We must preface this blog post by saying that it is in our humble opinion that George Washington Vanderbilt would have been proud of how in this pandemic year the latter generations of the Vanderbilt family and close trusted staff members maintained the Biltmore Estate during Christmas.
Christmas at the Biltmore Estate is more than just a tradition; somehow, through osmosis, the spirit of yore is captured. It’s evident in all of the details. The planning of the Biltmore Estate Christmas starts in January and culminates in October. The crew will start with the theme and how it can be incorporated historically into the home. When all is done, the 8000-acre estate in Asheville, North Carolina will shine gloriously with the spirit of Christmas.
The design crew creates mood boards for each room in the home and holds creativity sessions, and through those, they exchange ideas. When their ideas are ready to be unveiled, they don’t disappoint. Every inch of the estate is blessed with the Christmas spirit through ornaments and lights. This year, they are celebrating 125 years of evergreen tradition.
In 1895, Vanderbilt opened his home to family and friends with this gala event. This year, it is that spirit that is celebrated. They replicated this tradition by using natural elements that would have been used in that first Biltmore Estate Christmas, along with the colors of red, green, and gold.
The banquet hall is a very special place, as it will display the beautiful 35’ Fraser fir specially grown for the Biltmore at the family’s farm in Avery County as the guest of honor. She will be adorned with 500 lights and 500 ornaments. This will be her night to shine.
As a special guest of honor, the Christmas tree is carefully stretched out; both its fragility and massive strength are unveiled. The 35-40 people in the crew walk the same steps that were walked back 125 years ago when George Vanderbilt opened his home to family and friends for the first Biltmore Estate Christmas in 1895. Slowly, the tree is raised, and once it is fully positioned, it is emotional for those involved. The raising of the Christmas tree is awe-spiring in its symbolic nature.
The festivities are quite a spectacle, and although are somewhat restricted for this year of COVID, it is still beautiful and a true testament to the hard work and dedication of both the Vanderbilt family members and are very involved in the day-to-day operations, as well as the 2400 loyal employees, many of whom have been on staff for 35-40 years. Perhaps the Biltmore Estate Christmas, although a business event, is a true demonstration that family unity, loyalty, and the Christmas spirit still exist.
From the Factory Floor
Detail with the ADG Advantage…
by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting