to visit where the magic happens, then a Polar Express theme party may be just the ticket. You’ll be able to add that whimsical touch to you or your child’s birthday party, or an extra-festive Christmas party.

Here are our top ideas for a Polar Express party:

Host In Your Living Room

You can’t go wrong with your own living room. You’ll have the freedom to really go all out with your Polar Express party decorations – some ideas are listed below. The living room is the ideal setting for this cozy party: you and your guests can truly relax and enjoy the festivities, and you can even watch the movie itself with a steaming hot chocolate in hand.

Book a Visit from Santa

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (1)Photo: Lizardflms/shutterstock.com

What guest could be more special than Father Christmas himself? He’s beloved by children and adults worldwide and teaches us all about the magic of Christmas. Why not arrange to have Santa drop by your party?

Find a Santa

Polar Express Theme Party Ideas

Train Ticket Invitations

You can’t forget to show the conductor your ticket! You can impress your guests before they even arrive with these charming invitations. The front will show the ticket’s signature gold lettering, while the back will hold all the important details.

Pajamas Only Dress Code

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (2)Photo: Evgeny Atamanenko/shutterstock.com

The children aboard the Polar Express wear strictly pajamas, and what could be more cozy? Join in the fun and break out your favorite bathrobe and fluffy slippers to really get in the spirit.

Polar Express Party Decoration Ideas

A Snowy Wonderland

To evoke the true North Pole experience, deck the halls with the appropriate wintry look. It isn’t too time-consuming: with a few staples, white felt, scissors, and glitter spray, your home will be transformed into Santa’s homeland, replete with dangling icicles and snowdrifts.

Train Track Tape

You can turn your floor into a twisting train track with just a roll of painter’s tape and some determination. These can be used for party games, or just as a fun decoration; details can be added as you please, from painted signs to railroad crossings. A stool can become a bridge for the kids to climb over, while a pop-up tunnel makes a handy railway tunnel.

Polar Express Movie Backdrop

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (3)Photo: Mabelle Art Studio/shutterstock.com

Print or order a backdrop (like this one from Amazon) and use it as a photo booth area. Whether you make your own photo booth, or hire a photo booth vendor, these pictures can double as a party favor.

Polar Express Theme Games and Activities

Visit a Real-life Train Carriage

For a more authentic experience, you can make a day of it and catch the train. Aspen Crossing offers a Polar Express experience during the festive season, including a golden ticket, hot chocolate, a delicious cookie, and a tinkling silver bell. You can also avail of the Polar Express service by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for a very special day out.

Trackless Trains

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (4)Photo: photobeginner/shutterstock.com

A staple of Christmas markets, this will add an extra special touch to your party. If you live on a quiet street or have access to a park, this is sure to be a winner with the train enthusiasts among your guests.

Snow Shoveling

This game needs only enthusiasm and craft supplies to pull off. Each player has a spoon and two bowls, one empty and one filled with white pom poms. The aim of the game is to race against the clock to spoon all the pom poms from one bowl to the other while holding the spoon in your mouth. No hands!

Conductor Says

This game also puts a thematic spin on a party classic. Simply follow the same rules as ‘Simon Says’ and have fun!

Scavenger Hunt

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Your guests can follow clues and find prizes along the way as they search for the North Pole, where the ultimate prize of your choosing is stashed away.

Polar Express Party Food Ideas

Christmas Tree Brownies

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (5)Photo: Nina Firsova/shutterstock.com

Simply follow your favorite brownie recipe and cut them into triangles once cooled. Drizzle with green frosting or dip it entirely, and let your guests decorate them as they choose!

Festive Cookies

From reindeer to elves, you can let your imagination run wild with either a reliable sugar cookie recipe or some spiced Christmas cookies. As bells are an important part of the Polar Express magic, you can jazz up some bell cookies with edible silver paint.

‘Coal’ Truffles

With a simple mixture of Oreo cookies and cream cheese, you can whip these crowd-pleasers up in no time. Dust with crumbled Oreos and cocoa powder for an extra-authentic look. Like the coal fuels the steam train, these tasty truffles will fuel your guests.

Train Sandwiches

For the simplest of train-themed foods, you can prepare a selection of sandwiches with your favorite fillings and, with a train cookie cutter, turn them into a novelty snack!

Polar Express Party Drink Ideas

Hot Chocolate

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (6)Photo: Edalin Photography/shutterstock.com

The silky, rich sweetness of hot chocolate continues to be a favorite, and the hot chocolate dance in The Polar Express is my personal favorite scene. Feel free to customize as you wish, adding peppermint or cinnamon for a special twist.

Alternatively, you can make hot chocolate bombs ahead of time, filled with marshmallows, edible glitter, and of course, plenty of chocolate.

Cranberry Apple Cider

There’s nothing like hot cider to warm you up on long winter evenings. This recipe puts a cranberry spin on the classic apple cider that will bring an extra Christmassy feel to your party. You can also make it in a crock pot to keep that festive scent in the air.


What could be more of a classic than eggnog? This sweet, thick drink is Christmas in a cup, lightly spiced and smooth.

Find more holiday party ideas here on The Bash.

19 Magical Polar Express Party Ideas (2024)


What does the kid ask for in the Polar Express? ›

Realizing he could choose anything in the world, the boy asks for a bell from Santa's sleigh.

How to decorate a room for Polar Express? ›

We picked up simple glittered foam snowflakes to decorate the walls, fake snow balls and a tiny little holiday village. All you need to set up a mini station like this are crayons, stamps, pencils, paper and envelopes. A simple box decorated as Santa pants makes a great mail box, or you could purchase one like this.

Should Christians watch The Polar Express? ›

Some parents may elect to use the film's theme of “childlike faith in one who is unseen” to convey a spiritual message, though others will feel uncomfortable using a movie that has consciously stripped Jesus out of Christmas as a means of metaphorically putting Him back in, aided by yuletide myth.

What does the hobo in Polar Express represent? ›

The hobo's identity is never revealed in the movie, leaving it open to interpretation as to who he is and what his true purpose is. Some fans have speculated that he is a representation of Santa Claus, while others think he may be a guardian angel sent to look after the children on their journey.

Do kids wear PJS on Polar Express? ›

We encourage our guests, young and young at heart to wear pyjamas just as in the book with a dressing gown for good measure also. Immerse yourself in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, children love it and why not Mums, Dads, Granny and Grandpa too?

Is Polar Express better at night or day? ›

Consider what time of day you travel. Younger kids may do better on earlier trains, but the last train ride of the evening is arguably the most atmospheric when it's darker outside, the train cars seem cozier, and you can see the holiday lights better.

Is Polar Express kid friendly? ›

Because of its suspenseful scenes, The Polar Express isn't suitable for children under 6-7 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-13 years.

Why did the boy ask for a bell in Polar Express? ›

Hero Boy first hears the silver bells being rung from the reindeer's harness while they excitedly await Santa's arrival. He likes the sound they make so much that he asks for one when chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas.

What did the boys ticket say in Polar Express? ›

Finally, he punches Hero Boy's ticket behind his back. The word is "BELIEVE", though the Conductor interrupts him before he reads it out loud, saying he does not need to know what it says. Hero Boy boards the train and his ticket disappears in sparkles as he puts it back in his pocket.

Was the little boy dreaming in The Polar Express? ›

However, the story wasn't a dream, as the main character tells Billy, and the bell at the end proves it. Magic can explain how the train could make that incredible journey in less than a night and survive all those perils.

What did the children drink on The Polar Express? ›

On the train, the children are served delicious-looking hot chocolate with a side of theatrical song and dance as an octet of waiters sing a song about the beverage while they serve the children.

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