CHRISTMAS DAY WITH ELVIS
Christmas is spent with Gladys, Vernon and family
at home. It's becoming clear that there is much to celebrate. He has become
the most popular regular performer on the Louisiana
Hayride Saturday night radio show and has been touring constantly.
Elvis is basking in the success of his recent move
to RCA Victor. They have re-released his Sun
singles under heavy promotion.
The Presleys spend Christmas at the house on Audubon
Drive with a few friends, including a Vegas showgirl named Dottie Harmony
and several members of the fledgling Memphis Mafia. Red West, on leave
from the Marines, joins the crew in a game of touch football.
The Presley had recently moved into their dream home
- Graceland. Last week's receipt of a formal notification into the
United States Army weighs heavily on everyone's mind as it will bring about
a major disruption in Elvis' career and normal lifestyle. Elvis tried to
act as if nothing unusual was about to happen but had moments of depression.
He bought a huge white Christmas tree and decorated it with hundreds of
lights and bright red ornaments. He also bought thousands of dollars of
fireworks to shoot off on Christmas Eve. He gave each of his employees
a $1,000 bill and bought hundreds of presents for his family and friends.
Elvis' Christmas Album, released in November,
is a hit.
Elvis is home on a three-day pass. The family spends
a low-key Christmas, probably because the death of his mother still rests
heavily on Elvis' heart.
Elvis throws a lavish party and Vernon and the regulars
attend, along with Priscila, who is the centre of attention. Elvis gives
her a watch made of solid gold and studded with diamonds. Army Sergeant
Bill Stanley (a veteran of World War II and the Korean War) and Dee Stanley
are also present. Vernon has become good friends with the Stanleys, particularly
Dee, and spends a great deal of time with them.
During this quiet Christmas at Graceland, Elvis is
clearly falling for 15-year-old Priscilla. He keeps asking the boys if
she is OK, and they say she is: charming, mature for her age and fun to
have around. Her original two-week stay turns into almost a month and she
will reluctantly return to Germany in January.
Elvis has to spend Christmas in LA to re-shoot portions
of Kid Galahad, which finally wraps in January. With the exception
of his hitch in Germany, it's the only time he hasn't been in Memphis for
the holidays. It will not happen again. The trades announce that four of
his singles topped the charts in 1961: Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Flaming
Star, Little Sister,
Elvis and Priscilla celebrate her first real Christmas
at Graceland. The King assembles family and friends in the dining room
and presents her with a diamond ring. His intentions are clear, but it
will be four years before wedding bells chime.
Elvis spends a quiet Christmas at Graceland with family
and friends and the year ends with a bash at a local nightspot called the
Manhattan Club on New Year's Eve.
Elvis celebrates Christmas at Graceland with the King
tapped as "Best Male Singer" by American Bandstand for the eighth year
in a row, having withstood the British invasion of The Beatles.
It becomes clear that Elvis' favourite Christmas present
is a miniature racing set from Priscilla. He and members of the Mafia spend
hours racing the tiny cars in the den at Graceland. His fascination will
grow along with the size of the track until the complex fills most of the
room, and eventually a Trophy Room will be added to house the expanded
track. It's been a good year with earnings of $5.5 million.
Elvis announces engagement to Priscilla in front of
family and friends, presenting her with a large diamond engagement ring.
The crowds are so huge at the gates of Graceland that they could be heard
from the house.
Priscilla is eight months pregnant and the Presleys
are in a stay-at-home mood, and Christmas is a quiet affair. No fireworks
or hot-rodding around town. Elvis is finished with making movies and is
itching to get back on the road with live performances.
Christmas is lavish since it's little Lisa's first.
Vernon dons a Santa suit and entertains his granddaughter.
Lisa Marie is the centre of attention during Christmas
at Graceland and Vernon does a reprise as Santa. The Colonel had a knack
for turning any occasion into a publicity stunt, even Christmas. The traditional
Presley/Parker Christmas card was Parker in a Santa suit posing with an
Elvis has just flown back to Graceland after a meeting
with President Nixon at the Whitehouse where Nixon presented him with a
federal narcotics agent badge and ID. He later flies back to Washington
to visit the FBI headquarters.
Things are tense at Graceland. He spends time doing
the usual things -- movies, roller-skating, horseback riding -- but there's
a strain between him and Priscilla. The touring and performing in Vegas
are taking a toll. Priscilla gets $10,000 in cash because she didn't want
The family gathers for the usual festivities. Linda
Thompson, who is all but living at Graceland, is there as well, and Elvis
gives her a mink coat. Elvis is not in a good mood, but does his best to
keep up a good front for Lisa Marie.
Christmas at Graceland is a dreary affair this year.
The day passes almost unnoticed and presents sit unopened . Elvis is depressed
and spends days in his bedroom.
Elvis has given his usual donations to local charities
but it's a very quiet Christmas at Graceland. It's rumoured that Elvis
tried unsuccessfully to talk Priscilla into spending it with him and the
rest of the family. Elvis earned close to $7.3 million in 1974.
Elvis returns from Vegas to spend a quiet and relaxed
Christmas at Graceland with Linda and friends.
Vernon has been in the hospital with chest pains.
Elvis had bought Ginger a Lincoln Mark V. He gives Lisa Marie a golf cart
of her own to drive around the Graceland grounds. Prepares for a 5-concert
tour starting in two days. This was to be Elvis' last Christmas.
Ref: The Elvis Encyclopedia