Ev­ery Christ­mas, the house is ex­trav­a­gantly dressed for the sea­son.

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in the Bach­e­lors’ Wing—the lat­ter only opens once a week for the rest of the year. So a new route through the house is cre­ated, beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated with sparkling dec­o­ra­tions based on the theme for that year.

En­ter the house and you be­gin in the East Gallery, which this year will have dec­o­ra­tions re­lated to Venice and the tra­di­tions of Carnevale, in­clud­ing glo­ri­ous paint­ings of the city by Guardi.

The East Gallery is best known for its clock­work ele­phant, a French mu­si­cal au­tom­a­ton dat­ing to 1774, which can play four tunes while the ele­phant flaps its ears, wags its tail and moves its trunk. Fig­ures around it move too. On ei­ther side of the ele­phant stand two large Christ­mas trees, each beau­ti­fully dressed for the sea­son. This year they’ll be hung with Har­lequin styled baubles.

Con­tinue into the Red Ante Room, which for Christ­mas 2018, will fea­ture char­ac­ters from late 18th-cen­tury theatre, with a the­atri­cal-styled tree and fancy dress.

As­cend the spiral stair­case to the White Draw­ing Room, which was used as a sit­ting room dur­ing World War II. To­day it’s dressed as a din­ing room. The neo­clas­si­cal pan­el­ing dates to the 1770s and came from a house in Lyon, France.

For Christ­mas, the White Draw­ing Room will be dec­o­rated to re­flect the tra­di­tion of mas­quer­ade balls and fes­tiv­i­ties at the French Royal Court. There will be cut-outs, sil­hou­ettes and pa­per folded ta­ble dec­o­ra­tions, as well as a sil­ver din­ner ser­vice made for King Ge­orge III.

Nearby, the Blue Din­ing Room Frosted is best dec­o­ra­tions known and for muted its color glassware and ta­ble linen were used to re­mark­able chan­de­lier, made of bro­ken crock­ery, and mir­ror the pale striped wall­pa­per. com­mis­sioned for the room in 2003. The chan­de­lier was

de­signed by Ingo Mau­rer and it’s called ‘Porca Mis­e­ria,’ the po­lite trans­la­tion of which is ‘Oh My Good­ness’ in Ital­ian.

The pan­el­ing in the Blue Din­ing Room was cre­ated for a Paris town house in the 1750s; the pan­els have been painted to match the orig­i­nal blue color scheme in that house. Ev­ery year for Christ­mas, there’s a gar­land over the fire­place, a mix of dif­fer­ent baubles on the tree, and the ta­ble is laid for a Christ­mas meal.

As­cend the spiral stair­case again, to the Ar­mory Cor­ri­dor where ar­mor hang­ing on the walls in­cludes 16th-cen­tury weapons made for Charles I of Spain. For Christ­mas 2018, the Ar­mory Cor­ri­dor will be dressed in a fire­works theme. The dec­o­ra­tions on the tree will be in­spired by col­or­ful fire­works, ex­plo­sions and gun­pow­der.

The chest of draw­ers in the Ar­mory Cor­ri­dor was made by the Ital­ian crafts­man Pietro

The East Gallery boasts Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions in a theme of Lights and Leg­ends. Dec­o­ra­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the sun, the moon and the stars adorn the Christ­mas trees.

In 2017, the East Gallery dressed for Christ­mas with a theme of En­chanted Menagerie. The trees were dec­o­rated with red baubles and twin­kling lights, ac­com­pa­nied by gold and sil­ver ele­phants.

The Smok­ing Room stands dressed for Christ­mas in 2016 when the theme was Mag­i­cal Ma­te­ri­als. There was a Sil­ver and Gold theme in this room, which held Baron Fer­di­nand’s most prized items. Over 350 gold and sil­ver dec­o­ra­tions adorned this tree. The gold half is al­most ob­scured from view.

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