One of the many holiday traditions that my family used to have during the holidays was setting up a grand Christmas train set underneath the tree.
There are lots of families that hold true to this tradition nowadays, but in the recent years the Christmas trains have improved so much and there are so many great trains to choose from.
So, how do you go about finding the very best Christmas train set for under your tree (or for just about anywhere in your home)?
I’ve done plenty of research on trains and have gathered up the best Christmas trains sets for under the tree to help you save some time shopping this holiday season.
The Best Train Sets For Under Your Christmas Tree
Lionel Polar Express Train Set
What could be better than having the Polar Express train chugging around your Christmas tree?
The train is battery powered and has an RC remote control so you can easily turn it off and on when you want. You’ll be amazed at how this train looks exactly like the one from the beloved Polar Express movie and book.
The set includes the Berkshire -style steam locomotive with the attached tender that reads “Polar Express.” It also comes with a passenger coach and an observation car.
It includes 24 curved pieces of railroad track along with 8 straight pieces. This is more than enough to make a circle around most Christmas trees but it can also be made into other shapes as well.
The train even features a working headlight as well as a realistic whistle and bell. Best of all you will even hear the train driver announce “I am the king of the North Pole,” and “All aboard! This is the Polar Express!”
This is a Ready to Play Set and is only compatible with these sets so keep that in mind before buying.
You’ll find that most Christmas train sets will run you a couple hundred dollars but since this is a smaller (but still high quality) set this is one of the cheaper train sets but also one of the most magical ones as the train takes the kids right into the North Pole.
Lionel Santa’s Helper Christmas Train Set
If you really want the spirit of Christmas with your train set, then this train featuring fun red and green cars with Santa’s elves helping along is the perfect choice for you.
Everything on the train is now controlled with a remote control from the direction of the train to the music and sounds that go along with it. And best of all the controls are easy to use that even kids can do it.
The set comes with enough Lionel Fastrack to create an oval that measures 40″ x 50″. There are 8 curved pieces of track and 10″ straight track piece as well as a Fastrack terminal section, which you’ll find is plenty to go around most Christmas trees.
The locomotive engine is a metal diecast that comes with a working headlight, real smoke that puffs out and realistic chuffing sounds.
You also receive 3 coordinating freight cars with Santa and presents and other fun Christmas designs. You’ll even find that the Christmas presents in the gondola are removable and can be placed as you want.
This would be a nice train for under the tree if you have kids in the house or you want something more on the whimsical and fun side for your train.
Lionel Hallmark Toymaker Santa Christmas Train Set
This is probably the ultimate Christmas train for under a Christmas tree, but do realize that it does come with a slightly heftier price tag than the sets above as well.
But with this train you get such a beautiful train that has so much attention to detail that you may just want to have the train out all year long.
In this set you get the 0-8-0 locomotive along with the tender, a boxcar, gondola, and a caboose. All of them are painted red with wonderful images from the Toymaker Santa and some swirling snowflakes.
In the locomotive you will even find a Toymaker Santa engineer that has different sayings when the train is on. Along with Santa you’ll hear the train whistle and bell as well as other fun train sounds.
There are even presents and elves that you can find in the gondola as well as some other neat surprises as well.
Here’s a closer look at the train cars to see the wonderful images and accessories.
The set includes 8 curved pieces of 0-36 Fastrack as well as 3 ten inch sections of straight pieces and the 10 inch section wall-pack terminal section. This is more than enough track to even go around larger Christmas trees.
This collaboration between Hallmark and Lionel trains truly produces one of the best Christmas train sets for both young and old.
Bachmann Industries Jingle Bell Express
If you are looking for a good Christmas train but something that fits your budget a little better than one of the Lionel trains above, check out this super cute Christmas themed train from Bachmann Industries.
This train is carrying all the sweets for last minute Christmas gifts as it chugs along the track. It has a fun Christmas theme from the gingerbread man and girl on the side of the box car to the red and green colored locomotive.
The set comes with a 0-6-0 steam locomotive that features a working headlight.
It also comes with the tender behind the engine as well as a single dome tank car, a box car, a quad hopper car and is finished off with a red caboose.
The train track is slightly smaller than the more expensive trains but still comes in at a reasonable size of 37″ x 48″ when placed into an oval shape.
This would be a top pick for a Christmas train if you are a beginner to trains or you simply just want a Christmas train under your tree that won’t cost you almost $300.
The Best Christmas Train Set for Toddlers and Young Kids
If you are looking to buy a Christmas train set for a toddler or you have any younger kids in your house, you could go with one of the trains above or you could go with one that may appeal more to them. You also won’t have to worry as much about them breaking a $200 train because these trains are cheaper and made for younger kids.
Lionel Disney Mickey Mouse Ready To Play Christmas Train Set
Mickey Mouse is taking over the duties of Santa and driving all these presents to good boys and girls all over.
This train is simply adorable and what little kid doesn’t love Mickey Mouse?
This is a RC remote control train that features an engine being driven by Mickey along with a gift filled tender with Donald Duck checking out all the presents.
The engine is pulling two cars which each have different Christmas scenes featuring Mickey and his friends.
Your child will be delighted with not only the sight of the train going around the Christmas tree but also with the realistic train sounds which also feature a whistle and bell. The engine even has the working headlight to light the path of the train.
This is really a must-see for any parents or grandparents who have younger kids and looking to find a Christmas train that is not only high quality and super great but will stand up to the play of a younger child.
Why Do We Set Up Trains Under the Christmas Tree? – A Look At This Holiday Tradition
You may have always wanted to have your very own train chugging along under your Christmas tree or maybe you have always had a train under your tree since before you can remember, but do you know where this tradition came from?
The tradition dates back over 100 years ago. Although no exact date can be pinpointed it started back in the early 1990’s that people started placing trains under their Christmas trees. This was around the same time that Lionel came out with electric toy trains.
It could of started with the popularity of these new electric toy trains as these were probably the number one gift that a child would want for Christmas. Once they got their train, it would get assembled right under the Christmas tree that morning. Some people simply thought it would go well around the Christmas tree stand.
It could also have to do with the fact that to most people Christmas represents coming home or spending time with your family, which back then would be done on a locomotive.
Just like a lot of other traditions, families soon started placing their trains under or around the Christmas tree every year and it took off as being a normal holiday tradition.
With the recent technology and some people trying to get back to “classic” Christmas traditions, trains under the Christmas tree has once again gained popularity as parents and grandparents share the tradition with their kids.
Whatever the reason you want a train for under your tree this holiday, make sure you buy one of the best Christmas train sets for under the tree so you can enjoy the sights and sounds for years to come.