Christmas Countdown

Merry Christmas!!!

The Best Christmas Tree Train Set For Under Your Tree

Christmas Tree Train Set - Christmas Train Sets Under The Tree

10 Best Festive Tree Train Sets To Put Under Your Christmas Tree

Here at Open For Christmas, we are all about making Christmas as magical as possible. What better way to do it than with the best Christmas Tree Train Set weaving through the present pile underneath a twinkling tree.

It can be hard to know where to find the best around the tree train sets and to know what different types are out there. 

To help make your festive dreams come true a little easier, we compiled a list of the best Christmas tree train sets to place under your tree as well as our top contenders in a range of categories. 

This article will explain a little bit about what Christmas train sets are, where they’ve come from, and how to use them. 

We’ll then go into our favourite models, based on our research and customer reviews. 

If you’re looking for a gift for a model railway fanatic but not sure what to buy, check out our post 13 Cool Gifts For Train Lovers In The UK to get some inspiration.

What is a Christmas Tree Train Set?

A Christmas Tree Train Set is a moving train that goes under a tree on a train track in a circle, oval or creative shape. 

The train track connects together in a continuous loop around the bottom of a Christmas tree.

Christmas tree train sets might be electric trains, plugged in at the wall, or powered by batteries. 

You could even get manual old-school wooden train sets, or kids toy that they move themselves. 

The purpose of an under tree train set is purely decorative, to add an extra special touch to an already magical Christmas tree decor.

Christmas Tree Train Set Carriage with Fairy Lights Behind- Christmas Train Sets Under The Tree

Each model differs, but most sets will usually come with:

  • Track pieces to be assembled at home in the desired shape
  • Train carriages 
  • Batteries or wires
  • Extra decor items like trees buildings
  • Premium models may include smoke, lights or sound effects 

The great thing about Christmas tree train sets is they can be as classic or extravagant as you wish!

Some families with a long-honoured under tree train set tradition will build up their collection each year, with new carriages, track pieces and decorative objects. 

We were in awe at this family’s Christmas tree model railway that actually goes UP the tree!

History of the Christmas Tree Train Set 

It’s no secret that many families around the world have the same festive traditions they re-live each year during the lead-up to Christmas. 

One lesser-known tradition is setting up a train track to weave in and out of the pile of gifts.

Historians aren’t completely sure when the first Christmas tree train sets were used, but it was likely around the same time Lionel‘s electric toy trains were first produced in the early 1900s. 

If you love reading about the history of Christmas traditions, check out our post History Of Christmas Trees: The Ultimate Guide.

Why Do People Put Trains Under Christmas Trees?

Toy train sets quickly gained popularity and rose to the top of children’s Christmas wishlists. After eagerly tearing open their new train sets they would rush to assemble them, with the Christmas tree being the natural choice for setting up the tracks. 

Lionel’s electric toy trains eventually led to the hobby of model trains booming in popularity.

Increases in modern gadgets and toy cars caused a downward turn in demand for toy train sets, which then increased the price. 

Luckily, recent trends of Thomas the Tank Engine, Polar Express and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express re-lit the spark once held for Christmas Tree Train Sets. 

So whether you’re a Christmas Tree Train Set enthusiast or looking to buy your very first model, the deep-rooted history of model trains is a fabulous addition to any home this Christmas. 

Plus, it’s always nice to know that your Christmas decor is honouring a historical tradition and supporting a much-loved industry. 

Top 10 Christmas Tree Train Sets for Under the Tree

Our Open For Christmas Top Choices for a Festive Train Set

It’s no surprise that our top 3 choices for under tree railways are all from Lionel. Their decades of expertise make them the perfect choice for quality, detail and functionality. 

Lionel The Polar Express Train Set With Lights & Sound

Showcase the magic of Christmas with The Polar Express train set. Witness the children’s shadows as they sit in the passenger cars drinking steaming mugs of hot chocolate and chattering excitedly about Santa. This train is sure to make your home glow with Christmas spirit this season.

You’ll need 6 size C batteries and 3 size AAA.

Lionel North Pole Central Battery-powered Model Train Set

Celebrate the wonder of the season with this North Pole Central Freight Set and bring the goods from Santa’s top-secret location to your home!

