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The light display on Temple Square is the centerpiece of the Christmas holiday in Salt Lake City. But there’s more to it than just the “ooh’s and ah’s”. Here are a few facts about the Lights at Temple Square.
01) Some Trees Are “Just Visiting”
The population of trees at Temple Square actually increases during Christmas. Gardeners bring in special young trees wrapped in lights. This gives them flexibility in their displays and also protects some of the legacy trees that can be damaged during the decorating process.
02) The Temple Square Lights Date To 1965
A lot of hard work and vision was required to make all of this possible. The Temple Square lights were originally proposed in 1965 by Church President David O. Mckay.
It was a big job. The small staff knew they not only had to put together a display worthy of the location but also ensure the lights didn’t harm the trees.
The hard work paid off. Fifteen thousand people showed up to see the forty thousand lights hung that first year. Today, sixty years later, you’ll see more lights than that on a few of the larger single trees. But it was the work of those original gardeners that launched this beloved Christmas tradition.
03) Protecting The Trees Is A Priority
Keeping this tradition alive is a huge amount of work. The lights switch on the day after Thanksgiving and say on through New Years Day. To meet that schedule, Temple Square staff and volunteers begin stringing lights in August and September! It takes months to take them down again
This is a lot of work but it’s really necessary. The trees grow during the warmer months so you can’t leave the lights on the branches. Protecting the Temple Square trees is a high priority.
04) Remember The Main Reason For The Lights
Over the years, the lights and displays expanded to include much of the thirty-five acre Temple Square complex. One of the most popular displays is the glimmering white nativity scene that seems to float at the center of the reflecting pool. The beautiful lights and reflection of the temple make it a unique place to pause with your family and think about the true meaning of Christmas.
Temple Square Lights: History & Purpose
As you and your family enjoy the Temple Square Lights this year, remember the history, vision, and thousands of work hours that keep this Christmas tradition shining brightly for every generation.