Just like most of us, Elvis Presley loved Christmas and The King wouldn’t hold back on decorating his Graceland mansion, with the lights and Christmas trees staying up until his birthday on January 8. The late star’s tradition would be to host his inner circle, the Memphis Mafia, at the house on Christmas Eve for an incredible all-night party.
One of the lucky few to be invited was Danny Smith, the son of Elvis’ cousin Billy, who is the last surviving original Memphis Mafia member. The childhood friend of Lisa Marie Presley has previously shared his amazing experiences of Christmas at Graceland on his YouTube channel, Memphis Mafia Kid.
In one video, he said: “Elvis loved Christmas and wanted to make sure that Graceland was lit up and decorated beautifully.” He shared how his heart would be racing and said: “It’s something you just can’t get out of your mind, it was beautiful.”
On Christmas Eve, the Memphis Mafia would arrive at Graceland where lots of festive food had been laid out around the mansion for them to enjoy. But the big moment would be when Elvis came downstairs to greet everyone, with Danny saying he would get chills in anticipation. The King and the other adults would then socialise in the Jungle Room or upstairs in his bedroom.
Meanwhile, Danny, Lisa Marie and the other Memphis Mafia kids were free to run around Graceland playing all sorts of games from hide and seek to chucking an American football around.
As for Elvis’ last Christmas at Graceland in 1976, Danny shared how the party did indeed go on well into the morning of Christmas Day. By the end, most of the Memphis Mafia had gone home to bed except for his parents Billy and Jo, along with The King’s father Vernon and his girlfriend Sandi Miller. They would be hanging out upstairs in Elvis’ bedroom, which to this day is preserved just as he left it, when he died up there in 1977.
Since the adults were still up there, Danny shared how he, Lisa Marie and the other children would continue to laugh and play downstairs and even help themselves to some leftover punch. That Christmas, Elvis gave his daughter her very own golf cart.
The King famously had a fleet of these at Graceland and Lisa Marie would actually end up taking the blame for crashing hers not long after receiving it as a gift.
Lisa Marie still sees Christmas at Graceland as a very special time of year and brings her family to celebrate during the holidays. The mansion may be a touring museum, but it’s still home to Elvis’ daughter who enjoys family dinners there sometimes.
When she’s visiting, her china is brought out for serving and the 1970s kitchen appliances are switched on. The family eat in the dining room by the front door with an extra table is added so there’s enough space for everyone.