Merry Mail: Elvis’ Christmas Cards from Celebrities

Imagine making a list of your Christmas card recipients, and one of the people on that list is none other than Elvis Presley. Plenty of celebrities and entertainers sent cards to Elvis and his family during the holiday season. Some cards included personalized notes, but some didn’t. Some included family portraits. Some were funny; some were sacred. Elvis kept these special cards, and sent some out himself, which often included happy holiday wishes from  his manager, Col. Tom Parker. The Colonel was fond of sending telegrams to wish stars a happy holiday or happy birthday, as well as wishing them a good opening night on a performance. He often signed such messages from himself and Elvis, but he also sent Elvis a “Happy Thanksgiving” message one year. (Click the photos to enlarge.) Elvis received a sweet card from actress Jayne Mansfield, her husband Matt Cimber and her four children. Another card with a family portrait is this gem from the Nelson family, sent at Christmas 1967. It’s from Rick Nelson and his wife Kris, and their (at the time) three children, Tracy and twins Matthew and Gunnar. Elvis also received this card from his drummer, DJ Fontana, and his family. Comedian George Burns wanted to wish a happy holidays in many languages. Singer Sammy Davis Jr. sent Elvis a beautiful spiritual scene. Some celebrities couldn’t resist a laugh, even at the holidays. Bob Hope and Sophie Tucker’s cards surely made Elvis smile. As the year rounded out, Elvis didn’t just receive holiday mail, but also Happy New Year cards and messages. Here’s a telegram to the Colonel from “Casablanca” director Michael...
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Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans 2014

Ready or not, the holiday season is here. If you’re shopping for the Elvis fan in your life (or for yourself), never fear – here are the Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans. From CDs and DVDs, from jewelry to collectibles, Shop.Graceland.com has it all. You’ll keep your Elvis-loving friends and family from having a – pun intended – “Blue Christmas.”   1) 2014 Elvis Presley On Stage CD – $19.99 It all comes back to that incredible voice and those fan-favorite songs. In spring 2014, Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises presented a new tour, “Elvis Presley – On Stage,” which performed in 35 European cities. Through the seamless combination of a live band, singers and orchestra with the iconic voice and video imagery of Elvis, the result was an immersive stage performance that demonstrated why Elvis was the greatest entertainer of the 20th century – and beyond. This two-disc, 32-track CD features songs performed on the “Elvis Presley – On Stage”  tour. Tracks include “Hound Dog,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “The Wonder of You,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” “In the Ghetto and “How Great Thou Art.” Elvis’ gift to the world was his music, and you can pass this gift along to the Elvis fan in your life. See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   2) Christine Alexander Women’s Spa Jacket- $145 The amazing detail and craftsmanship make this upscale jacket a true show-stopper. The “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii” image on the back of the blended hoodie is made of clear and hermatite Swarovski crystals and metallic tone embellishments. Elvis’ American Eagle jumpsuit is garnished with red rim-set crystals, and his iconic signature on the front of the jacket  is applied in the same crystal treatment as the back image.  Prepare to be stopped on the street and asked where you bought this fashionable piece: Only at Graceland! See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   3) Lowell Hays Gold Plated TCB Necklace – $60 Now you too can feel like one of Elvis’ VIP with this classic, must-have TCB necklace. Elvis and Priscilla originally designed the TCB and TLC necklaces given to Elvis’ friends. In 1971, Elvis flew Lowell Hayes to Las Vegas to perfect the designs. He did, and from that time on Lowell made all of the necklaces for Elvis. These necklaces are made from the original mold layered in warm 18K gold and 24” rope chain. How...
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Giving Back

Many folks have given thanks for Elvis Presley’s generosity. Not many people realize what a generous and giving legacy Elvis left behind. Not only did he give the world his time and talent, he also gave back to those in need. He donated thousands to charities, nonprofits and those who needed a helping hand. Elvis started giving back as soon as his career began, and this was a trend that continued throughout the rest of his life. Early in his career, he donated toys to a Marine drive for children and gave $1,050 to Humes High School so that all 1,400 students could go to the annual E.H. Crump Memorial Football Game for the Blind. In 1959, he donated blood at the Wartturm Barracks in Friedberg for the German Red Cross. Never one to forget his roots, Elvis performed in his hometown, Tupelo, in 1956 and 1957 to raise money for a youth center and park. Following a devastating tornado in McComb, Mississippi in January 1975, Elvis performed a benefit concert for the city in May of the same year. At the show, Elvis presented a check for more than $100,000 to Mississippi Governor Bill Waller. In 1961, he performed a concert to build the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and raised more than $65,000. And 12 years later,  Elvis donated the proceeds from his 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” satellite-concert to the Kui Lee cancer fund. He loved Memphis and wanted the best for the city. On Dec. 1, 1967, he pledged $10,500 to the Memphis Jewish Community Center Building Fund and paid a $2,500 installment on that date. On Dec. 12, 1966, he donated checks totaling $105,000 to various Memphis charities. September 29, 1967 was declared “Elvis Presley Day” by Memphis Mayor William Ingram and Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington in recognition of the King’s many charitable contributions. A massive wooden plaque was given to Elvis by the City of Memphis in recognition for his contributions to more than 50 local charities. That plaque, along with numerous checks he wrote to charities, are on display at Graceland. Elvis was known to give plenty of gifts – there are countless stories of surprising friends, family and even total strangers with brand new cars – but he also helped his friends pay their medical bills (and often sent personal get-well notes, too). In 1974, he contributed to a fund for singer-songwriter Ivory...
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Preparing for ‘Elvis at The O2’ Exhibit

It takes a lot of thought and care to create an exhibit as extensive as “Elvis at The O2.” “Elvis at The O2: The Exhibition of His Life” is the largest Elvis retrospective in Europe, and it’ll open in London on Dec. 12. The nine-month exhibit will showcase more than 300 artifacts from the Presley Family’s Graceland Archives, some of which have never been exhibited outside of Graceland in Memphis. “Elvis at The O2” chronicles the rise of the rock ‘n’ roll icon and how Elvis impacted pop culture around the world through his music, movies and personal style. Angie Marchese, Graceland’s director of archives, decided to start at the beginning of Elvis’ story. “First you develop a story line. We met with several design firms, told them what we were looking for and how we want to best represent Elvis. Our goal is to have an immersive exhibit one that really grabs the guest and draws them into the story. So we picked out artifacts that helped tell that story – pieces that really had meaning. We want the visitor to get not only Elvis the entertainer, but to see Elvis the son, the father, the friend. We want the visitor to really understand who he was and why he is still so relevant today,” she said. To tell the story about the King, you also have to tell the story of the King’s castle. “We wanted to give the guest at The O2 an authentic Graceland experience and leave them wanting to learn and see more,” she said. Some of Marchese’s favorite pieces are in The O2 exhibition. “They are so personal,” she said, “like Elvis’ 1st grade crayon box, his graduation program and tassel, a dress of Gladys’, his wallet with photos of Lisa in it. These are things that really showcase Elvis the man.” Her favorite part of The O2 experience so far? “The best part is getting to pick out all of the amazing photos we will feature in the exhibit, editing together the video content to help bring each area to life and putting together the closing concert experience.” The first collection of artifacts is almost packed now, and soon everything will be ready for Dec. 12. “All of the artifacts have had the conditioning reports done, the images have been taken and they have been prepped for display,” she said. “Now it...
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