Christmas at Biltmore
Decking the Halls, Biltmore Style
Making Biltmore Estate Sparkle
Modeled after Loire Valley French chateaux and designed to be the centerpiece of a working estate, Biltmore House is America’s largest home and a shining example of Gilded Age glamour and 19th Century lifestyles of the truly rich and famous. To celebrate George and Edith Vanderbilt’s first Christmas in the home, the house and grounds were richly decorated for the season with miles of fresh evergreen garlands, hundreds of hand-tied bows, delicate, glittering ornaments and a massive Christmas tree towering over guests in the mansion’s Banquet Hall.
And, more than a century later, very little has changed. Relying on newspaper descriptions and estate records, Biltmore's design team works their magic each year to faithfully recreate the look of the Victorian Christmas that George and Edith Vanderbilt enjoyed when they welcomed their first guests in 1895.
The Front Entry
Modeled after a French chateau, Biltmore House's facade features gargoyles, grotesques and other fanciful details that are signature of the style. This stone lion, standing sentinel near the home's massive front doors, is decorated with just one of the 360 fresh white pine and Fraser fir holiday wreaths.
The Grand Staircase With Kissing Balls
Fresh Evergreen Garland and Wreath
The Main Event
One of the most anticipated holiday traditions at Biltmore House is the annual tree raising. Hundreds of visitors gather to watch as a 40-person team carefully maneuvers the massive Christmas tree past priceless antiques and into position in the Banquet Hall.
Easy Does It
Due to the irreplacable nature of Biltmore House's architecture and antiques, no heavy equipment is used to transport or position the massive 35-foot Fraser fir. Instead, the crew carefully raises it using ropes and pulleys, carefully avoiding the Banquet Hall's chandelier.
A Family Tradition
More than a century after the first Christmas tree was raised in the Banquet Hall at Biltmore House, very little has changed. Relying on newspaper descriptions and estate records, the design team accurately recreates the look of the Gilded Age Christmas that George and Edith Vanderbilt enjoyed when they welcomed their first guests in 1895.