(WMC-TV) - Visiting Graceland during the holidays is a tradition for thousands of Mid-Southerners. People come from all over to see the lights, hear the music, and reflect on the memories… it is as if Elvis never left the building.
Elvis Presley loved Christmas and around the holidays, Graceland was transformed into a winter wonderland.
"It was a very festive home it was Elvis' favorite time of year," said Kevin Kern, 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 are 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, re-creating the past through old photographs and home movies.
"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," explained 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.
You would not find poinsettias on the staircase when Elvis lived here. But today, fans sponsor each plant. 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," added Kern.
The holiday traditions inside the mansion are just the beginning. Tune into Action News 5 at 10 p.m. for a look at what Graceland looks like from the outside during the Christmas season.
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