Bay Area seniors who want to thrill their grandkids with something more joyous than visiting a mall Santa might want to consider reserving seats on the Train of Lights which glitters its way through Niles Canyon. Every year the historic trains (part of the first Transcontinental Railway built in the 1860’s) are festooned with hundreds of colored lights – it’s more magical than anything concocted by Pixar and it’s real. The trains run for hour-long trips Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays through the holidays. Tickets are $25 for everyone over 3. The enclosed (and warmer) parlor car is $40. Through Dec.27

The Napa Valley Wine Train offers its own holiday excursion. The Santa Express travels for 1.5 hours from Napa to Yountville and back. Santa is on board, of course, plus carolers and snacks. $20.


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