Boarding the train, we were welcomed with the warm scent of hot chocolate and cookies. Tables were arranged with baskets of goodies and glowing candles. Taking their seats, the whistle blew again and we were off.
The Conductor appeared asking for tickets. Little eyes watched in awe as he punched away with his clicker. Music was playing as the rhythm of the smooth glide of the train started to become more familiar. It soothingly rocked back and forth as we passed trees and rivers under the moon lit night.
Waiters arrived and began to dance down the aisle with cups of hot chocolate. The cream was so thick on top - you could eat it with a spoon.
As little bellies began to fill with goodies and drink, it was time to read "The Polar Express". The train became quiet as the children followed with their books and the magical story came to life.
When the reading was over, the train slowed. A glow of lights appeared outside as everyone shuffled to the windows to see. Santa himself stood waving as little mouths dropped in amazement. He walked toward the train making everyone wonder if he would come on board.
Hearing the sound of the whistle, the train shifted directions and slowly started to push back the way we came. "Did we miss him? Will he know we're here?" Our five year old questioned. All eyes were to the front of the train car as suddenly, he appeared.
Santa greeted each child and took time to give them the first gift of Christmas - a shiny bell tied with a red ribbon. The train car filled with the song of bells ringing as the smiles and wonder filled the air.
All of the children sang Christmas Carols on the journey back as they each held their bells tightly.
Waking up this morning, it seemed like a dream. The kids held their bells making us wonder if they would ever let them go.
No matter when that might be, I hope they will always hear the sound that rings from within...and Believe in the magic of Christmas.