A behind-the-scenes look at Graceland during the holidays

A behind-the-scenes look at Graceland during the holidays
(WMC-TV) - Visiting Graceland during the holidays is a tradition for thousands of Mid-Southerners.

The lights, the music, the memories - it's as if Elvis never left the building!

Elvis Presley loved Christmas and at holiday time Graceland was transformed into a winter wonderland.

"It was a very festive home, it was Elvis' favorite time of year," said Kevin Kern of Elvis Presley Enterprises. 

Each year since Graceland opened to the public, Christmas at Graceland has been re-created for visitors around the globe.

"We have about two weeks to get things in top shape and ready to welcome in the Christmas season here at Graceland," said Kern.

The window treatments go from blue to red with the original custom drapes created for the king. 

The rest of the year they're carefully wrapped in acid free tissue paper and stored in acid free boxes.

Because the preservation of these keepsakes is so precious, Graceland archivists do the decorating, recreating the past through old photographs and home movies.

Images that are very rare.

"Because when Elvis was at home he wanted to be at home he didn't want to be on camera be it photograph or home movie film," said Kern.

Private time meant sitting down for festive meals in the dining room where the tree is still adorned with original ornaments. 

"Table is set as if the Presley family is about to sit down to a holiday meal," said Kern.

The Presley family still comes home for Christmas from time to time. 

That's Lisa Marie at the head of the dining room table.

You wouldn't find poinsettias on the staircase when Elvis lived here.

Today fans sponsor each plant and this year proceeds benefit the National Hemophilia Foundation.

"The Hemophilia foundation is one of the many charities that Elvis supported over the years," said Kern. 

Visitors can relive Christmas with the king for about six weeks each year. 

"All of the Christmas decorations at Graceland go up just before Thanksgiving and stay up through Elvis's birthday which was part of tradition," said Kern.

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

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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