Along with snow, nutcrackers, and the evergreen tree, for many people, toy trains have been a requirement for the Christmas holiday.
Trains and Christmas have gone together almost as long as there have been trains. After steam locomotives became a standard method of transportation, people were able to much more easily travel home for the holidays. It also became the primary way to send and receive gifts, making the train an important part of Christmas.
Toy trains have also been around almost as long as trains, the first being push-toys, and in 1901, inventor Joshua Lionel Cowen sold an electric toy train to a toy store for a window display. Soon after, they asked him for six more, as several customers had wanted to buy the train in the window.
Perhaps Christmas Trains started here, when the toy electric train industry began to blossom and they were bought as Christmas gifts. It would be natural for children on Christmas morning, after opening their brand new train set, to set it up around the Christmas tree.
After years of people traveling by train and getting them as gifts, the Christmas Train has a nostalgic feel to it. It makes people think of simpler times and visiting family, and is a great addition to any Christmas decoration.