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Deck the Halls History and Lyrics

Deck the Halls is one of the best known secular holiday songs. It conveys the significance of merriment, fellowship and social events that characterize the holiday season. The melody is believed to be based on an old Welsh tune from the 1700s and made popular by a violin and piano duet by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Like many popular holiday songs, the origins of the lyrics are cloudy. The first know written version of the song appeared in Franklin Square Song Collection edited by J.P. McCaskey.

The more popular lyrics paint a picture of a merry gathering in a hall that has been decorated in seasonal greenery and people are dressed in their finest garb. The room is warmed by a blazing fireplace with a harpist providing a background to which the people rejoice in the season merriment.

The alternate lyrics found below convey a different picture. It's a cold scene without the merriment. It places the setting at Mt. Snowdon in Wales and offers blessings to those who isolate themselves during the holiday season without appreciation of the beauty surrounding them.

Popular Lyrics
Deck the halls 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-la.
Troll the ancient Yule-tide carol
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

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-la
While I tell of Yule-tide treasure.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Fast away the old year passes.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Hail the new year, 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-la
heedless of the wind and weather.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Alternative Lyrics
Cold is the man who can't love,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
The old mountains of dear Wales,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
To him and his warmest friend,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
A cheerful holiday next year,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Cold is the snow on Mount Snowdon,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Even though it has a flannel blanket on it,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Cold are the people who don't care,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
To meet together on New Year's Eve,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.


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