We love the red and green colour scheme of this North Pole Model Train Set. The kid’s imaginations are sure to run wild with stories of Santa and his elves delivering presents on this railway. 

Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Battery-powered Model Train Set

One of the most famous names in railroading is featured in this realistic freight train set. 

Load and unload the box load from the silver gondola and wave goodbye to the dashing red caboose. 

With this Ready-to-Play set comes an exclusive track system which allows you to create; a circle, a rectangle or an oval layout.

This train set is great if you’re looking for a model railway you can use all year instead of packing it away after the tree goes down. 

Best Large Christmas Train Set

Bachmann Trains Night Before Christmas 

Night Before Christmas Ready To Run Electric Train Set. 

A pricier model but large enough to create interesting routes for your Christmas train – 5’4″ x 4’3″ Oval of Steel Alloy Track

Perhaps there is no other gift more fun to find under the Christmas tree than a brand new train. Delivering its promise of magic and delight is the Night Before Christmas train set. 

Includes; Holiday Decorated Gondola Car, Merry Christmas Bobber Caboose, and Santa Figure.

Best Under Tree Train Set for Kids

Viga Wooden Train Set 49 Piece

Not the most festive set, but since kids grow up so quickly they’ll probably only use this for a couple of years if it’s only out at Christmas time. 

Buying this set as a year-round toy, and moving it to the bottom of the tree during the holidays will maximise the amount it gets used before the kids grow too old for it. 

As a fun holiday craft for the kids, you could add homemade touches like sparkly pipe cleaner tinsel for the wooden trees. Or, try glueing glitter to the train sets or painting the tracks a Christmassy colour.  

Prextex Kids Christmas Train Around The Tree Musical Christmas Train Set

Kids Musical Train Set

Perfect well-priced Christmas gift for your little ones or to decorate your kids smaller Christmas tree.

To fit this track around a normal sized Christmas tree we recommend buying two and fixing the tracks together to make a larger loop.

This musical model train set sings the popular we wish you a merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho, and jingle bells while blowing its horns. 

Best Novelty Christmas Train Set

The Coca Cola Christmas Train Set

Coca Cola Christmas Train Sets for Under the Tree

Perfect for Christmas, the Hornby Coca-Cola Christmas train set offers the model railway enthusiast a brilliant and unique train set with an engine & wagons featuring the distinctive Coca-Cola design.

Not only does the Coca-Cola Christmas train feature the iconic branding, but also an image of the big man himself, a very Jolly looking Santa Claus with rosy Red cheeks, a smile and of course, a refreshing bottle of Cola.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year and it always brings back those childhood memories and what better way to wake up on Christmas morning than seeing a bright red Christmas train driving around the Christmas tree. 

Best Hogwarts Express Christmas Train Set 

Lionel Hogwarts Express

Lionel Hogwarts Express Christmas Train Set

Step through platform 9 ¾ and take a ride on the Hogwarts Express! Witches, wizards, and Muggles can easily control this battery-powered, remote-controlled train set. 

Featuring authentic sound clips of the beloved Harry Potter characters, this 37 piece train set is sure to delight boys and girls of all ages! (and adults, too.)

Imagine snuggling up under a blanket with Harry Potter on the TV, with your very own Hogwarts Express travelling through the living room! 

If you’re trying to get younger generations to fall in love with model trains, this is a great way to do it. 

Best Christmas Tree Train Sets for the Whole Family

LEGO Creator Expert Winter Holiday Train 

LEGO Winter Train Set

All aboard the LEGO Christmas train! 

Gather the family for some festive LEGO building fun with this charming train toy construction set featuring a full circle of train track, boarding platform with bench and lamppost, a power functions upgradable train engine with brick-built smoke billowing from its stack, coal tender, flatbed wagon with a rotating holiday tree, toys and gifts, and a red caboose with a detailed interior and table.

The train engine also features large and small red-coloured locomotive wheels and the train is decorated with green wreaths, string lights and white tree elements. This LEGO Creator Expert building kit includes 5 mini-figures

Note from manufacturer: This particular LEGO® train set does not include the Power Functions components necessary to motorize it. Power Functions items 8879, 8884, 88000, and 88002 can be purchased separately though. These along with the included instructions (at the end of the last building instruction book) will go together to get your train powered down the tracks!

Lionel Disney Mickey Mouse Express

All aboard the Mickey Mouse Express! 

