Christmas at Biltmore 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 decor that is in store for Christmas at Biltmore 2020.
Inside Biltmore House, guests will enjoy 55 hand-decorated Christmas trees.
The largest tree inside Biltmore House is the Vanderbilt traditional fresh 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall. The decorative topper this year is an enormous eight-pointed Bethlehem star, custom build by a member of Biltmore’s engineering team. In keeping with the size of the room and the massive fir it was created to crown, the star is a whopping 36 inches by 40 inches.
The smallest tree inside Biltmore House is a table top tree found in the Moreland bedroom.
A lit 55-foot-tall Norway spruce encircled by 36 illuminated evergreens and shrubs decorates the Front Lawn of Biltmore House for Candlelight Christmas Evenings.
A total of 52 additional decorated Christmas trees will be placed at other estate locations, including the Winery, The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Antler Hill Village and estate restaurants. The Conservatory will feature Christmas tree-shaped planters with potted plants and other natural materials.
Lights and candles
There are around 45,000 lights and 150 candles inside Biltmore House. Approximately 135,000 LED and mini lights are in other areas around the estate.
More than 55,300 lights illuminate the Front Lawn tree, with around 33,280 more on the surrounding trees and shrubs. Uplighting will illuminate the poplar trees lining the driveway.
Biltmore staff members prepare and light 250 luminaries each day at dusk for guests arriving for Candlelight Christmas Evenings tours. They place the luminaries along the driveway and Esplanade in front of Biltmore House. They come back to extinguish them at the end of the night.
The Banquet Hall Tree is decorated with 500 ornaments and 500 LED Edison bulb-style electric lights, along with an abundance of gift boxes tucked into the tree’s limbs.
Around 13,870 ornaments are hung on the other trees inside Biltmore House, and that many again around the estate to add sparkle and seasonal interest.
Poinsettias and other blooming plants
There are more than 1,200 traditional poinsettias found in the Christmas displays around the estate.
Other familiar holiday plants and flowers include amaryllis, Christmas cactus, bromeliads, orchids, peace lilies, cyclamen, begonias, kalanchoe and potted green plants. In Biltmore House alone, 150 poinsettias will be displayed.
We place 225 fresh wreaths and sprays, along with 90 faux pieces, around the estate for the season. Wreaths are made of fresh white pine and Fraser fir, ornamented wit golden arborvitae, holly, or other natural materials such as twigs and cones. Artificial bases are decorated with ornaments, berries, faux flowers and ribbon.
We use 3,120 feet of fresh evergreen garlanding during the season, made of mixed white pine and Fraser fir. The garlands are replaced weekly to maintain a fresh look and fragrance for our guests. Faux garlands add another 1,000 feet in Biltmore House and around 1,800 feet in other areas.
Ribbons and bows
We make 600 bows for inside Biltmore House, and twice that many for other estate venues. We use everything from narrow cording to 8-inch-wide ribbons to make the bows. We decorate with velvets, metallics, satins, burlap and printed cottons.
The amount of ribbon needed to make a bow ranges from 5 yards for a bow used on the fresh garland on the Grand Staircase, to 15 yards to make a tree topper bow for a 16-foot tree like you might see in the Tapestry Gallery or Banquet Hall.
Any ribbon that is used year to year is starched and ironed so that it is wrinkle free and perfect!