Elvis Presley’s Graceland Christmas: The King’s cousins on his ‘unforgettable generosity’
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Elvis Presley celebrated Christmas at Graceland with the Memphis Memphis and their families over the years. And now The King’s cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo have shared their memories of what it was like to spend Christmas with the star. In an unearthed interview, the couple started off by describing the festive decorations all over the mansion.
Billy said: “Golly. it was almost like living in a fantasy world. Elvis always liked the decorating of the place.”
As you entered Graceland the dining room would have a big white tree with red Christmas baubles and lots of presents around it.
While every room in Elvis’ mansion would have a Christmas tree and food would be sitting everywhere for the Memphis Mafia and their families to help themselves.
His wife Jo said: “Inside Graceland was like a wonderland, but it wasn’t a formal thing. It was never formal, it was just casual…everybody sitting around talking.”
Jo Smith, who was speaking on her son Danny’s Memphis Mafia Kid YouTube channel continued: “He wanted to make sure everybody had a good time, everybody was comfortable, all the guys [and] their wives.”
Meanwhile, the Memphis Mafia’s children were free to just run all through the house.
And when it came to present giving, Billy said: “His generosity spoke for itself.”
The King would hand out jewellery, fur coats, cars and always money to his inner circle.
Jo added: “Everybody got a Christmas bonus because he wanted to make sure everybody’s family had Christmas.
“He was like that all year long, but at Christmas, it was just special. It’s unforgettable”
While Graceland is now a museum open to the public, the Memphis mansion is still decorated each year just as The King had it 50 years ago.
In an official new video, Elvis historian Angie Marchese said: “Elvis loved Christmas. It was always such a magical time of year here at his beloved home here in Memphis.”
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The Graceland archivist continued: “Each year the Graceland staff continues Elvis’ same holiday traditions, such as changing the drapes from blue to red.
“Putting up Christmas trees in almost every room and even using the same lawn ornaments to decorate the outside of the mansion.”
Interestingly, The King kept the Graceland Christmas decorations up beyond Twelfth Night.
Angie revealed that Elvis would leave them up until his birthday on January 8, so just a few days after the traditional date of taking them down.
Graceland is putting on special Christmas tours throughout the festive season this year.
A statement by Elvis’ home reads: “This year, guests visiting Graceland on December 1-20, can enjoy special Graceland Christmas tours daily from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
“Our Graceland Christmas tours will feature live tour guides throughout Graceland mansion sharing stories about what it was like to spend Christmas at Graceland with Elvis, and guests will be surrounded by the beauty of Elvis’ traditional holiday decorations, both inside and outside Graceland mansion.
“In addition, the Graceland mansion tour will feature special holiday displays direct from the Graceland Archives.”
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