Polar Express Party: Hot Chocolate Shoppe

By Holly Giles | seasonal

The Polar Express movie has been a yearly staple in our home for 10 years. We love sharing it with family and friends Each year we come up with a new way to bring it to life. Can you hear the bell ring?

Personalized train tickets packaged in a Christmas box along with hot cocoa were delivered to each family. Three families were invited for the evening making a total of ten children. A perfect number for an exciting evening! The instructions were to arrive in your pajamas and don’t forget your ticket!

As the children arrived, the conductor, otherwise known as Papa, punched their names in their ticket. Once all the children were there, Cowboy realized he could not find his ticket.  It had blown out into the backyard.  As a group, the conductor took all the children on a hunt for the ticket.  They came across a bonfire with a man playing the guitar.  He teased them a bit and then pulled
the missing ticket from inside his shoe.
Next, the children visited the dining car to get a snack before the movie started. I decorated small water bottles and put tags on them that said “melted snow” and I served popcorn. I decorated our back porch gazebo with sheets to make an enclosed movie theater. I borrowed a large screen monitor to show the movie on. I used our outdoor furniture and lawn chairs to make room for ten children.
The kids had a blast watching the movie, they felt like they were in a tent. About halfway through the movie we stopped for intermission.  This is when the “Hot chocolate and candy shoppe” opened.  I placed train tracks around the counter for our wooden Polar Express train to go around playing the hot chocolate song.
  One of the moms stayed to help me serve the kids their hot chocolate and help them choose treats at the candy shoppe.  The kids ate their treats at the picnic table outside,  then finished the movie. I filled jars with old-fashioned candies, I made cookies and rice crispy treats along with crockpot hot chocolate.
At the end, all the children got a bag to fill up at the Candy Shoppe and take home. I also had a bell for each child in a little box with a tag saying “May you always hear the bell ring”.  All the kids asked if they could come back next year.
This was my sweet 7-year-old toothless Cowboy! He is now 8 and new teeth have grown in.  Time with the kids goes by so fast that I love doing a few special events with them each year to mark as tradition.
Invite a few friends over for a Polar Express party of your own. Start a tradition with a few close friends that your children will look forward to year after year.

About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.