Award winning Southern recording artist, Kellie Pickler (co-host of CMT’s Pickler & Ben), is Co-Producing and starring in her first Hallmark Channel movie, Christmas at Graceland. Pickler plays business executive Laurel, who runs into her old flame Clay, played by Wes Brown, while on business in Memphis. The once-upon-a-time singing duo may be hitting a high note again in this romantic holiday comedy. Christmas at Graceland was shot on location at the Memphis, TN home of the King, himself, Elvis Presley. According to Hallmark, the film will include Elvis’ legendary music. If you’ve never been to Graceland, you should put it on your bucket list. I’ve been twice and you can feel Elvis’ presence in his home which has changed very little since he died over 40 years ago. This is the first feature film to be shot at Graceland and much of it in rooms that the public has never seen. So… snuggle in for the movie which premiers on Saturday, November 17, at 8/7 pm CST with a mug of hot chocolate and Elvis’ favorite grilled peanut butter banana sandwich.
We talked to Ashleigh Gallant with Elvis Presley Enterprises to learn a little more history about Elvis and his beloved Graceland…
SL: We are so excited for Kellie Pickler’s new Hallmark movie, Christmas at Graceland, and seeing Elvis’ home so beautifully decked out for the holidays. Do you decorate Graceland each Christmas?
AG: Christmas was Elvis’ favorite time of the year, it is still a very special time of the year here. We decorate with Elvis’ original decorations and kick-off the holiday season with an Annual Graceland Lighting Ceremony, which is scheduled for Nov. 15 this year.
SL: Besides seeing Graceland all lit up in twinkle lights and garland each Christmas, what is the most popular time of year to visit?
AG: Elvis Week in August has been the most popular time to visit in the past, but with the addition of the new entertainment and exhibition complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, we are hosting more and more events throughout the year.
SL: How many visitors come to Graceland each year?
AG: We average 600,000 visitors a year
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SL: What rooms are open to the public?
AG: All the spaces that were public when Elvis lived in the Mansion are now open for touring. There were several locations that he kept private, which remain private. Otherwise, guests on tours will be able to see his living room and music room, the famous Jungle Room, and of course the iconic TV room, plus many more.
SL: My favorite room at Graceland was the living room with the Jungle Room running a close second. What is the favorite room at Graceland?
AG: Every guest has their favorite or most cherished space at Graceland, I don’t know if there is just one!
SL: Have any of the rooms been touched/modified since Elvis’ death?
AG: All of the artifacts we have in storage, on display, or in the Mansion, are regularly maintained (cleaned or preserved). Elvis also often redecorated, so we have kept several of the rooms the way they were decorated in 1977 (including the Jungle Room), but several of the rooms Graceland opted to restore with the original decorations that Elvis maintained for the longest period of time. For example, the music room. The music room was recently restored to the way Elvis had decorated it when he bought the home in 1957 because we were able to reacquire the original piano he bought at that time. The White Knabe is an amazing artifact, so we wanted to have the room look like how it was when it was originally in that space
SL: Is there a fan favorite Christmas song?
AG: I don’t think there is a single fan favorite. However, Elvis’ first Christmas album is the best-selling Christmas album of all time in the United States.
If you’re planning a trip to Graceland this Christmas (or anytime), they have recently opened a AAA rated Four Diamond luxury hotel and resort. The Guest House at Graceland is located on the 300 hundred acre property and is within walking distance from the mansion.
Enjoy the movie!