Elvis Presley: Priscilla and Lisa Marie discuss singer in 2012
Lisa Marie spent her first ever Xmas at the Memphis mansion as a toddler, being lavished with presents from her famous father and mother, Priscilla. Her grandfather dressed as Santa and the whole house was decked out in spectacular decorations. Scroll down to watch footage of that fabulous first family holiday and hear about how she still carries on the Presley Christmas tradition.
Priscilla described how much Elvis always loved Christmas: “It was his favourite time of year. He was like a kid. He loved to pick out gifts. He would tell the jeweller to bring over pieces. He loved giving.”
But she admitted that the arrival of Lisa Marie made it all even more magical.
Priscilla said: “It was beautiful. You have a child celebrate Xmas with you you want shower them with gifts and that what we did. The tree was filled with gifts for her.”
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH A TOUR OF GRACELAND AT XMAS WITH FOOTAGE OF LISA MARIE’S FIRST CHRISTMAS
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In fact there were two trees – the huge white one covered in red and gold baubles in the living room, and the green tree draped in tinsel and decorations in the dining room.
Priscilla has spoken fondly of her frustration with her husband who would scrunch up the tinsel into balls and throw them at the tree.
Angie Marchese, Director of Archives at Graceland, said: “If you thought Christmas at Graceland was special before Lisa Marie was born, can you imagine what it was like the Christmas of 1968?
“Lisa is a toddler running around the house. Santa is visiting for the first time. In fact, Vernon dressed up as Santa this year.”
The extraordinary museum at Graceland even has Lisa Marie’s very first presents.
Angie revealed: “Elvis, Priscilla and the guys go all out that year, making Christmas so special. One of the things we still have in the archives today is a little toy that Lisa got for her first Christmas.”
It is a pretty plastic dome containing a mini hot air balloon. Angie also shows Lisa Marie’s recently rediscovered Christmas stocking, beautifully decorated with her name and seasonal images. It is too fragile to be on permanent display to visitors.
Priscilla has described Lisa Maries’s delight with it all although she was a little confused about the mysterious man in red with the big white beard.
She said: “My father in law would dress as Santa. My daughter would look at him trying to figure out who was holding her… Just like any other typical American family.”
Over the years, Elvis’ gifts to his daughter would become increasingly extravagant.
On The King’s very last Christmas in 1976, he gave Lisa Marie her own golf cart. Her parents had already separated in 1972 and she split her time between their homes, even when Priscilla moved to LA.
Lisa Marie has spoken of how her night owl father would sometimes wake her up in the early hours and the two of them would tear around the grounds of Graceland, even occasionally crashing through fences which would be immediately repaired the next day.
After Elvis’s death, Graceland was inherited jointly by Lisa Marie, who was only nine at the time, her grandfather Vernon and her great-grandmother Minnie Mae.
Lisa Marie became the sole heir after Vernon died in 1979, followed by Minnie Mae in 1980.
Although the house is now a major public attraction, Lisa Marie still has full access and often brings friends and her own family over for holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The kitchen, dining room and family rooms will all be used. Lisa Marie is also one of only two people (with her mother) who have unlimited access to the bedrooms upstairs at Graceland, which are not part of the public tours.
Angie Marchese says: “Christmas at Graceland for Lisa is always a very special time of the year. In fact, today she still brings her family here to celebrate the holidays. Graceland is a very special place not only for fans but also for Lisa. It’s home to her.”
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