Temple Square Lights Up for the Holiday Season

  • 28 November 2012

On November 23, 2012, Temple Square’s Christmas lights were turned on for the first time this holiday season. See photos here.

Just minutes shy of 5:30 p.m. on November 23, a crowd of parents with toddlers on their shoulders and children decked out in winter coats bottlenecked at the northwest entrance to Temple Square as people rushed to witness the annual turning on of the Christmas lights.

When the surroundings lit up, so did the faces of those who watched. There was a momentary hush and then a loud cheer, mixed with “Aaahs,” “Ooohs,” and “Wows!”

Scattered applause filled the air as the once-quiet plaza came alive with excited chatter.

In the midst of the crowd, one man paused with his son to admire the statue of Joseph Smith receiving the priesthood. Families paused in walkways to capture memories, reaching their cameras up high or lying on the ground to take in as much of the picturesque scene as possible.

Jennie Allen was at Temple Square with her family. The Allens are from Salt Lake City, so they have been to the square in years past. However, two years ago, on November 26, 2010, they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple as a family. As much as they relish seeing the lights as a family tradition, their favorite aspects are the Salt Lake Temple, the temple doors, and what those mean to their family.

The Schenk family from Seattle gathered for a family photo near Christmas lights cascading down in the shape of a tree. This was their second time to see the lights on Temple Square as a family, although some of their children who attend BYU had visited more frequently. Lisa Schenk, the mother, said she was most looking forward to the nativity scene.

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building provided a welcome respite from the cold and people enjoyed listening to Christmas melodies played by a pianist in the main lobby. The line inside the Nauvoo Café wound out the café’s doors, and families huddled around green and red circular tables in the Empire Room sipping their hot chocolate.

Sister Linda Horsley, who looked on to this scene, has been a service missionary with her husband for 12 years. A hosting missionary, she said she most enjoys the amount of people the lights attract.

Although the lights are an appealing feature, Eldon Cannon, group manager of grounds services on Temple Square, said he hopes those who come get something more out of their experience.

“Our message, basically, is please come down to enjoy the season and the holiday and remember the whole purpose of it all is to celebrate the birth of our Savior,” Brother Cannon said.

The lights will run through the end of the year.

Temple Square also hosts a variety of performances during this time of year to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. See the calendar or visit Temple Square Performances on lds.org/events for more details.