In a year that’s been anything but typical and marked by delays, postponements and cancellations, one thing that arrived right on schedule has been holiday decorations filling homes, parks and shopping centers.

Southern California’s casinos brought out some festive decor, too, and this year they went all-in: From a massive gingerbread house at Soboba Casino Resort to one very festive-looking alpaca at Harrah’s Resort Southern California, here are some of the fun decorations the region’s casinos have on display.

Soboba Casino Resort 

22777 Soboba Road, San Jacinto. 951-665-1000,

The San Jacinto-area resort has transformed a portion of its Cabaret Lounge into Gingerbread Lane. The star attraction is a 22-foot-tall gingerbread house that features some pretty sweet ingredients, including tinted sugar windows and sills made of Belgian chocolate.

The project was a collaboration between Soboba’s pastry chefs, Director of Food and Beverage Robert Mejia, Chief Marketing Officer Martin Moore and Chief Executive Officer John James. In an emailed response to questions, James wrote that the resort wanted to create an attraction so “grand and compelling” that it would help to take people’s minds off hard times.

It took five weeks and a lot of ingredients to put the life-size gingerbread house together, including 420 eggs and 420 pounds of flour.

“This was by far the biggest project the culinary team at Soboba Casino Resort has ever created in their combined careers.” Mejia said in an emailed response to questions, noting that multiple departments from across the resort contributed to the project.

“Everyone worked together to make this fantastic attraction come to life,” he added.

In addition to the gingerbread house, guests will be able to hear holiday music. They can also find oversize gingerbread men cutouts and see colorful videos shown on big screens. A holiday bake shop is open limited hours on Fridays and Saturdays and serves items such as hot chocolate, apple cider and gingerbread cookies.

Guests of the attraction will have to wear a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved mask (bandanas, neck gaiters or vented masks are not allowed) and social distancing will be enforced through the use of guided pathways, according to a press release about the attraction.

Children must be accompanied by an adult who is 21 or older and are only allowed on the casino level between 7 a.m. and 9:59 p.m.

The gingerbread house will close Jan. 4.

  • This 30-foot tall Christmas tree full of lights and decorations can be found in the main lobby at Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa this holiday season. (Courtesy of Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa)

  • Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage has a holiday display just outside The Steakhouse that includes Christmas trees, a large snow globe and lots of gold-toned decorations. (Courtesy of Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage)

  • This mural at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage has been popular with Instagram users. (Courtesy of Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage)

  • This alpaca from Harrah’s Resort Southern California’s San Diego Pride Parade Float is ready for the holidays. The resort dressed him up with a Santa hat and robe but he’s still rocking his cool shades. (Courtesy of Harrah’s Resort Southern California)

  • Soboba Casino Resort has turned part of its Cabaret Lounge into Gingerbread Lane for the holidays and the star attraction is a 22-foot gingerbread house. (Courtesy of Soboba Casino Resort)



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Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage 

32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 888-999-1995,

The Rancho Mirage resort has a new mural that’s getting lots of social media love. The mural, from Nashville-based artist Jessica K. Haas, is located just outside The Steakhouse. It features the phrase “Chillin in Cali” painted as a bunch of letter balloons bunched together and flanked by three snowflake-shaped balloons.

Visitors to the resort have already taken to Instagram with pictures of themselves pretending to hold onto the balloons.

Other decorations include Christmas trees, a large snow globe and a deer atop shimmering faux snow.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California 

777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center. 760-751-3100,

The Valley Center resort is celebrating the holiday season with what might be the coolest-looking alpaca ever.

The giant alpaca from the resort’s float in the 2019 San Diego Pride Parade has been placed in the resort’s lobby.

For the holiday season the the alpaca was given his own custom Santa hat and scarf in Harrah’s signature hue of purple, but got to keep his sunglasses. Elsewhere on the property, visitors can find purple and silver trees with wrapped presents beneath them.

Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa 

49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon.  951-849-3080,

Morongo has a tree that would make Clark Griswold jealous. The 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, located in the the Cabazon complex’s main lobby, is full of ornaments, bows and ribbons and is ready for its Instagram close-up.



By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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