As eternal as they seem, our Christmas traditions do change over time; after all, how much figgy pudding did you eat last year, and when was the last time you used real candles on your Christmas tree? Well, most of those familiar trappings change — the Christmas train setup seems to survive year after year. One of the more elaborate train sets in town is the Missouri Botanical Garden's (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-5100 or www.mobot.org
) Gardenland Express
. The holiday display always mixes real plants and landscaping to create a dazzling backdrop through which the train will wend its way. This year's setting is the Appalachian Mountains, complete with steep-sided valleys, mountaineers' cabins, lots of miniature trees, oversize snowflakes and working lights. Gardenland Express is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sunday, January 2, although it is closed on Christmas Day — they little engineer wants to see his weensy family, too, you know. Admission is $5 to $13, and that includes the regular garden admission of $4 to $8.
Nov. 24-Dec. 24; Dec. 26-Jan. 2, 2010