I have been a passenger many times on the Coast Starlight during the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods over the years, but never on the actual holidays. As many have mentioned, the dining car used to offer a special holiday turkey meal which I always ordered. That went away a couple of years ago. The crews decorated the diner and Pacific Parlor (late lamented) cars in holiday decorations, which I always thought was classy. With all the cutbacks taking place, it has to have depressed employee morale, so I dread what is coming later this year.
My Amtrak travel on holidays began in the 1980s when my wife and I rode the "Spirit of California" (remember that short-lived train?) between San Jose and Los Angeles on New Years Eve. My wife expected partying and joyful hub-bub in the Amdinette, but there was absolutely nothing. It was open but quiet.
A few years ago we took an airline flight on Christmas day and were surprised that things were pretty much the same as the rest of the year. There was a "a Merry Christmas" announcement on the intercom, but that was it. My brother once took a cruise over Christmas and there were holiday decorations aboard, but nothing big. He said Santa Claus visited the restaurants Christmas Eve -- the ship photographer took photos and charged passengers through the nose for prints.
It's fun to ride a train in the late evening during the Christmas season to see all the holiday decorations that abound on houses throughout America. I think it's a time that binds us together ...