By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 21, 2015
Kristin van Ogtrop

There is a museum fairly close to my house—the Bartow-Pell Museum—that always does fun kid stuff for Christmas. Last year our youngest and I went to see a puppet show; this year there was a storyteller dressed in period costume and (even better because there were gumdrops involved) make-your-own gingerbread men. But I had another reason to visit: Real Simple sponsored the tree in the front hall of the museum. You see, there were trees sprinkled throughout the mansion, each decorated in a way that was inspired by a holiday children’s book. When Real Simple was offered the opportunity to decorate the biggest tree in the entry hall, of course we leapt at the chance, being the competitive types that we are.

We worked with cookie genius Sweet Dani B. and stylist Jeffrey Miller to bring the pages of The Polar Express to life. I think the results are amazing, if I do say so myself. Check it out:

Of course, my youngest was not that into the tree, even though it had cookies on it. He was much more interested in sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what he wanted for Christmas (“I forget,” he said) and then peppering Santa with questions (“Why do you wear that black belt?” “Where are your reindeer?” etc., etc., etc.). I wanted to stick around and take more pictures of the tree, but I think Santa was happy to see us go.