When you think of the holidays, you may envision time spent with family and friends, wonderful food and festively decorated homes. Here in North Carolina, we are fortunate to have a place that epitomizes the elegance and the wonder of Christmas – Biltmore House.
Located in Asheville, N.C., Biltmore House was built by George Vanderbilt and officially opened to receive friends for Christmas Eve in 1895. Every year, Biltmore’s seven full-time floral designers and 14 members of its floral reserve team transform the home and grounds into an unforgettable yuletide vacation destination. Biltmore’s designers will weave this year’s theme – “A Gilded Age Christmas” – throughout every element created for the season, incorporating grand and elegant details that are rooted in authentic Vanderbilt Christmas stories. What can you learn from them to make your own holiday a grand affair?
- Get Gilded. Don’t be afraid to get opulent during the holidays. There’s no better time to embrace rich jewel tones, glittery golds and sparkling silvers than during this magical time of the year.
- Don’t skimp. At other times of the year, understated may be elegant, but the holidays are one time when going overboard is actually desired. At Biltmore, for example, there will be 65 trees in Biltmore House itself and 41 more throughout the surrounding grounds and buildings that work together to create the estate’s iconic Christmas look. So don’t worry that a second (or third) tree in your home may be “too much.”
- Select a theme. The diversity of décor in Biltmore works because it’s all united around a central theme. Although every tree is unique and catered to the colors, purpose and appearance of the room in which it is placed, they work together because they share a theme, this year “A Gilded Age Christmas.” In your home, each tree or area can be unique, as long as there is something that creates cohesion – either a general theme, color palette, or style.
- Indulge all your senses. Christmas is a tactile affair. Embrace the smell of a real Christmas tree, create an ambiance by playing your favorite playlist in the background, savor the tastes of the holidays, feel the textures of the season, and delight your eyes with beautiful decorations.
- Spice it up. Speaking of taste – don’t forget to add a seasonal twist to your favorite foods. Put some cranberries in the punch, add some red food coloring to their sugar cookies, put that candy cane in your hot cocoa.
- Don’t forget to enjoy! The best part of the holidays is spending time with family and friends – don’t forget to take the time to enjoy it.
And if you want to enjoy the holidays by seeing how other people decorate instead of doing it yourself, venture out to Christmas at Biltmore from Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, 2016. You can see the house and grounds all decked out for the holidays or enjoy Candlelight Christmas Evenings, where every room sparkles with lights for the only time of the year in which the estate is open for evening tours. Visit their website to buy tickets and for more details.