When thinking of Utah and all of its wonderful traditions, the ones that stick out most in our minds are the ones surrounding the Holidays – especially during the winter months! The state comes to life with a wonderful holiday spirit that can be felt as early as November, when the snow begins to fall and the lights begin to glimmer. Here are some of our favorite Unique Utah Holiday Traditions that you shouldn’t miss this season!
Watching the Lights Turn on at Temple Square
This may go without saying, but here in Utah, seeing the Lights turn on at Temple Square is a long standing tradition for families of all walks of life. Temple Square always has something to offer, whether it be enjoying a performance at the Tabernacle or having dinner with a view. But, there’s nothing quite as magical or enchanting as being right on Temple Square as the Holiday season comes to life with thousands of sparkling lights the day after Thanksgiving. The excitement in the air is almost palpable as people from all over the world come to witness this unforgettable night, so be sure to take plenty of pictures! Fortunately, the lights stay on until New Years Day, so even if you can’t make it that night, you have the entire month of December to bask in the twinkling beauty of the lights on Temple Square.
EVE WinterFest is a holiday tradition in Utah that has become a hit over the last eight years. This 5-day holiday festival offers fun and entertainment for all ages with things like live musical performances, bounce houses, and even an “All-Access Pass” to enjoy a variety of happenings in various venue locations throughout downtown Salt Lake City, including events on Temple Square, City Creek, The Gateway and more.
Chillin In The Garden @ The Lion House
Chillin’ in the Garden is a relatively new tradition here on Temple Square. This hidden gem of a tradition began four years ago when the head Chef of the Lion House Pantry decided to put the garden in the back of the Lion House to good use during the winter. After taking in the beauty of the lights on Temple Square, make your way over to this cozy corner in “Brigham Young’s backyard” where you can enjoy your choice of brownies, cookies or cinnamon rolls, served with the Lion House’s very own homemade hot cocoa – arguably the best hot cocoa in Salt Lake City! Furnished with heaters, torches and lights, guests can come and go as they please for the hour your treats are served. However, spots usually fill up quickly, so make sure to reserve yours today!
Seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sing
Every year, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir takes a break from their travels to put on an unforgettable show in the heart of Salt Lake City. Just like the snowflakes twirling around the city this time of year, each year’s show is something completely unique and different from the last. Two years ago they sang along with the adorable muppets, and this year will be just as spectacular with one of the world’s leading tenors, Rolando Villazon, accompanying the Choir. This incredible Christmas performance usually sells out pretty quickly, but if you’re lucky, you can catch rehearsals in the Tabernacle on some nights prior to the concert for free. This year’s concerts will be going on from Dec. 8 – Dec 10., and standby seating is still available, so make sure to get there early if you weren’t able to get tickets!
The Festival of Trees at South Towne Expo Center
This long standing tradition has been a Utah favorite for many years – 46 to be exact! What started as a small fundraiser for the Primary Children’s Hospital turned into a beautiful event that spans over 220,000 square feet of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, donated items to fill the shops, and so much more. All the hours helping to make The Festival of Trees a reality, as well as all the donations, go towards helping the children at Primary Children’s Hospital receive the best medical care possible.It truly is a wonderful way to feel the holiday spirit! Opening night for the Festival is on Tuesday, November 29th 2016 and is open to the general public from Nov. 30 – Dec. 3. Find out more about the festival and how you can participate by visiting their website!
[source: Facebook: Festival of Trees]
Letters to Santa at The Garden Restaurant
This age old tradition, which dates back to the early 1800’s, is one that has become a staple in holiday traditions for families throughout the world. Maybe it’s the act of writing down your hopes, wishes and dreams that makes it so popular, but we can’t help but love this small but heart-warming gesture. If you come to The Garden Restaurant, located on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, from now until Christmas, you’ll have the opportunity to drop your letters off to Santa in their historical golden mailbox that dates back to the Hotel Utah! While you think of all the things you want to ask Santa for this year, make sure to enjoy a delicious item off of their Holiday Winter Beverage menu! And, rest assured, with all the delicious treats that The Garden leaves out next to Santa’s mailbox, Santa will definitely want to stop by to pick them all up!
Seeing the “Candy Windows” at Macy’s
While Macy’s itself may not be native to Utah, the traditions it has created within the community date as far back as the seventies. The tradition apparently fell to the wayside in subsequent years, but was brought back to life when Macy’s reopened its doors in 2012. Since then, the store has been reaching out to local artists and designers to create wonderful displays in their windows to celebrate the holiday season; but, in true Macy’s fashion, they make sure to create a spectacle out of the unveiling every year – and with good reason! Part of what makes this tradition so special is that each year the windows have a different theme and are created with hundreds of pounds of a variety of different types of candy. The night of the unveiling, Macy’s invites the public to enjoy live music, performances, and even a visit from Santa – something the whole family can enjoy! This year, the displays are up from Nov. 17 – Jan 1, so make sure to stop by and enjoy this year’s wonderful creations before (or after!) enjoying the glimmering lights on Temple Square.
[source: The Salt Lake Tribune]
Utah is a state full of traditions, new and old, and the Holiday season brings an air of magic to the beehive state that is unlike any other season of the year. These are just a few traditions we know that are unique to Utah, but we know there are dozens more! What are some of your unique holiday traditions?