Christmas Traditions Unique to the LDS Faith


Like the rest of the Christian world, we members of the LDS faith (some call us the Mormons) believe that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  We love Christmas traditions like Advent calendars and trees all aglow with lights and pretty decorations.

We deck the halls with boughs of holly, pine wreaths and mistletoe and fill our homes with the delicious fragrances of gingerbread and Christmas cookies. We revel in the happy, magical spirit that embodies the month of December and participate in various traditions that lead up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We spend these days in holiday cheer with close and extended family and loved ones, enjoying special meals, Christmas carols, and gifts around the Christmas tree.

But as we enjoy each of these special and symbolic traditions that make Christmas the wonderful period that it is, we try to remember the true reason for the season. Here are two traditions, unique to our faith that help us “look beyond the façade of the season and see the sublime truth and beauty of this time of year” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, 2011) — namely, the Christmas displays and events at Temple Square, and the First Presidency Christmas devotional.

Both of these traditions irrevocably turn our hearts to a humble rejoicing of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. In addition to these two LDS Christmas traditions, I would also like to turn our attention briefly to the way one family in particular, celebrates Christmas within the walls of their own home.

temple-square christmas traditions
Reflection Pond Nativity at Temple Square [ Free to Use or Share]

Christmas at Temple Square

Temple Square is a 10-acre complex owned by the LDS Church in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah. Contained within Temple Square are several adjacent buildings including the Salt Lake Temple, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and two visitors’ centers. And if you’ve ever visited Salt Lake City at Christmas time, you know that there is a spectacular display of the Christmas spirit that covers all of Temple Square.

According to Christmas at Temple Square: “The holiday season is by far the most magical time of the year to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 35 acres completely transform the day after Thanksgiving every year when the Christmas lights are lit, decorations are hung, and several nativities are placed on the grounds.

Free concerts and performances are taken to a whole new level. A variety of local groups—from schools to church choirs to bands—perform daily at six different venues. And of course the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert and the LDS Church First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional attract visitors from all over the world.

Coming to Temple Square during Christmas has become a tradition for locals and visitors alike.”

Below you will find a beautiful and moving excerpt from one of the Christmas concerts on Temple Square. David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir interpret “The Cat and the Mouse Carol.” It is a tender and enchanting piece that will fill  your heart with the Christmas spirit.

Christmas First Presidency Devotional

The First Presidency  is comprised of the president of the LDS Church along with two counselors. We esteem them as the most important spiritual leaders in our church and hold in high regards the inspired counsel they give us. Each December they invite all members of the Church and their friends to join them in a special Christmas devotional where inspirational words are spoken in remembrance of the Savior Jesus Christ.

The Christmas devotional often features the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square. Speakers are chosen from among the leaders of the Church. The event is free, but tickets are required. For those who do not live near Salt Lake City, the devotional is rebroadcast over the Church satellite system in more than 50 languages. Video and audio recordings of the devotional—along with text from the messages in English, Spanish, and Portuguese—are also be provided on

Here is he 2015 Christmas devotional. It is a little over an hour long, but every moment is filled with beautiful messages and inspirational music that evoke feelings of love, warmth, and devotion.

Family Christmas Traditions

Temple Square and the First Presidency Christmas devotionals are two Christmas traditions unique to the LDS faith, but how does Christmas get celebrated in individual homes and families?  Well, it really depends on the individuals and families and what area of the world they live in — just as our Christmas traditions are inspired by our faith, they are also no doubt colored by the cultural traditions that surround us. Below is a video of one multicultural LDS family and the specific things they do at Christmastime.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf is the second counselor in the First Presidency. He was born to ethnic Germans in Moravská Ostrava. (As a side note and if you’re  interested, you can read his fascinating childhood story of political turmoil, escape, and refuge here: Dieter F. Uchtdorf.) But now, without further ado, here is the video of his family’s Christmas story and how it has been shaped by their LDS faith and their German background. I think you’ll really like the down to earth, cozy atmosphere that his family’s traditions radiate.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short summary of Christmas traditions unique to the LDS faith. As a special gift and to help create the Christmas atmosphere in  your home, I’d like to invite you to download a complimentary collection of five Christmas carols. Season’s greetings to each and everyone of you, no matter what traditions you celebrate at this time of the year!

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Bonjour! I'm Maria! I was born in Southern California to a Peruvian father and a Mexican mother. I grew up speaking Spanish and English and fell in love with French when I was just a girl. I studied French and second language acquisition at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where I met my French husband Samuel. I taught French at BYU for a few years before venturing onto our own homemade multilingual experiment... My husband and I now live in Normandy, France with our four gorgeous trilingual children. I'm a substitute secondary school English teacher and am currently preparing my certification to become a tenured teacher in French private schools. I am passionate about second language acquisition and my blog is the story of our multilingual, multicultural life. You'll also find different resources and advice for raising your own multilingual family on Trilingual Mama. Come have a peek, I'd love to have you visit!

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