Celebrate Biltmore’s Tree-Raising Tradition Virtually

Written By Jean Sexton

Posted 11/04/21

Updated 12/11/23

Holiday Traditions

Please enjoy this archived content from a Christmas past.

For 2021, Biltmore invites you once again to join us online to celebrate our tree-raising tradition virtually!

“One of our most beloved Christmas at Biltmore traditions is raising and decorating the grand Banquet Hall tree,” said Lizzie Borchers, Floral Manager.

Man in Biltmore hat helps raise the Banquet Hall Christmas tree
Wade Ledford, a retired member of Biltmore’s Engineering Services team, enjoys returning each year to help raise the Banquet Hall Christmas tree

“George Vanderbilt first welcomed friends and family to Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895,” Lizzie said, “so we want to celebrate by sharing a closer look at the process, including many behind-the-scenes details.”

Experience this year’s tree raising virtually

With the health and safety of our guests and employees in mind, we’ve created a Christmas mini-documentary to give you an exciting virtual view of this 35-foot Fraser fir’s journey to become the seasonal centerpiece in America’s Largest Home®.

Celebrating Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas decorations on the mantel in the Music Room of Biltmore House
The Music Room is transformed by Floral Designer Cristy Leonard’s interpretation of the carol “We Three Kings”

Biltmore’s Floral Displays team developed a special “Christmas Carol” theme, using an array of traditional seasonal songs that were as popular in the last century as they are today, to create the décor in America’s Largest Home.

The Vestibule, Entry Hall, and Winter Garden feature inspiration from Deck the Halls because the words “boughs of holly” reflect George Vanderbilt’s request for “barrels of mistletoe and wagonloads of holly” to decorate his new home.

Sheet music decoration on Christmas tree
This year’s decorating theme in Biltmore House is “Christmas Carols,” so look for ornamental details like sheet music and instruments

“Look for the traditional reds and greens of the season as you enter,” said Floral Designer Lesley Tobar. “And be inspired to deck your own halls!”

Star of the show

For 2021, the Floral team once again used an enormous eight-pointed Bethlehem star, custom built by Jason Pleva, a member of Biltmore’s carpentry team, as the decorative topper for the 35-foot-tall Banquet Hall Christmas tree.

Christmas tree topper
Lucinda Ledford (right) and her teammates adjust the 8-pointed golden star atop Biltmore’s largest Christmas tree

“I chose The 12 Days of Christmas as inspiration for interpreting the Banquet Hall,” said Lucinda Ledford, Floral Designer. “In addition to traditional Christmas colors of red and green, I included shades of gold,” Lucinda noted, “so the beautiful golden star was a perfect complement for the tree.”

Golden wreaths above the Banquet Hall fireplace
Inspired by “The 12 Days of Christmas,” Lucinda placed five golden wreaths on the mantel

“The Banquet Hall features other details from the beloved carol, like these five golden ring-like wreaths on the fireplace mantel,” said Lucinda.

Make it jolly

Biltmore House Library mantel hung with stockings
Cheerful stockings and fringed swags on the mantel lighten the formal tone of the Library this holiday season

Biltmore Floral team member Don Holloway chose the Christmas décor in the Library with inspiration from Jolly Old St. Nicholas, a lively carol that always sets a cheerful mood.

“I chose classic reds, greens, and golds for this room that displays about half of the 23,000 books that George Vanderbilt collected,” said Don, “but I also allowed the playfulness of the song to shine through, lightening the formal tone of the Library.”

Suggestions of stained glass

The Oak Sitting Room, decorated for the holidays in Biltmore House
Translucent jewel-tone ornaments suggest stained glass and complement the vivid tones of the Oak Sitting Room

Inspired by the carol O Holy Night, Kyla Dana, Floral Supervisor, selected jewel-toned decorations to complement the rich, vibrant colors of the recently restored Oak Sitting Room.

“The worshipful tone of that song led me to think about All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village, which has many ties to the Vanderbilt family. The translucent ornaments I chose for the Oak Sitting Room represent the stained glass windows in the church.”

Magnificent details

Hanging Christmas lights on the Banquet Hall tree in Biltmore House
Once the Banquet Hall tree is in place, strings of lights are added with help from team members in the Organ Loft

“These are just a few of the magnificent details we’ll have ready for you,” said Lizzie. “So whether you’re able to visit in person or simply enjoy seeing our updates on Facebook and Instagram, Christmas at Biltmore and Candlelight Christmas Evenings add a lot of excitement to the holiday season.”

Virtual entertaining ideas

Three friends in front of a Christmas tree with Biltmore wines and charcuterie
Whether you’re gathering with friends or hosting a virtual celebration, Biltmore has plenty of holiday hospitality inspiration!

In addition to our virtual tree-raising event, we’ve also created a special video to help you host a virtual wine tasting at home. To make it even easier, select our Virtual Wine Tasting Set featuring each of the wines from the video.

Our Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio makes a great gift
Savor the delights of our 2021 Tree Raising Wine Trio

We’re also offering a Tree-Raising Wine Trio to help you celebrate our virtual event (or your own tree raising festivities), plus our 2021 Seasoned with Cheer holiday hospitality guide filled with inspirational ideas for perfect pairings, gracious gatherings, and gift-giving suggestions to make the season even more merry.

White V

Experience the Beauty of Biltmore... for Less