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How to See the Biltmore Christmas Tree Raising

The arrival of the Christmas tree at Biltmore Estate is always a much anticipated event in Asheville, North Carolina! If you are thinking about seeing the Biltmore Christmas Tree Lighting, you will want to know these helpful tips on how to spend your time!

real fraser fir Christmas tree being lifted towards ceiling

workers pulling Christmas tree with ropes in banquet hall

When does the Christmas tree arrive at Biltmore Estate?

Christmas starts early at Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The day after Halloween is when Santa Claus brings the live Christmas tree to Biltmore House.

real christmas tree on wagon pulled by horses

It may seem super early, but there’s a reason.

Christmas time is SO POPULAR at Biltmore Estate that the holiday celebration needs to start early so that as many people can see it as possible.

In fact, there could be 8-10,000 guests a day during Christmas season, compared to 4-5,000 guests a day the rest of the year.

Also, Candlelight Christmas Evenings start very early in November. And you can’t have Candlelight Christmas Evenings without a Christmas tree!

Santa Bringing the Biltmore Christmas Tree

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why locals and visitors love Christmas at Biltmore Estate is because it seems so intimate and old-fashioned.

Imagine Santa Claus bringing a fresh-cut 35-foot Christmas tree via a horse drawn sleigh to America’s largest private castle.

That’s the start of Christmas celebrations at Biltmore House. And it’s why everyone loves it so much!

Vanderbilt library at Christmas

Biltmore Christmas tree by staircase

So how can you see Santa Claus bring the Christmas tree to the Biltmore House?

All guests are able to be a part of the Christmas magic. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the moment more:

  • You must have a valid Annual Pass or ticket for the day. Do NOT try to get a pass or ticket the morning of the event. Get it beforehand.
  • Arrive EARLY! Traffic can really back up getting into the Biltmore Estate on the morning of the Christmas tree arrival. For a 10 a.m. tree ceremony, I got to Biltmore Estate at 8:45 a.m. and traffic wasn’t bad yet. However, there were already a bunch of people there already and lined up in front of Biltmore House for their photo spot.
  • Dress warmly if it’s cold. This year, it was about 32 degrees the morning of the Christmas tree arrival.
  • Be prepared for some fun photo opportunities. In 2019, Biltmore staff were walking around with replicas of the size of the actual Biltmore Christmas tree ornaments. Plus, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus are available for photos.

boy holding large Biltmore Christmas ornament in front of house

two women wearing jackets in front of Biltmore House

How to See the Biltmore Christmas Tree Lighting

There is not one moment when the Christmas tree is suddenly lit in a grand ceremony in the Biltmore House.

Sad, but true.

The grand ceremony of Santa Claus bringing the Christmas tree is at 10 a.m. When the tree arrives in front of Biltmore House, it will then be lifted off of the carriage with poles and carefully brought inside the house to the Banquet Hall.

Once it has been brought inside the house, it’s time for the Biltmore House tree raising! Around 40-45 Biltmore Estate workers start immediately raising the tree with ropes. Once it is secure in place, the Christmas tree is then strung with lights and ornaments.

woman standing on wooden floor with strings of Christmas lights and green tree in background

men on ladder hanging lights on Biltmore Christmas tree

See our video below for a behind-the-scenes look:

Guests are allowed to watch the Biltmore Estate Christmas tree decorating, but only a few at a time will have the privilege. As you can imagine, the Banquet Hall doesn’t have a lot of space when all of the workers, a fork lift and cleaning crews are in the room. There is a small area where guests can watch, but it fills up fast!

You will need a reservation to get into the house that morning. Be sure to get the first reservation of the morning to get a chance to get into the room to watch the Christmas tree being decorated.

poinsettias in garden room with glass ceiling at Biltmore House

The process of stringing lights and adding ornaments can take a majority of the day. So it’s hard to say at what precise time the tree will be done or the lights will be lit. If you are lucky enough to be there when it happens, you are lucky enough!

How Many Christmas Trees Are In the Biltmore House?

While the main Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall gets the most attention at Biltmore Estate, there are many more Christmas trees in the Biltmore House throughout the holidays.

In 2019, there are a total of 55 Christmas trees in the Biltmore House.

The theme of the Christmas decorations is the Gilded age with lots of reds and golds. The theme changes every year. Previous years have been inspired by the colors of the tapestries in the Biltmore House.

Did you know that there is more than one Christmas tree for the Banquet Hall each year? According to Rick Conrad, Biltmore Vice President Attraction Operations, two Christmas trees are used in the Biltmore House. The first is brought by Santa Claus in early November with a parade and lots of festivities.

The second Christmas tree is brought after hours in early December. The tree will be brought into the Banquet Hall in the middle of the night, decorated and ready to go for guests first thing in the morning.

The Biltmore Christmas tree has been grown at Andrews Tree Farm in Newland, NC for more than 30 years. The tree farm grows the Fraser firs to the Biltmore House specifications, which include a height of 35-40 feet with a smaller circumference so that they are more lightweight.

There are 40-45 people who help to pull the main tree up in the air, according to Conrad.

Did you know that North Carolina grows 26% of all Christmas trees in America? Be sure to check out the Christmas tree farms near Asheville and cut one for your own home.

Biltmore Estate Christmas tree raising

More Ways to Enjoy Biltmore Estate and Asheville, NC

There’s SO much to do at Asheville’s Biltmore Estate during the year. Plus, there’s more to do in Asheville than you could ever imagine!

Here’s some of our favorite ways to enjoy Biltmore Estate, Asheville and western North Carolina.

Susan Slavin

Friday 18th of September 2020

Is the tree delivering November 1, 2020 (Biltmore Christmas tree) We want to plan to visit at that time and hope to make reservations soon.

Kim Button

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Susan, I'm not sure what their plans are this year. And whether or not they will allow a crowd to watch.