SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Christmas has many different types traditions, and we’ve explained some of them, but what about Utah-specific Christmas traditions?

Stroll through a Christmas tree forest

Since 1970, the Festival of Trees has stolen the hearts of many Utah citizen, with its adorned trees, decorated wreaths, gingerbread houses, and homemade candies and crafts. This year it goes from Wednesday Nov. 30 to Saturday Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Plus, every penny raised goes to support children at the Primary Children’s Hospital.

Ice skate at Gallivan Center (or another ice rink!)

Every year, East Gallivan Plaza becomes a winter wonderland with its public ice skating rink, starting mid-November through February. All the ice time is public and first-come-first-serve, with an option for hockey and figure skates for rent with your admission fee.

If you get cold, make sure to try a hot cocoa or other sweet/savory treat from their concessions booth.

But if Gallivan Center is too far or you simply want to try something new, check out Millcreek Common Skate Loop, which has now opened for the winter season as Utah’s biggest outdoor ice skating rink.

Stroll through the streets of London (in St. George and Salt Lake)

Take yourself back to 1800s London during the Charles Dickens festival that runs from the end of November through early December at the Dixie Convention Center, then typically for two days at the Sandy Expo Center.


  • 1835 S Convention Center Dr, St. George, UT 84790, USA
  • 9575 S State St, Sandy, UT 84070, USA

Be amazed for the lights at Temple Square

Every year, Temple Square offers a vast assortment of lights and Christmastime goodies across their 35 acres surrounding Salt Lake Temple. The lights on Temple Square turn on the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and remain on until Jan. 1. The lights are on from 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (MST).

Despite restorations on the temple, the lights are still shining, but with a slightly altered light path.

Wander the Christmas Village in Ogden

Started in 1962, Ogden’s Christmas Village offers a peek inside a Christmas life with Santa Claus visiting from Monday to Friday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting Nov. 26 to Dec. 23, and Mrs. Claus giving guided tours to preschool age children during the day 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The town becomes aglow with lights daily from 5 p.m. until midnight. Best part? Christmas Village is free for all visitors.

Lions, tigers, ZooLights!

Every year from Dec. 2 to Dec. 31, Hogle Zoo switches on over 200 lighted displays from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. ZooLights features new light displays with animals, around the world-themed scavenger hunt, Santa visits, and more!

Also, on Dec. 27, the zoo will offer a “Silent Night” when flashing lights and sound will be turned off for guests with neurodiversity needs.

See a real-life Christmas town

If you’re up for a road trip, head over to Helper, a city in Carbon County, Utah, seven miles northwest of the city of Price. The town decorates every year for Christmas with lights and Christmastime activities. Watch the Helper Electric Light Parade held on Dec. 2nd and 3rd at 7:00 p.m. The town even hosts a fireworks display after the parade!

Utah has many different cherished traditions, and now’s your time to enjoy them!