Christmas at Biltmore 2021: By the Numbers

For America’s Largest Home®, Christmas decorations must be scaled to the maximum to transform a home of this magnitude into the magical, sparkling experience that awaits guests year after year. Here are facts about the décor that is on display for this year’s Christmas at Biltmore celebration.

There are a handful of trees just in the Tapestry Gallery alone—the longest room in Biltmore House.
There are a handful of trees just in the Tapestry Gallery alone—the longest room in Biltmore House.

Christmas Trees

  • Biltmore’s Floral team will design and hand-decorate 62 Christmas trees for Biltmore House.
  • The largest tree inside Biltmore House is a fresh, 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall. It takes around 50 Biltmore staff members to carry in, raise, and secure the tree into place.
  • The smallest is a tabletop tree in the Moreland bedroom.
  • A lit 55-foot-tall Norway spruce encircled by 36 other illuminated evergreens decorates the front lawn of Biltmore House for Candlelight Christmas Evenings.
  • A total of 45 additional decorated Christmas trees are located at other estate venues, including the Winery, The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Antler Hill Village, and our restaurants.
Biltmore staff members carefully string lights on the Banquet Hall’s 35-foot-tall Fraser fir.
Biltmore staff members carefully string lights on the Banquet Hall’s 35-foot-tall Fraser fir.

Lights & Candles

  • There are around 45,000 lights and 250 candles inside Biltmore House. 135,000 LED and mini lights are found around the estate.
  • There are 55,296 lights illuminating the Front Lawn tree, with 33,280 more on the surrounding trees and shrubs.
  • About 250 luminaries line the driveway and Esplanade in front of Biltmore House. Biltmore staff members place and light the luminaries each day at dusk to prepare for guests arriving for Candlelight Christmas Evenings. They come back to extinguish them at the end of the night.
The Christmas tree in the Salon boasts beautiful rose gold and slate blue ornaments.
The Christmas tree in the Salon boasts beautiful rose gold and slate blue ornaments.

Ornaments

  • The Banquet Hall Tree boasts 500 ornaments and 500 LED Edison bulb-style electric lights along with an abundance of gift boxes.
  • There are 13,870 ornaments used on the other trees inside Biltmore House, and that many again around the estate to add sparkle and seasonal interest.
  • Between seasons, the ornaments are housed in a large warehouse, where they are sorted, labeled, and stored in hundreds of boxes.
Blooming poinsettias surround Karl Bitter’s Boy Stealing Geese in the Winter Garden.
Blooming poinsettias surround Karl Bitter’s “Boy Stealing Geese” in the Winter Garden.

Poinsettias & Other Holiday Blooms

  • More than 1,200 traditional poinsettias are found in the Christmas displays around the estate.
  • There are 175 poinsettias in Biltmore House which are refreshed and replaced mid-season.
  • Seasonal plants include around 963 amaryllises, Christmas cacti, bromeliads, orchids, peace lilies, cyclamen, begonias, and kalanchoes.
The five golden wreaths in the Banquet Hall represent five golden rings from The 12 Days of Christmas.
The five golden wreaths in the Banquet Hall represent five golden rings from “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Wreaths

  • We place 200 fresh wreaths and sprays along with 90 faux pieces around the estate during the season.
  • Wreaths are made of fresh white pine and Fraser fir, ornamented with golden arborvitae, holly, or other natural materials such as twigs and cones. Artificial bases are decorated with ornaments, berries, faux flowers, and ribbon.
Festive garland and stockings line the fireplace mantel in George Vanderbilt’s Library.
Festive garland and stockings line the fireplace mantel in George Vanderbilt’s Library.

Garlands & Swags

  • We cut fresh evergreens on the property every week and create handmade swags to decorate the Grand Staircase in Biltmore House. The swags are replaced weekly to maintain a fresh look and fragrance for our guests.
  • Around 1,000 feet of fresh and faux garlands decorate Biltmore House, and around 1,200 feet are used in other areas.
Even some ornaments get their own bows, like this oversized bauble for the Banquet Hall tree.
Even some ornaments get their own bows, like this oversized bauble for the Banquet Hall tree.

Ribbons & Bows

  • We use 9,130 yards of ribbon to create hand-tied bows for Biltmore House and the estate.
  • We use everything from narrow cording to 8-inch-wide ribbon. We decorate with velvets, metallics, satins, burlap, and printed cottons.
  • It takes 10 yards of ribbon to create the festive red bows worn each year by the marble lions at the front door of Biltmore House.
  • The amount of ribbon required to make a tree-topper bow for the 16-foot-tall Christmas trees in the Library is 15 yards.
  • Any ribbon that is used year to year is starched and ironed so that it is wrinkle-free and perfect!
A few of Biltmore’s Floral Designers: Marie Arnold, Kyla Dana, Lucinda Ledford, Joslyn Kelly, and Callan Charron.
A few of Biltmore’s Floral Designers: Marie Arnold, Kyla Dana, Lucinda Ledford, Joslyn Kelly, and Callan Charron.

Staff

  • We have 10 full-time Floral Designers and 5 part-time Floral staff members.
  • Multiple departments across the estate help also help decorate Biltmore each year, including our Engineering, Housekeeping, Museum Services, Horticulture, Guest Services, Security, and Events teams.

Plan your visit today and discover the estate at its most enchanting: Christmas at Biltmore.

Decking the Halls, Biltmore Style

Please enjoy this archived content from Christmas 2019.

