The Holidays Just Got Brighter with Two Million Lights of Holiday Spirit

Way back when in the olden days – say late 60’s and early 70’s , it was a treat of epic anticipation to go to our local mall and see the Christmas displays (and Santa). I fantasied about sneaking in at night and sleeping in one of the snowy elf houses or eating a giant candy cane while playing on the moving teetertotter. To this day, I still check the stars for Santa on Christmas Eve.

So what to my surprise and delight to find out about Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort Casino’s massive creation to celebrate my favorite time of year.

Click the video above for a special video recorded by Shane Bird, Turning Stone’s, “man behind the Christmas Curtain” for TG&H readers. His official title is Director of Spa and Environmental Services, but this time of year, we’re told his name tag reads “Lead Elf.”

Turning Stone officially kicked off their 2022 holiday season by revealing its largest and most impressive holiday display of lights and decorations ever. Making a significant investment in completely revamping its holiday décor this year, the Upstate New York destination resort rolled out more than two million new LED lights, 160 illuminated Christmas trees, a massive 50-foot tree with a six-foot topper, a 32 foot tree inside the Emerald Lobby, 84 illuminated light post motifs, and more.

Santa would be impressed by this list of their new holiday decorations:

  • 2 million LED holiday lights
  • More than 4,150 ornaments
  • 160 illuminated Christmas trees
  • More than 230 feet of holiday garland
  • 10 eight-foot-long ornaments hanging in the Winter Garden
  • 84 illuminated light post motifs along the drive into the resort
  • Several massive Christmas trees measuring between 24 to 50 feet
  • Six oversized illuminated ornaments and ten large, illuminated gift boxes

The Best Gingerbread Village in the Country

Recognized nationally for the last several years by Forbes Travel Guide, Turning Stone has built one of the best gingerbread villages in the country. This year’s edible art got a little bigger, measuring more than 75 feet in length and features nine buildings, including a hotel, a barn, a bake shop, a Victorian-style home, and a train station with a moving train.

Turning Stone’s award-winning pastry team designed this year’s Gingerbread Village with a nod to traditional nostalgic gingerbread houses by incorporating popular candies including NECCO wafers, pinwheel mints and Spree tart candy.

The pastry team must have had some magic to make all this for their gingerbread house:

  • 5,100 Pinwheel Mints
  • 1,680 NECCO Wafers
  • 1,440 Peppermint Sticks
  • 1,210 Gingerbread circles
  • 1,150 Gingerbread Pieces
  • 1,000 Hershey’s Miniatures
  • 765 Pounds of Frosting
  • 75 Pounds of Spree Candy
  • 47 Pounds of Shredded Wheat
  • 15 Pounds of Crushed Peppermint
  • 13 Pounds of Strawberry Wafers
  • 12 Pounds of Brownie Brittle

I think it is time to make a road trip to upstate New York, don’t you?

The Gingerbread Village is open daily through New Year’s Day and is located near the main entrance of the resort by The Commons shopping boutiques. For a list of all Turning Stone holiday festivities, including holiday concerts, themed weekends at Exit 33, and more visit

Thanks to Shane Bird for and the entire Turning Stone team for sharing their holiday spirit with all of us here.

Very happy holidays!

Christine Faria
Elf in Training
Tribal Gaming and Hospitality Magazine