Today, we’re spotlighting a beloved classic that has echoed through the ages: “Deck the Halls.” This carol is not just a melody; it’s a vibrant celebration of the holiday spirit. In this blog post, we’re delving into the rich history of the “Deck The Halls” Christmas carol along with the original lyrics and a printable version of both the lyrics and sheet music. Whether you’re at the piano on Christmas Eve with your family, out caroling with your Mom Group, or singing carols with your Boy Scout troop, you’ll have everything you need to share the joy of this classic carol.

What Does “Deck the Halls in Boughs of Holly” Mean

This phrase is steeped in tradition and symbolism, reflecting practices that date back to ancient times.

Deck the Halls: The word “deck” in this context means to decorate or adorn. “Halls” refers to the main rooms of a house or dwelling. So, “deck the halls” essentially means to decorate the living spaces.

Boughs of Holly: A “bough” is a large branch or limb of a tree. “Holly” is an evergreen plant known for its vibrant green leaves and bright red berries. In many Western cultures, holly is closely associated with Christmas and winter celebrations.

The phrase “deck the halls with boughs of holly” is an invitation to decorate one’s home with these festive branches as part of Christmas celebrations. The use of evergreen plants like holly as decoration during winter has roots in ancient solstice traditions, symbolizing life and growth amidst the cold, dormant winter months. Holly, in particular, was thought to have protective properties and was used in rituals and celebrations long before the advent of Christianity. Over time, these traditions were incorporated into Christmas celebrations, with holly becoming a symbol of the holiday season.

“Deck The Halls” History: Origins of a Classic Carol

The origins of this timeless classic date back to the 16th century, originating from a Welsh folk song “Nos Galan” which translates to “New Year’s Eve.

Fast forward to the 19th century, when the melody weaved its way into the Christmas tradition. The English lyrics were written in 1862 by Thomas Oliphant, a Scottish musician.

Oliphant transformed “Nos Galan” into “Deck the Hall,” infusing it with references to Yuletide and Christmas traditions. The “fa-la-la” chorus, a nod to the song’s Welsh roots, remained untouched, bridging the old with the new and creating a seamless blend of history and celebration. However, these lyrics would go through one more transformation before they embedded themselves into our modern-day Christmas Tradition. Here are the lyrics published in 1862:

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
‘Tis the season to be jolly:
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
Troul the ancient Christmas carol.

See the flowing bowl before us,
Strike the harp, and join in chorus:
Follow me in merry measure,
While I sing of beauty’s treasure.

Fast away the old year passes,
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses:
Laughing quaffing all together,
Heedless of the wind and weather.

The lyrics we sing today were published in the December 1877 issue of the Pennsylvania School Journal. The lyrics were updated to remove the reference to drinking mead along with a few other changes.

Sing Along: “Deck the Halls” Song Lyrics

[Verse 1]

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
‘Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troll the ancient Christmas carol,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

[Verse 2]

See the blazing yule before us,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Follow me in merry measure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
While I tell of Christmas treasure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

[Verse 3]

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Sing we joyous all together,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Caroling Companion: Words to “Deck the Halls” in a Printable PDF

Click Image to Print or Download PDF

Play Along: “Deck the Halls” Piano Sheet Music

For all the music enthusiasts out there, here’s your chance to spread the Christmas cheer with your own rendition of “Deck the Halls”! Learn to play “Deck the Halls” on your piano with the sheet music provided below.

You can also visit to get Silent Night Sheet Music that you can download and print for free.

The sheet music is available in a

  • Beginner Version
  • Simple Version
  • Intermediate Version
  • Advanced Version
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