Each year, our Floral Displays team decks the halls of America’s Largest Home® for Christmas at Biltmore.

For 2019, discover how they draw inspiration from the beautiful details, including the art and furnishings, in Biltmore House.

Winter Garden and Surroundings

Decorating Christmas trees in Biltmore House
Norene Barrett puts finishing touches on a Christmas tree topper

Norene Barrett began working at Biltmore 18 years ago in the mail services department. Though she enjoyed her role, she looked for different ways to express her own creativity.

In 2015, after taking an intensive course in floral design, Norene joined Floral Displays and is now responsible for decorating sections of Biltmore House and the estate.

Decorating Christmas trees in Biltmore House
Floral team members Feny Bryan, Norene Barrett, and Kathy Nameth decorate a trio of trees inspired by the Greek friezes on the wall

“This trio of trees is meant to take guests back in time,” Norene said of her design for the area between the Winter Garden and the Billiard Room. “The trees are cheery and bright, but I used a lot of white elements for continuity with the series of Greek friezes on the walls.”

Norene added snowy branches to her décor along with period ornaments to bring a nostalgic feeling of Christmas past.

Winter Garden in Biltmore House decorated for Christmas at Biltmore
Winter Garden decorated for Christmas at Biltmore

For the Winter Garden, Norene is planning to light the evergreen garlands so that they glow, and instead of traditional kissing balls suspended from the greenery, she has created sparkling swags that catch the light. She’ll also add plenty of poinsettias to emphasize the garden feel of the space.

Breakfast Room

Adding ornaments to a Christmas tree in the Breakfast Room
Joslyn Kelly adds ornaments to the Breakfast Room tree

“This is the room where the family would eat breakfast, so I wanted it to have a warm, homey feeling as if you’re being welcomed to the table,” said Joslyn Kelly, floral designer.

Pink ornaments for the Breakfast Room
A selection of red and pink Christmas ornaments chosen to complement the Breakfast Room decor

Drawing inspiration from the room’s elegant cut velvet draperies and upholstery, Joslyn selected ornaments in a range of pinks and reds to complement the lovely patterns and colors of the fabric.

Floral displays on the Breakfast Room table
Lush floral displays and cranberry topiaries top the Breakfast Room table during Christmas at Biltmore

Look for glorious floral arrangements, towering topiaries of deep burgundy cranberries, and gilded pears among the delicate crystal and china place settings on the table.

Morning Salon

Nativity scene in the Tapestry Gallery
The estate’s Nativity scene, often staged in the Tapestry Gallery in years past

Cristy Leonard has been a member of the floral team for seven years, and the Salon is one of her areas to decorate for our 2019 Christmas at Biltmore celebration.

The estate’s large traditional Nativity will be staged in the Salon this year, and according to Cristy, the set has been a major source of inspiration for her designs.

“I’ve planned special new surroundings that includes twinkling lights to resemble nighttime in Bethlehem,” Cristy said.

Biltmore designer holds ornaments she created
Cristy Leonard displays ornaments she created for the Salon tree

Cristy chose to decorate the Salon’s main tree in brilliant peacock blues and greens with bright touches of gold. She added cherubs, gilded grapes, and grapevines to symbolize the prosperity and blessings of the season.

Christmas tree in Biltmore House Salon
Salon Christmas tree wound with gold fabric

As a finishing touch, Cristy swathed the tree in yards of gauzy golden fabric, echoing the look of the room’s iconic draped and tented ceiling.

Third Floor Living Hall

Staff favorites: Harpist playing in the Third Floor Living Hall
A harpist plays Christmas carols in the Third Floor Living Hall

During the Vanderbilt era, Third Floor Living Hall was a place for guests to relax in the evenings, share the events of the day, and perhaps read or catch up with friends.

Michelle Warren of Biltmore’s floral team created a child’s tree for this room, complete with dolls, toys, and wooden soldiers around the base, ready for the younger set to play with them while their parents indulged in a sing-along or a game of cards.

Humpty Dumpty toy under Christmas tree
A whimsical Humpty Dumpty and other toys under the Third Floor Living Hall Christmas tree

As you enter Third Floor Living Hall, look for a charming scene featuring a table set up with paper, ribbon, and tags, just as if Edith Vanderbilt were wrapping her gifts for the Christmas season!

Other 2019 Christmas at Biltmore highlights:

  • Grand Staircase
    • This elegant Christmas tree is centered under the Grand Staircase Chandelier, making it appear as though the four-story light is the tree topper.
  • Banquet Hall
    • From the 35-foot fresh Fraser fir at one end to the triple fireplaces at the other, the Banquet Hall is a traditional guest favorite and one of the most beloved rooms in Biltmore House.
  • Library
    • Themed around the idea of Christmas Traditions, the Library incorporates traditional colors such as gold, red, green, plaids, and a tartan print.
  • Oak Sitting Room
    • The colorful décor in rich jewel tones of red, cobalt, gold, and green is drawn from the room’s splendid Axminster—the only rug of English origin in Biltmore House.
  • Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom
    • The tree ornaments are inspired by the Vanderbilts’ courtship which took place in Paris. The room features a soft mix of lilac, amber, and cream colors drawn from the distinctive oval ceiling.
  • Main Kitchen
    • Look for a whimsical gingerbread replica of Biltmore House.

Christmas at Biltmore

Enjoy the daytime celebration November 1, 2019–January 5, 2020, and experience Candlelight Christmas Evenings through January 4, 2020.