Christmas lights displays warm residents up for the holidays

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Christmas lights displays, matching music and winter-themed activities bring the Christmas spirit to Utah residents at local businesses starting as early as a week before Thanksgiving.

Visitors at the shops at the Riverwoods stay warm by the fire in the line to see Santa in his house during the lighting of Riverwoods. This year's lighting will start at 6 p.m. (Matt Morrell)
Visitors at the Shops at Riverwoods stay warm by the fire in the line to see Santa in his house during the lighting of Riverwoods. This year’s lighting will start at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21. (Matt Morrell)

Christmas lights displays

1. Every year 10,000–15,000 visitors watch Riverwoods’ lights go on and participate in holiday activities in the Lighting of Riverwoods on Friday, Nov. 21.

Visitors can see the arrival of Santa, visit him throughout the night, watch fireworks, take free carriage rides, watch an ice sculpture carving and make s’mores after donating a dollar or a children’s book to the United Way.

Entertainment will include The Str!ke and Madilyn Paige. The Utah Regional Ballet and the Timpview choir will also perform.

“Each of our events we do is in correlation with a charity to make sure that we’re helping out the charity, especially during the holiday season,” said JJ Haering, director of leasing and tenant relations at Riverwoods. “The event is benefitting them.”

The event goes from 6 to 9 p.m. The lighting starts at 6:30 p.m.

2. This year is the third annual lights display by the Christensen & Hymas Law Firm. Utah residents and visitors can watch the lights and accompanying music at 99.9 FM outside the building starting Friday, Nov. 28, and ending just before the new year.

Marketing director John Froerer said the firm originally wanted to market the business. “(We want to) make sure people know who we are and make sure they understand that we’re part of the community in a way that we want to give back,” he said. “We want … people (to) understand that there’s help, and the service we provide them is that help, especially when things go wrong.”

This year’s show will have four new arches, each seven feet tall and 24 feet long altogether. The lights, starting from either side or from the middle, bounce across the arches in sync with the songs on the radio. The entire display has more than forty thousand lights.

The shows go from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. each night. See a past show here.

3. Thanksgiving Point uses more than a million lights in its drive-through Holiday Lights display.

Julia Higginson,Thanksgiving Point’s communications manager, said Thanksgiving Point started the display as a way to celebrate the season.

“It’s gorgeous, and from the warmth of your own car you can drive through,” Higginson said. “You can tune into a radio station and enjoy the scene while looking at the lights.”

Displays include lit-up snowmen, angels, reindeer, a nativity scene and other Christmas icons.

The Holiday Lights display starts Saturday, Nov. 29, and ends Saturday, Dec. 27. Visitors can see the lights for $10 a car from 6 to 10 p.m each day. It’s closed Sundays and Christmas day. The display is open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

4. Spanish Fork’s 22nd annual Festival of Lights continues the drive-through lights display tradition.

Karen Bradford, assistant parks and recreations director in Spanish Fork, said they started it to give citizens of the community and surrounding areas something to be a part of and to enjoy the winter.

“We change the layout every two years,” Bradford said. “We try to do a few new things (every year).” Six seven-foot-tall gingerbread men are new to the display this year.

The display starts Thanksgiving night and ends New Year’s Day. Each night’s display starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

5. Salem City’s Pond Town Christmas lights feature about 20 floating Christmas trees on the pond and lights surrounding the pond. This light display is free to the public. Visitors can drive around the pond or get out and walk.

Jeff Nielson, Salem’s city finance director, said the display started with the idea to put floating Christmas trees on the pond. “It’s just a neat little Christmas lighting thing,” Nielson said, “one that you won’t be disappointed if you came and saw.”

Displays include swans, a nativity scene and different lights around the pond and on the trees. Visitors can see the lights starting Friday, Nov. 28, until Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.

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