Elvis Presley famously loved Christmas. The icon used the holiday as a chance every year to spoil his nearest and dearest, hosting the festivities at his mansion, known as Graceland. The day would be filled with gifts, pranks, and decorations to the nines. Presley’s younger cousin Billy, who spent much of his time growing up at Graceland, reflects on the singer’s love for the holiday– and the year everything was covered in snow.
Billy was a teenager when Presley bought Graceland in 1957. According to him, Presley wasted no time and went all-out from the first year. Billy shares, “In 1957, he had it decorated, his first Christmas. I’d never seen anything like that. Christmas at Graceland was magical. To be 14 years old and see all this, was, golly, just an extraordinary feeling.”
Billy also looks back on the antics Presley and his family would get up to. “It was always a lot of fun. Most of the time we had certain routines, opening presents, get into our fireworks battles. Several times he tried to burn the office down or blow up my car or something,” said Billy.
Elvis Presley’s White Christmas Treat
Silly pranks and lavish gifts aside, the Presley family still found joy in the simple pleasures of Christmas. Billy shares details of one Graceland Christmas that was extra special. “I think one of my most memorable Christmases was in 1965, it was snowing to New Year’s Eve,” Billy said.
He continues, “They said it was 50 years since it had snowed on Xmas Eve and it was beautiful, golly. We watched it snow for a while and he [Elvis] told everybody, ‘Don’t go out on the lawn, I don’t want footprints out there!’ We walked down to the curb and looked at it. He said, ‘Man this is so pretty, don’t y’all think? I’ve always liked snow. I thought I got enough of it in Germany…’ Just the look on his face, he went to clowning around, he said, ‘See I told you all I could do it, make it snow at Christmas!’”
Known For His Graceland Generosity
It wasn’t long before everyone went back inside, though. Elvis Presley’s family Christmas was always filled with lavish gifts, once Presley found fame. One family member recalls his amazing generosity. “He gave us a Christmas bonus every year I can ever remember. He wanted to make sure everybody had enough to see to their families,” they said. “On top of that, he gave cars and different things. One time he gave me this beautiful yellow gold and diamond ring. It was beautiful. I could not take my eyes off it.”
It seems like Presley’s cousin Billy knows how to sum it all up. “You could never talk about Elvis’ generosity and not know that he was a giving man. He loved to give and see people’s reactions…Loved people. He gave from the heart. Regardless of what he gave, you couldn’t ask for a better present than that,” he says of the late singer.