One of the best attractions during Christmas time is visiting Temple Square to see the Christmas lights! This activity is perfect for families, date nights, groups of friends, all ages, and not just for Mormons. People travel from all over to come see a favorite Holiday tradition.
Making this picture-perfect display isn't easy. Here are a few of our favorites from the list of 20 unexpected things about Temple Square at Christmastime.
- The lights on Temple Square almost didn't happen. In the fall of 1965, when Deseret News publisher E. Earl Hawkes proposed the idea to President David O. McKay, the head gardener at Temple Square was worried that heat from the lights would harm the trees. After much debate, President McKay decided to go ahead with the project (some say at the urging of his wife, who thought the Church should do more to share their beliefs at Christmas.)
- At least six world nativities decorate the grounds. These beautiful displays pay homage to the worldwide nature of the Church. Some of the ethnic nativities include features from New Zealand, Native American culture, Oriental culture, and South America.
- The Church purchases "stand-in trees" that are planted only during the Christmas season. These young trees are purchased from the State Educational Trust Fund Lands, and the proceeds are donated tot he state educational system. Then, the trees are wrapped in lights and temporarily planted on Temple Square for the Christmas season. This is done to add a touch of light where groundskeepers want it, and to protect the permanent trees on Temple Square from damage causing by wrapping and lighting.
- Tiny electric candles float on several ponds throughout the Church campus, including in front of the Salt Lake Temple and at the Church Office Building. Every light on the square invites visitors to remember the Light of the World.