Christmas at BiltmoreBiltmore Candlelight Christmas EveningsChristmas at Biltmore begins Nov. 2, 2013, and runs through Jan. 12, 2014. Candlelight Christmas Evenings, offering evening candlelight tours of Biltmore House, take place Nov. 9, 2013, through Jan. 4, 2014.The celebration goes back 118 years to Christmas Eve 1895 when George Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House for the first time to his friends and family. In subsequent years, he and his wife Edith welcomed family, friends and the estate’s employees and their families into the Banquet Hall for the annual Christmas party.Biltmore’s modern-day Christmas celebration is modeled on that first Christmas, with an elaborately decorated, 35-foot tall Fraser fir dominating the Banquet Hall. Avid Biltmore fans know to mark their calendars for early November for the raising of the Banquet Hall tree. Santa Claus ushers in the giant Fraser fir on a horse-drawn carriage. When the magnificent tree has been hoisted into its place of honor, cheers and claps resound throughout the Hall.Exquisite decorationsGuests who visit during the holidays will see 56 trees throughout Biltmore House, each intricately designed and decorated by members of Biltmore’s floral team. Miles of fresh garland and wreaths create a yuletide scent throughout the House, with masses of some 1,000 red and white poinsettias in the Winter Garden and other areas.Candlelight Christmas EveningsExplore Biltmore House during Candlelight Christmas Evenings when candles and fireplaces fill the grand home with a warm glow, delicate ornaments shine and sparkle, and music warms the heart. Luminarias dot the Front Lawn of Biltmore House and thousands of tiny white lights adorn the Front Lawn’s 55-foot tall Norway spruce. Inside the House, soloists and choirs perform traditional Christmas music. In addition to the Biltmore House, guests may also visit Antler Hill Village when they attend Candlelight Christmas Evenings.Additional seasonal delightsOther festivities around the estate during the holiday season include free holiday craft seminars at A Gardener’s Place in the Conservatory, visits with Santa in Antler Hill Village, and the release of Biltmore’s special Christmas wine.In Antler Hill Village, Santa will visit with children and families from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 9 through Dec. 22, and also on Friday, Nov. 29. Antler Hill Village links to the Winery, where visitors may take guided tours, enjoy free wine tastings and purchase wines from Biltmore’s diverse portfolio. Special wine seminars are also available.Biltmore’s floral arranging and gardening experts will conduct free, daily seminars at A Gardener’s Place retail gift shop from Oct. 28 through Jan. 12. Seminars are “Caring for Christmas Plants,” 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and “Decorating with Christmas Wreaths,” 1 and 3 p.m.Holiday dining and lodging on the estateSpecial holiday menus at estate restaurants and holiday packages at the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate complete the experience and promise a memorable visit. Guests can enjoy a festive meal at Bistro, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Café, Cedric’s Tavern or The Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate. For guests looking to extend their stay at Biltmore, the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate offers several packages for holidays, including special New Year’s Eve packages. Biltmore’s retail shops are perfect for holiday gift shopping. Other activities include taking a horse and carriage ride and exploring acres of landscaped gardens.