Elvis Presley and his “Memphis Mafia” knew how to have a good time. Case in point: their all-night Christmas Eve parties at Graceland. The King and his close group of friends were always living it up with lavish parties, for which Elvis would always foot the bill. And their annual all-night Christmas Eve celebrations were one of their biggest nights of the year.
Danny Smith, the son of Elvis’ cousin, Billy Smith, recently shared details of those extravagant soirées, and his stories shed light on what it was like to spend Christmas with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Elvis Presley’s Memphis Mafia was his closest circle of friends
The Memphis Mafia consisted of the musician’s closest pals, some of which were his family members, like Billy. The group would travel all over together during Elvis’ storied career and party all the time. Their antics often included games they made up themselves, like the expensive and dangerous “Whip,” which required Air Force jumpsuits and $15,000 worth of firecrackers, according to Celebrity Net Worth. They would also rent out the entire Libertyland amusement park just so Elvis could ride his favorite roller coaster.
Danny created a YouTube channel called “Memphis Mafia Kid” to describe what it was like growing up as part of the group, and one of his most recent videos describes Christmas at Graceland.
Elvis’ Graceland Christmas parties lasted for days
According to Danny, the Christmas Eve parties at Graceland would run until 8 a.m. on Christmas morning. And not only would the party go until the sun came up, but they also would start as early as Dec. 22.
“From about the 22nd on, for several days there we didn’t get much sleep,” he said. “It was wide open.”
While the adults were doing their thing, the kids at the parties loved to play tag throughout the house, running through the famous rooms of the mansion like the Jungle Room, the TV room filled with mirrors, and the pool room. Danny said those are some of his most cherished memories.
“During Christmas, we had so many good times!” he said. “Not just Christmas, but Christmas has just always been our favorite time.”
Unlike many families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Memphis Mafia holiday party didn’t include a sit-down dinner.
“Food was out in a lot of places around the house,” Danny explained. “It had everything. Ham, turkey, finger sandwiches, chips and dip, punch, Pepsis, desserts. Anything you want!”
Elvis would make a ‘magical’ entrance at the Christmas Eve parties
The King wouldn’t show up to the party until it was well underway, though. In true Elvis fashion, he always made a grand entrance.
“Elvis would be a while before he would come downstairs,” Danny said. “Of course that was one of the biggest thrills for everybody, especially for us, waiting for his arrival. It was like…unexplainable. It was just magical. Like I said, that was some of the funnest times we’ve had in our life.”
The Memphis Mafia didn’t stay at Graceland for all of Christmas Day, however. As Danny explained, once the all-night Christmas Eve party had concluded, people would start departing Graceland. Danny’s family would then head over to his maternal grandparents’ home. (His grandfather, Travis Smith, was Elvis’ uncle.)
Of course, Graceland is now a museum, thanks to Priscilla Presley, who transformed the home into a tourist attraction in order to turn Elvis’ estate from nearly broke to profitable. But Danny still celebrates the holiday by listening to Elvis’ Christmas music. He shared that people often ask him if he still listens to those albums.
“We sure do!” he said. “Pretty much all the month of December through January. Love our Christmas Elvis. It just puts us in the mood. Of course, we talk, and share stories, and think about Elvis, and always will.”
One thing’s for sure, Elvis’ Christmas Eve parties sound like a surefire way to avoid having a blue Christmas.