We thought we'd beat the Christmas rush—or, rather, out-wait the Christmas rush—by heading to Temple Square on Boxing Day. Alas, we seemed to hit Temple Square with all the other procrastinators because Temple Square was packed.
It took us about ten minutes just to use the elevator at the parking garage, which should have been a sign, and we were shuffling through crowds the whole night!
When we finally made it off the elevator, which spat us off in the middle of the mall, we ran into our friends—the Enslows—from our Durham days! That was fun! They live in Idaho now but were down for Christmas (obviously). How funny to bump into them at Temple Square (I realize the world is small and the world within the church especially so, but still).
Although our Christmas was dry as a bone—with not a flake of snow in sight (Zoë declared her Christmas "ruined" at dinner because it wasn't a white Christmas—we woke up to a winter wonderland this morning, so the trees at Temple Square were covered in both lights and snow and it was dazzling.
I didn't take many pictures because we were thronging around the sights with billions of people and it was all I could do to keep tabs on my children. It's much more fun to visit the temple grounds on less busy days—days when you're less worried about having your children ripped away from you in a tide of people and carried off who knows where (I'm not talking about kidnapping here, but more about accidental separation). We made a buddy system (Andrew with Alexander and sometimes Benjamin; me with Zoë and sometimes Benjamin; Rachel and Miriam together always) and had the children recite our phone numbers and reviewed our safety plan (find a missionary (or a mother) and ask to use their phone to call mom or dad) just in case we got separated, which we didn't.
Benjamin was very impressed with the lights. He said it would be neat if they put lights all around the temple so that people could come and look at them. What an...original...idea.
Zoë was completely enchanted and kept skipping around from this snow pile here to that wall over there to the pink tree across the way. She loved every minute of it.
I can't speak for the others. They weren't my walking buddies.
The nativity display on the east side of the the temple is usually a little less crowded than the lights themselves and this year was no different (though it was still much more crowded than past years). We missed the luminaria display (they didn't put it up this year), but we did enjoy the nativities.
The first one we passed was from the Pacific Northwest, inspired by native art. My explanation had Benjamin very confused because each nativity had a sign saying, "Please enjoy the nativity from the path," hoping that visitors will stay off the lawn and away from the displays. At each one he said, "This is another native one!" It took us a while to realize he was confusing the words native and nativity, which are closely related in root but not so much in meaning.
Here's our little group (minus me (I'm behind the camera)):
We stopped by Wendy's on the way home, which is tradition (now, since we did it last year). We were happy we got to visit the lights again, especially on such a beautiful winter day—with softly falling snow and not-too-chilly temperatures!