68 Trees in One House? Of Course!
Written By Leeann Donnelly
For the Home
Wondering what it takes to decorate Biltmore for the holidays?
It’s a study in arithmetic and herculean effort. Biltmore House and all of the buildings around the estate command a team experienced in wrangling trees, lights, candles, ornaments, poinsettias, wreaths, kissing balls, garlands, ribbons and bows – though not necessarily in that order. Read on, and just for fun, keep your calculator handy.
We use a combination of fresh cut Fraser firs and artificial trees for fire safety and protection of the collection in Biltmore House. We also use live nursery plants in the various areas of the house.
• The 2012 celebration boasts 68 Christmas trees inside Biltmore House – the most ever on record!
• The largest tree inside Biltmore House is the 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall.
• A lighted 65-foot-tall Norway spruce anchors the front lawn of Biltmore House.
• A total of 55 additional decorated Christmas trees are located across the estate, including the Winery, Inn on Biltmore Estate, Antler Hill Village and our restaurants.
Lights and candles
There are around 30,000 lights in Biltmore House, with around 125 candles. About 125,000 mini lights twinkle around the estate. Around 45,000 lights illuminate the Front Lawn tree in front of the house, and “up” lighting accents the poplar trees lining the front lawn. Three hundred luminaries line the driveway and Esplanade in front of Biltmore House.
We use 500 wrapped gift boxes, 500 ornaments and 500 electric lights to decorate the Banquet Hall Tree. We use around 12,000 ornaments on the other trees inside Biltmore House, and that many again around the estate, for a total of 25,000 or more.
Poinsettias and other blooming plants
We use mostly red poinsettias with some white and a few marbled and pink. In total, we place around 1,000 blooming plants throughout Biltmore House along with several hundred more in the other estate facilities.
Our wreaths are made of fresh white pine, Fraser fir, boxwood, holly or artificial bases decorated with dried flowers, silk flowers and other ornamentation. We place 360 fresh wreaths and sprays around the estate during the season, along with 130 artificial or silk.
Around 130 are made of white pine and Fraser fir, placed all across the estate through the season.
Fresh garlands are made of white pine and Fraser fir. We change them weekly to keep them fresh for our guests. We use 5,000 feet during the season. Silk, dried and artificial garlands add another 1,200 feet in Biltmore House and around 1,500 feet in other areas.
Ribbons and bows
We use 500 inside Biltmore House with that many again in the ancillary areas. From narrow cording to 8-inch-wide ribbons, we decorate with velvets, metallics, satins, burlap and printed cottons.
About the photo
The Tapestry Gallery in Biltmore House boasts six Christmas trees this year!