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Candlelight Christmas Evenings Evoke First Christmas At Biltmore House and Gardens


Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina offer visitors an incomparable opportunity to experience Christmas as it was celebrated by one of the richest men in America at the end of the Gilded Age.

Lights, music and decorations come together to evoke the mood of a great country home. Experiencing the lights, music and decorations of the estate can make you feel as though you have been transported back to 1895, the first year George Vanderbilt opened his just-completed estate to his family and friends.


Candlelight Christmas Evenings today are based on the Christmas display Vanderbilt and his hundreds of staff created for Christmas Eve 1895, the official grand opening as it were of his country home.

The highlight of Candlelight Christmas Evenings is the Immense Fraser fir that stands 35 feet tall and dominates the Banquet Hall. Covered with lights, the tree inspires awe in everyone who sees it. Throughout the rest of the public areas candles, fireplaces and decorations add their warmth and glow to the ambience of the rooms.

If that isn’t enough, the stately spruce on the front lawn is also completely lit for the season. Luminaries lining the driveway to the house add a twinkling feast for the eyes.


Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without music. Familiar carols as well as new arrangements of old favorites are a special part of the season. Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore feature soloists, ensembles and groups throughout the house who contribute to the festive atmosphere of the season. Local choirs, harpists and even the pipe organ are pressed into service to help make your celebration complete at Biltmore.


A country home’s owner spared no expense when it came to decorating his residence for the holiday season, and George Vanderbilt was no exception. Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore feature miles of greenery in garlands and wreaths brought in from the estate and surrounding areas. They share space with nearly one thousand red and white poinsettias placed throughout the house.

Christmas trees in the estate’s rooms, although smaller than the Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall, are carefully decorated to resemble those seen by visitors to the first Christmas at Biltmore House.

Essential information

Candlelight Christmas Evenings continue through Jan. 4, 2014 at Biltmore House and Gardens. Tickets must be reserved, which can be done online. The tickets include a same-day or next-day pass to tour the estate’s gardens and winery. If you want to experience a spectacular Christmas celebration, make plans to experience Biltmore’s Candlelight Christmas Evenings.

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