Toy trains bring smiles for the holidays
If you grew up in the fifties or sixties, you may have fond Christmas memories of toy trains circling the base of your tree. And somehow – even with Internet-based games, moves, music and even books - the nostalgia of model trains lives on.
A close up of one small piece of the Snow’s holiday train display
At Snow’s, the holiday train display goes up each year around Columbus Day and attracts people of all ages throughout the season. It’s hard to miss: the layout measures about 20 feet around and is located in the middle of the decorated trees and ornament displays, right as you enter the holiday shop.
Other than it’s size, though, there are several reasons why the holiday train display is something people look forward to when coming to Snow’s this time of year.
Nostalgia and Tradition
A 1951 Lionel train ad for Christmas
The railroads have a great history, especially around Christmastime. Even way back in the early 1900s, trains were a symbol of American progress, and to many, traveling by train meant coming home for the holidays.
Toy and model trains have been around almost as long as the real ones. The first toy trains and train sets were developed by Lionel at the turn of the last century – and ever since then there has been a certain “romance of the rails.” Dads were encouraged to join their youngsters in model train enthusiasm, and layouts cropped up in more and more living rooms, especially at Christmas.
At the heart of it, trains around Christmas trees evoke memories of simpler times. The set up at Snow’s includes not only trains running around the tracks, but quaint little villages such as the lighted Starburst Ferris Wheel, Santa’s “Yule Steiner” Brewery, Wyatt’s Wooden Toy Shop and Two Sister’s Bakery.
For some, seeing the trains at Snow’s is a yearly holiday tradition. Longtime Snow’s customer Lee Sullivan says: “I have 5 grandsons…4 of which are “train age.” So we come in at Christmastime – it’s a tradition, and it’s all part of the family.”
If you’re considering building a train layout around your Christmas tree, the smallest circular track configuration would be about 4’ x 50’.
The train layouts at Snow’s also provide some inspiration for creating a set up at home. There’s little better than seeing your child or grandchild’s eyes light up as they watch the trains go by.
If you’re starting from scratch, Snow’s has several starter sets. The sets give you everything you need for a complete layout in one box, and they are more cost efficient than buying each piece separately. Some of the available sets include a Boy Scouts of America Freight Set (now on sale for $299.99, a $90 savings), and a Grand Central Express O-Gauge set for $439.99.
A Break from the Bustle
This year, a late Thanksgiving has added a bit of pressure to get everything squared away in time for Christmas.
So even if you don’t plan to erect a train layout in your home, one great reason to come see the trains at Snow’s is simply to take a breather from the hectic pace of the holidays. It’s great to see entire families come and visit Snow’s…not just to shop, but to gather around the train display and simply regroup.
p.s. While the holiday trains are seasonal, kids always love coming to see our large interactive train display that stays up all year long!