Take a Holiday Home Tour of Biltmore House

Every year, the country's largest privately owned home celebrates Christmas in true Gilded Age style. Thousands of twinkling lights and miles of garland decorate the luxurious chateau and surrounding gardens to create the magical feeling of a bygone era.

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: Biltmore House

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Photo By: The Biltmore Company

Christmas Comes to Biltmore House

Decorated with more than 45,000 white twinkling lights, this 55-foot-tall Norway spruce welcomes visitors to America's largest home.

Biltmore House's Illuminated Front Lawn

Smaller evergreens and deciduous trees surround the massive spruce. In total, more than 50 decorated trees dot the grounds of the estate.

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.

Biltmore House's Entry Hall

Draped with fresh white pine and Fraser fir garlands, miles of ribbon and twinkling lights, the Entry Hall is just as impressive for today's guests as it was for visitors more than a century ago.    

The Library

Swags of fresh evergreens and a brightly lit Christmas tree bring seasonal cheer to Biltmore House's massive, 40-by-60-foot, two-story library.

Biltmore House's Grand Staircase

More fresh greenery decorates the 4-story iron chandelier that illuminates the sweeping cantilevered limestone staircase.

The Grand Staircase With Kissing Balls

More than 130 kissing balls can be found throughout Biltmore House. These greenery spheres have a storied past with roots in England during the Middle Ages. Like mistletoe, the greenery bunches symbolize good fortune and fertility.  

Candlelit Tour

A combination of pillar candles, firelight and twinkling Christmas tree lights wash Biltmore House's nearly 500-year-old Flemish tapestries in a warm, golden glow.  

The Banquet Hall Fireplace

Brightly lit Christmas trees flank the carved stone triple fireplace in Biltmore House's largest room the cavernous Banquet Hall.   

Fresh Evergreen Garland and Wreath

A large fresh wreath and illuminated evergreen garlands top the Banquet Hall's stone overmantel carved by famed sculptor Karl Bitter. Biltmore House's floral team replaces greenery weekly to maintain a fresh look and scent for holiday visitors.  

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.    

Everything by Hand

Just as the tree is brought in by hand, crew members must inspect every light before they begin decorating the tree to ensure that every detail is perfect for holiday visitors. 

A Tall Decorating Order

As you might imagine, decorating Biltmore House's  35-foot-tall tree requires a lot of ornaments: 500 wrapped gift boxes, 500 traditional glass ornaments and 500 electric lights, in the Edison bulb style, to be exact.

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.