Elvis had decorations custom made for Graceland

An Exclusive Look At Christmas With The King

(WMC-TV) - The holiday lighting of Graceland is a Memphis tradition that attracts millions of visitors to relive the spirit of Christmas through Elvis' eyes.

Recreating this winter wonderland each year is no small task.

"We actually start decorating for the holidays right after Halloween, said Kevin Kern of Elvis Presley Enterprises.

It takes about two weeks to deck the halls at Graceland inside and out and most of what you see has been carefully preserved since Elvis himself spent Christmas in Memphis.

From the metallic trees that line the mansion, to the larger than life nativity scene, Elvis had everything was custom made for Graceland.

"He wanted to be sure and have a larger than life manger on the grounds of the front lawn of Graceland and so this dates back to the 60s," Kern said in reference to the famous manger Graceland manger scene.

The scene takes two and a half days to assemble.

Elvis used a 'Merry Christmas' message as the backdrop for his family Christmas card in the 1950s, but that's just the beginning of the story.

Elvis' 'Merry Christmas to all' decoration recently returned to Graceland. Elvis only used it for a couple of years in the 50s and then it disappeared, but more recently Graceland staff discovered it in a stable on the grounds.

"Now it has a new life here at Graceland greeting our visitors here through the holidays," Kern said.

This year, American Idol contestant Skylar Laine debuted her new single at Graceland and had the honor of flipping the switch to illuminate the mansion.

"Elvis is gonna be forever," Laine said. "I love hearing his songs they're so much fun there's so much passion behind them you hear it in his voice so it's gonna be forever."

Christmas with The King just might go on forever.

His Christmas album recently reached diamond status, the highest honor for record sales an artist can receive.

Like the lights of Graceland, Elvis still shines in the hearts of millions during the holidays.

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