Salt Lake Temple
The lights are on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Traditionally, the thousands of lights in the trees at Temple Square are turned on the day after Thanksgiving. Walking around in the glow of Christmas lights is one of my favorite things to do at this time of year, and always gets me in the right mood for the Christmas season.
Creche on display
Now the Christmas displays extend east across the Main Street Plaza and between the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Church Office Building. Several creches representing different cultures dot the walkways. Follow the luminaries around the path and pick out your favorites.
From the east, you have a great view of the Salt Lake Temple. Head back toward Temple Square, and take in the beauty of the reflecting pool.
Reflecting Pool on the plaza
At this point, we were getting pretty cold. The Nauvoo Cafe was selling hot chocolate on the south end of the plaza for $1.50 a cup. It was very hot, and quickly warmed cold hands and stomachs. There is also a stand just outside the southwest corner of Temple Square where you can purchase hot chocolate.
The Assembly Hall on Temple Square
Once inside the gates on Temple Square, you can wander the walkways and go inside the Assembly Hall, the historic Tabernacle, and the two visitor's centers. All the buildings give you a respite from the cold. The south visitor's center has a beautiful model of the Salt Lake Temple that shows cut-a-way views of several of the rooms in the temple's interior. There are audio/visual displays and artwork, including the famous Christus statue, in the North visitor's center.
Salt Lake Temple at night
The Salt Lake Temple is beautiful at night with all of the lights. Although it seems like there are not as many lights this year, it is still beautiful. One of the main attractions on Temple Square during Christmas is the nativity scene between the Tabernacle and the North Visitor's Center. A short narration tells the story of the first Christmas, and the figures are lit at appropriate times during the story.
Shepherds in the Temple Square nativity story
Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus
The narration repeats about every 15 minutes, and includes music from the Tabernacle Choir. If you miss part of the story, there isn't a long wait to see it again.
Wise Men from the east
At the end of the nativity story, a beam of light creates a star on the roof of the Tabernacle. The lights will be on every evening at Temple Square through the Christmas holidays. If you are looking for a family friendly Christmas activity, this is a great one. Events at Temple Square are free of charge.
Christmas at Temple Square
If you go: Parking at a meter is free in downtown Salt Lake in December, but there is a two hour limit. Temple Square is open from 9am to 9pm daily. Tours for individuals or small groups need not be scheduled in advance and are free. You may take a tour or explore on your own.