Help with Mickey’s special delivery and join Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy spread the Christmas spirit in this present filled Disney set! 

Bring a dose of holiday cheer to your track layout with these iconic characters dressed in their Christmas best! 

With this Ready-to-Play set comes an exclusive track system which allows you to create; a circle, a rectangle or an oval layout.

Train Related Christmas Decorations 

To add a nod to the railroad industry without going all the way with a full model railway set, how about adding some small train themed Christmas decor items to your collection.

Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Year-Dated Thomas The Tank Engine A Tree Train Ornament – Set of 2

Hallmark Christmas tree train ornament

Thomas the Tank Engine is click-clacking into the holiday season with a festive load of cargo! 

Your little engineer will love to hang this Christmas tree ornament featuring their favorite train character. 

The two-piece set includes the iconic bright-blue engine decorated with Christmas stockings and a flatbed train car hauling a decorated tree and presents.

Kurt Adler Train Delft Blue and White 3 inch Porcelain Ceramic Christmas Ornaments Set of 2

Christmas porcelain tree train ornament

Train Ornaments come as a set of 2 wonderfully crafted trains with a classic design. A wonderfully festive addition to your home or holiday décor. 

Ornaments are made of porcelain ceramic with delft blue and white finish. Each decorative hanging figurine ornament measures approximately 2.5 inches tall and hangs from blue ribbon. 

Perfect for hanging displays on a Christmas tree or ornament stand for the holidays.  

Locomotive Train Resin Hanging Ornament

Christmas tree resin train ornament

Resin ornament, that is able to stand alone or hang from the attached hanger from a hook or a tree branch. 

The perfect gift for the train lover in your life, whether they are 6 or 60 years old! 

Kurt Adler Coca-Cola Santa Train Ornament

Christmas coca-cola tree train ornament

The holidays just aren’t quite complete with a little touch of Coca-Cola! 

This Coca-Cola Santa Train resin ornament features Santa riding in a red and silver train, decorated with the Coke logo and bottle cap wheels. (2 ½ inches tall.)

Clay Dough Gingerbread Flat Train Ornaments (Set of 3 Assorted)

Christmas tree train ornament

These adorable clay gingerbread ornaments are so sweet and would make the perfect addition to any tree. 

We love how realistic they look! 

Fun idea: If you’re feeling confident with your decorating skills you could try making these yourself by decorating real gingerbread!
Here are some perfect Train Cookie Cutters if you want to give it a go. 

The Best Christmas Tree Train Set This Year – Our Final Thoughts

WOW! After all that Christmas train set research we are feeling super festive and can not wait for the holidays. 

We hope this article has been useful in helping you find your perfect under tree train set. It seems like they’re priced for all different budgets and can be easily added to each year to build your collection to pass down over generations. 

Hopefully, model railways will continue to gain popularity and become a tradition in many more people’s homes. 

As always, happy holidays and a very merry Christmas from all of us at Open For Christmas, whatever time of year it is for you! 

Related Christmas Tree Decoration Articles:

The Best Christmas Tree Train Set For Under Your Tree

7 thoughts on “The Best Christmas Tree Train Set For Under Your Tree”

  1. Is there any way anyone can show us how to make the train go up the tree? I’m willing to buy all needed items from you guys! With covid and the kids being depressed because they lost school n their social life, this will bring joy to my children!!

    1. Hello, thank you for your comment – a train going up a tree would look amazing! We’ve found this YouTube video of a train going up a Christmas tree which looks incredible:

      The train set they’re using is the Lionel The Polar Express (LINK HERE: and you can buy additional train tracks to make the set longer (LINK HERE: however we are just not sure how to fix it to a Christmas tree/ make it go around.

      I hope this helps a little anyway. If we find out any more details we’ll be sure to write an article/update this post.

      Best wishes, Open for Christmas

  2. All the trains on the market are usually very fast … In your video, the first train at the tip that turns in circles without getting off has the perfect speed.
    What is the model of that train? Where can you buy it?

  3. My son loves Lionel disney mickey mouse express. I love it. We also have the Lionel Coca Cola one that we bought in 2015. Between the two I prefer this one. It’s cheaper and faster. The sounds are clearer and the additional tracks are much cheaper too. These tracks are also easier to install.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.