SALT LAKE CITY– Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Christmas festivities on Temple Square will still be happening — just a little differently than one might be used to. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday all musical performances and Christmas celebrations around the square will take place virtually this year.
Temple Square will still be covered in Christmas lights starting the day after Thanksgiving. However, visitors will only be able to view the lights from surrounding roads and exterior city sidewalks. There will be no public access to Temple Square during the holiday season, the Church said. Temple Square has had limited public access since last spring due to Temple renovations and the pandemic.
The Church also encouraged Temple light spectators in Salt Lake City to practice physical distancing and wear a mask while visiting the area.
Additionally, no public parking will be available in the Conference Center or Joseph Smith Memorial Building parking lots.
However, the seasonal lights at the temples in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles will only be viewable by car this year.
Celebrating the light of the world
Tradition still stands. When the Temple lights flip is switched, a kickoff performance in the Tabernacle will still happen. The only difference is people from all over the world have the opportunity to join in from their homes.
Sister missionaries serving on Temple Square will host a virtual event and give a virtual tour of the Square, along with the Christmas lights.
The virtual event will broadcast live on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST) on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on the Temple Square Facebook page. The event will be available in 11 different languages and available after the live broadcast.
The concert series
The Christmas concerts entries from around the world will still happen nearly every night on the Temple grounds. Concerts will be broadcast in English but will include songs in other languages. Concerts will run from Dec. 2–23 at 6 p.m. MST on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Similar to General Conference, the Frist Presidency Christmas Devotional will be held online and broadcast from Temple Square on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. MST. The program will include Christmas messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.
Watch the live stream here: ChurchofJesusChrist.org