ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Polar Express party takes kids to North Pole and back

Updated on December 15, 2014

"The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg has become a holiday classic. Children and adults love the story and artwork of the Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. It has even become a movie, starring Tom Hanks in several roles, that adds to the magic of the book.

Anyone with a child who has a December birthday knows the madness of planning a birthday party at this time of year. A Polar Express-themed party makes things a little bit simpler.

But, this theme doesn't have to just be for birthdays. With families gathering, it could be a distraction for the kids that becomes a tradition. The ideas provided below can also be tweaked for school or library events.

Invitations

Tickets to the Polar Express make great invitations and thank you notes.
Tickets to the Polar Express make great invitations and thank you notes. | Source

The invitations for the party come from the movie. An added detail is the ticket all children magically find to ride the train to the North Pole. The conductor punches the tickets at the beginning of the trip, then punches a word that describes the child at the end.

For the invitations, use gold or yellow-gold resume paper. On the computer, design a ticket that would take up a third of the paper (use a brochure template, if one is available). I found a clip art image of a train, and used that in the center, placing an oval around it. On either side of the center image, place the information for the party. Don't forget to tell the children to dress in their pajamas.

Print out two copies of the invitation for each child. The first is the actual invitation, and the second becomes the thank you note. Before the party, punch the word "thanks" at the bottom of each thank you ticket, and have your child write a message or sign the back.

When each child arrives at the party, ask for their ticket and punch a few holes in it. At the end of the party, ask for the ticket back, then hand the thank you ticket to the child. You could turn around and pretend to be punching the holes right there to add to the magic of the party.

Decorations

For my December birthday child, we wait until after his birthday to decorate the house for Christmas. This party allowed us to decorate "early," since Christmas decorations are the perfect decorations for a Polar Express party.

All that may be needed are a white plastic cloth and white cups that can hold hot liquids.

Activities

When the children arrive, Christmas music could be playing. Provide plain wooden trains (available at craft stores) for children to decorate with markers.

Once everyone has arrived and they are satisfied with their trains, start reading the story. We read the story as the kids sat around the dining room table so they could drink their hot chocolate during the reading. Remember to read so the children can see the illustrations as you read. If that skill is not easy, use a recording (professional or you) and flip the pages at the appropriate times.

After the reading, children could decorate gingerbread men or make a gift for mom or dad using craft kits available at craft stores.

For a game, play Guess What's in the Package. Find a few pre-decorated boxes and place a toy in each. Number each box. Provide a list of possible toys, and have the kids guess what's in each box by looking at the size of the box and shaking it. Kids place their guesses on the lists. Once everyone is done guessing, open the boxes and see who got the most correct. Prizes could be anything used as a stocking stuffer.

Santa could make a special guest appearance at the party, but if he is too busy to attend, the children will understand.

Food

First, and most importantly, you'll need hot chocolate "as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars." Use milk as your liquid base and your favorite cocoa powder. For the large serving, heat in a pot over the stove. For an extra touch, add a teaspoon of vanilla.

The story also describes the children eating "candies with nougat centers as white as snow." Mini Milky Way bars are an easy way to provide this food- just unwrap each candy and serve on a platter to make the chocolates look more special.

For a cake, I made a "mountain" by placing a smaller layer on top of the base. A small plastic train fit along the space created by the top layer having a smaller diameter.

A sleigh bell was the first gift from Santa, and could be the favor from a Polar Express party.
A sleigh bell was the first gift from Santa, and could be the favor from a Polar Express party. | Source

Favors

The favor for this party is very simple, yet very special. My son still has his on top of his desk, and it's been six years since he had the party.

It is a bell that looks like the sleigh bell Santa gave the boy wrapped as gift in a box. Attach a red ribbon or cord to the bell to make it look like it was cut from Santa's sleigh. Fill the box with tissue to minimize the sound of the bell while it is in the box. Wrap the box in red and white striped wrapping paper, if possible.

© 2014 Samantha Sinclair

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)