Temple Square Brightens the Christmas Season

  By Michael Ann McKinlay, Church News staff writer

  • 11 December 2013

Nelson Teiler takes a photograph of the lights on Temple Square.  Photo by Matt Gade, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Each Christmas the temple grounds attract many families who come to view the lights and spend time together.
  • In addition to lights, various nativities adorn the temple grounds, including a white nativity atop the reflecting pool.
  • Lights, displays, and musical performances on Temple Square will run from November 29 to December 31.

“Going to see the lights created an atmosphere to be together as a family when I was growing up.” —Eldon Cannon, group manager for Temple Square ground services

Christmastime in Salt Lake City can be described in one word: lights. Since November 29, the bright lights and nativities have been on display at Temple Square and will continue to shine throughout all of December.

Many come bundled up to see the lights as part of their Christmas traditions. For Eldon Cannon, the group manager for ground services on Temple Square, the tradition of seeing the lights started at a young age.

“Going to see the lights created an atmosphere to be together as a family when I was growing up,” said Brother Cannon. “The Temple Square lights show what we as Latter-day Saints believe.”

For Betty Simpson of Blackfoot, Idaho, the lights remained bright and magnificent since the last time she visited.

“It’s nice to come back,” she said. “It’s always a treat to see the lights.”

Among the lights are various nativities, including the white nativity, which has been refurbished and relocated over the past years. It’s currently on display on top of the reflecting pool.

“In my mind, this gospel is the truth and we have an obligation to share it with the world, and the lights and nativity allow that,” Brother Cannon said.

Also during this holiday season, the cedar of Lebanon is illuminated in red LED lights, one of the first trees to use the low-energy lights. The tree alternates being lit every other year to keep it healthy.

Brother Cannon also explained that the transition from hot, incandescent bulbs to LED lights should be completed by next year. Most lights currently on display are LED.

Although the lights themselves have changed, the effect has stayed the same.

“The lights just make it so serene,” said Jan Morris of Shelley, Idaho, who was one of the many visitors to experience the lights during the first week of display.

Chad and Jacki Neibaur of Idaho, along with Cole Johnson, were among hundreds of people who visited Temple Square November 29 as Christmas lights were turned on for the first time this season. Photo by Matt Gade, Deseret News.

Throughout the holiday season, Brother Cannon enjoys seeing people from all over marveling and enjoying his and his crew’s hard work.

“The Temple Square lights carry on that legacy of my parents and bring families together to spend time with each other,” he said.

The lights, displays, and musical performances on Temple Square will run from November 29 to December 31 and are free to the public.

Thousands of lights adorn trees on Temple Square. Photo by Matt Gade, Deseret News.