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Graceland Christmas

When as a young man I first explored Elvis Presley’s fabled estate, I was surprised to discover that Graceland is at once grand and surprisingly intimate. Elvis seemed to be an ordinary person with the same hopes and aspirations of anyone else.

That is the spirit of Graceland Christmas, my second portrayal of the famous Graceland mansion. Here we see Elvis gathering presents in his role as family Santa. As he unloads gifts from the famous pink Cadillac, we are captivated by the twinkling tree lights that suggest the magic of the season. Colorful Christmas trees line the drive and the amber sunset suggests a frosty evening ahead. The glow from the porch and windows reminds us that all families, even that of the King of Rock’n Roll, will join tonight to celebrate the season. I hope Graceland Christmas will be part of your Christmas celebration for many years to come.

  • Thomas Kinkade has included a total of three N’s in Graceland Christmas as a gesture of love for his wife Nanette.
  • Elvis Presley’s Graceland, a National Historic Landmark toured by over 600,000 annually, is one of America’s most visited historic homes and features a festive seasonal display and exhibit for visitors during the holidays each year.
  • As part of the tradition since Graceland opened for public tours in 1982, the annual holiday lights display at the mansion is turned on during a public lighting  ceremony at dusk on the day after Thanksgiving. This year, 2008, the ceremony is set to begin before Thanksgiving – on Friday November 21st – when Elvis’ traditional lights and decorations on the mansion property will come to life during a special lighting ceremony at the front gates of Graceland.
  • Beginning with his first Christmas at Graceland in 1957, Elvis had a Santa, sleigh and reindeer displayed on the front lawn with the message “Merry Christmas to All, Elvis” spelled out above it. A replica of the original sign is in use today. The  original was found in Graceland’s barn during spring cleaning several years ago and is currently in climate controlled storage for preservation purposes.
  • Giving a new meaning to Blue Christmas, Elvis himself made the decision to line the winding driveway of Graceland with hundreds of blue light bulbs. His father Vernon often joked that he was lucky if a plane didn’t try to land at Graceland, thinking it was an airport runway.
  • Throughout the Graceland mansion tour, various Christmas gifts are displayed for visitors to see including a set of bongo drums Priscilla Presley gave to Elvis, and Elvis’s beloved Bible given to him by the entourage known as the Memphis Mafia. Another rare artifact on display during the holidays is a portable television Elvis gave his mother Gladys in 1957.
  • The life size nativity scene displayed on Graceland’s front lawn along with several aluminum trees that line the front of the house were first used by Elvis starting in the early 1960’s and remain in use today. The interior of the Graceland mansion is normally decked in Elvis’s Christmas décor for the holiday season and includes Presley family Christmas artifacts on display around the decorated trees.
  • Starting in the 60’s, Elvis decided to have the draperies in the front rooms of the Graceland Mansion switched from the traditional blue to a festive red for the holidays. Members of the Presley family routinely sneak back to Graceland each year for a private celebration during the holiday season where they exchange gifts in the Jungle Room and enjoy a southern style home cooked meal in the formal dinning room.
Title Graceland Christmas
Published October 2008
Subject Location Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee

Image Sizes

12" x 18"
18" x 27"
24" x 36"
28" x 42"

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