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Historic Temple Square in Salt Lake City glows brightly with thousands of Christmas lights ushering in the season of Christ’s birth.

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View this time-lapse of the Temple Square Christmas lights coming on

CTS pondThe lights are on at Temple Square, and people from many parts of the world gather to share in the Christmas spirit as the lights illuminate trees, bushes, flower beds and lawn around the Salt Lake Temple, Tabernacle and much of the Church campus.

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The decorating and stringing of lights begins each August in the heat of the summer and concludes just days before they’re turned on the day after Thanksgiving.

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Every other year the magnificent cedar of Lebanon tree is lit with red LED (light emitting diode) lights. Brought to Temple Square as a seedling by a woman who had come back from a trip to Lebanon, the tree was given to the head gardener and planted near the east gate. Nearly 80 years later it stands at more than 70 feet tall, making it one of the largest trees on Temple Square.

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A highlight each year is hearing a recording of the Christmas story as told by Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the lifelike nativity scene located between the Tabernacle and the North Visitors’ Center in the northwest corner of Temple Square. Elsewhere on the Church campus are luminaries and nativities representing several cultures.

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The lights on Temple Square are turned on daily at sunset and go off at 10:00 p.m. The light display ends New Year’s Eve.

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