With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is just around the corner. People everywhere have begun their holiday shopping, and if you’re hosting family and friends at your Asheville home this year, you might already be planning for their arrival. From cleaning and decorating the house to coming up with an itinerary for newcomers, there’s plenty to do when you’re hosting holiday guests, so we’ve put together this handy Asheville holiday host list to help you stay organized, and to give you a few suggestions of local vendors to check out for decorations and supplies.

First things first: the tree!

Where to Find a Real Tree in Asheville

If you’re looking for a Christmas tree to kick off your holiday decorating, now is certainly the time to shop. Many people buy their tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, so you’ll want to go soon if you’d like a live tree for your guests to enjoy this year. For a close, full-service experience, head to Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm. About 40 miles west of High Hickory and a short drive from downtown Asheville, this farm lets you pick whatever tree you like, and then they’ll cut it, bag it, and get it on your car for you.

This makes bringing home a Christmas tree easy, and the Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm is well known for having some of the very best Fraser Fir trees to choose from. Did you know Fraser Firs are a favorite holiday choice because of their soft needles and tall, traditional pine look?

Decorating your Asheville Home Safely

With your tree safely in its stand, you can really start decorating. If you’re hosting guests, you’ll want your home to feel cheery and welcoming, but you should also take care to decorate safely. Here are a few tips to make sure your home is safe for the holiday season, and so are your guests:

  • Keep the tree watered and away from the fireplace — If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure you set it up somewhere across the room from the fireplace. Since your tree has been chopped down, much like cut flowers, it will only live for so long. Make sure it has plenty of water, so it doesn’t dry out, and keep it away from the fireplace to avoid any fire hazards.
  • Opt for updated bulbs – There’s nothing quite as magical as driving up to a home that’s well-lit with beautiful lights during the holidays. Just make sure the lights you’re using are safe, and up to date. Always check for frayed wires before you put up your lights, and if you can, choose LED bulbs that don’t heat up.
  • Prep for Kids – If your holiday guests have kids, do your best to prep for the little ones too. Take care to use unbreakable ornaments, or at least keep breakables up higher on the tree. It’s also a good idea to skip any decorations that look like candy or food if you have kids coming over — little ones can’t always tell the difference.
  • Be Aware of Poinsettias – The quintessential holiday flower, poinsettias, look beautiful in an Asheville mountain home surrounded by a blanket of snow, but be aware, poinsettias are actually poisonous. If you have kids or pets coming over, you’ll want to move them out of the way, just to be safe.

If you’re in need of just a few more decorations to round out your Asheville home’s holiday look, be sure to check out the Folk Art Center. They have Holiday Maker Sales every December, and feature plenty of locally crafted holiday ornaments and decorations that can give your home that Asheville touch, or serve as the perfect local gift for your house guests.

Local Holiday Treats

If all of that decorating has you too worn out to bake, Asheville certainly has you covered. A well-known foodie town, local bakeries and restaurants pull out all the stops each year for patrons looking for seasonal goodies.

For traditional holiday treats like a gingerbread house kit and solstice-themed baked goods, visit the Old World Levain Bakery (also known as OWL). Less than 15 miles from High Hickory, OWL is even holding a special winter solstice open house on Dec. 21, where they’ll unveil their holiday Buche de Noel, so be sure to stock up then, before your guests arrive.

If a more refined holiday treat seems appropriate for upcoming dinner and cocktail parties, then the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in downtown Asheville has what you need. They always put out a holiday collection of flavors, and this year’s lineup will include classics like peppermint and gingerbread, as well as more far-out chocolate flavors like eggnog and fruitcake.

Show your Guests the Town!

With your home decorated and desserts taken care of, all you really have left to do is show your guests Asheville’s holiday charm. The city always has something going on during the holiday season, but for any guests new to the area, be sure to hit Asheville’s classic, the Biltmore Estate and Biltmore Village.

If you’ve already been to the Biltmore, another classic holiday outing is the North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights! Your guests are sure to be enchanted by this year’s Fire & Ice display. With more than 500,000 lights, each garden in the Arboretum features a different design, so be sure to fuel up with hot chocolate and s’more supplies before you hit the campfires in the garden, and explore the acres of well-lit gardens on display.

There’s nothing quite like an Asheville holiday season, so we hope you and your holiday guests enjoy the town and all the charm it has to offer! And if your guests fall in love with Asheville while they’re here, let them know about the sustainable mountain living community at High Hickory. Nestled peacefully in the mountains, and just minutes from downtown Asheville, High Hickory’s properties have something for everyone. Check out our gallery for a closer look at our sustainable community, or request more information online today. Happy holidays!