Up the Road: A Biltmore Christmas

Dec 07, 2022 at 10:05 am by RMGadmin

America’s Largest Home Gets Ready for the Holidays

When hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, fragrant wreaths, fresh greenery, and thousands of glittering ornaments are hung with care, people know Christmas at Biltmore has begun – and this year, that was November 4th. 
This time-honored tradition dates back more than 125 years when George Vanderbilt celebrated the first Christmas in his new home – Biltmore House. Guests are invited every year to enjoy the enchantment of the holidays on the estate, inspired by that first Christmas at the Biltmore House.
The First Christmas at Biltmore House
When George Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House for the first time to family and friends on Christmas Eve 1895, it was a joyous occasion. Estate records show that Vanderbilt paid close attention to every detail to ensure a memorable holiday experience for his guests. Requests were placed for a large Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall, mistletoe and holly were gathered, and hand-made garlands were hung throughout the house.
Vanderbilt also held a Christmas party for estate employees. Workers and their families were invited to Biltmore House on Christmas morning for a grand party with cake, ice cream and gifts galore. The Cecil family – Vanderbilt’s descendants and present-day owners of the estate – continues that tradition today and hosts a holiday celebration for employees and their families.
Christmas at Biltmore Today
The magic of the holidays continues today with Christmas at Biltmore, a special celebration offered in November and December. Known as one of the Southeast’s most elegant and awe-inspiring holiday travel destinations, the modern-day celebration is modeled after the estate’s first Christmas, with miles of the garden, hundreds of poinsettias, dozens of Christmas trees and an elaborately decorated thirty-five-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall.

Olmsted-Inspired Design
Throughout 2022, Biltmore has been part of the national celebration of the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, the estate’s landscape architect. For Christmas, Biltmore’s talented floral designers planned the décor in Biltmore House around a “Winter Landscapes” theme that brings the outdoors inside and honors Olmsted’s grand achievements.
A wintry forest of trees flanking the front doors of Biltmore House will welcome guests into the home for tours where they’ll encounter holiday finery suggesting snowy landscapes reminiscent of Boston Common, New York City’s Central Park and other well-known parks and landscapes designed by Olmsted.
Decorations are scaled to the maximum to transform an estate like Biltmore into the grand experience it is year after year. Décor in Biltmore House alone includes sixty-seven hand-decorated Christmas trees this year, more than 14,000 ornaments, 45,000 holiday lights, 250 candles, 1,000 feet of garland and 150 traditional poinsettias.
Two Christmas Experiences at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration
 November 4, 2022 – January 8, 2023 
This beloved tradition includes a daytime tour of Biltmore House while the estate is adorned with holiday decorations that number in the thousands. From Biltmore House to the Winery, Antler Hill Village and Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius, guests will want to linger on the estate to experience all that Christmas at Biltmore has to offer.
The Magic of Candlelight Christmas Evenings
November 4, 2022 – January 7, 2023
During this nighttime tour, Biltmore House glows with candlelight and firelight, changing the daytime visit’s mood and experience. Candlelight Christmas Evenings in Biltmore House allows guests to step back in time with an experience reminiscent of the Vanderbilt’s first Christmas spent in Biltmore House in 1895. Luminaries dot the Front Lawn of Biltmore House, and thousands of tiny white lights adorn the Front Lawn’s fifty-five-foot-tall Norway Spruce. Inside the House, soloists and choirs perform traditional Christmas music, with the rooms taking on a magical glow as candles illuminate holiday decor.
Holiday Highlights

The Conservatory: Hundreds of holiday poinsettias in different colors and patterns warm up the inside of the Conservatory in the Winter Garden along with a large and unusual array of tropical plants.

Christmas Pop-Up Shop at A Gardener’s Place: Adding to the estate’s many shopping options, a Christmas pop-up shop will be stocked with everything needed to celebrate the season.

Wine Tasting & Dining: Reservations for complimentary tastings of Biltmore Winery’s handcrafted wines must be made on the day of a visit. Estate restaurants offer seasonal dishes and craft cocktails.

Holiday Stays at Biltmore: A stay at Biltmore for the holidays is a tradition for many families that releases the stress of hosting as Biltmore coordinates the details for the ultimate holiday experience without a single dish to wash or tree to trim. Holiday packages are offered at the luxurious Four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, the Village Hotel and the Line House Cottages. Depending on the package, offerings include admission to Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius, Wine Welcome Socials, a Gingerbread House Display and more. To learn more, visit biltmore.com.

Christmas at Biltmore Facts

7,370 yards of ribbon is used to decorate Biltmore House.
There are ten full-time floral designers and five part-time floral staff members.
5,000 lights will hang in the waterfall light display in Antler Hill Village.
1,960 traditional poinsettias are in the Christmas displays.
500 ornaments decorate the Banquet Hall Tree, and 13,870 ornaments are used inside Biltmore House.
45,000 lights and 250 candles are inside Biltmore House.
The Conservatory is decorated with “trees” made of potted plants and other natural materials.