ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Deck the Halls

Updated on December 17, 2017

Deck the Halls is a popular Christmas song but do you know what the words mean?

Everyone knows this song. It is played in the Malls and is used in commercials. It's in many movies and TV shows. Kids love to sing it and it's one of my favorites.

However, when I asked my child what the words meant, he was unable to tell me. That's when I decided to break it down for him.

Photo credit:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

Fa la la la la la la la la

My child's answers to the first verse.

Deck - what sits on the wheels of a skateboard - where you barbecue - what you walk on when your on a boat.

Halls - where you walk down to go to other rooms

Boughs - Blank stare

Holly - a family friend

How does that make sense to a child belting out words he doesn't get?

Deck - Decorate

Halls - Formerly a "great room" where guest gathered

Boughs - Branches with leaves and berries

Holly - This was harder, it really doesn't grow here in the desert but there are lots of silk plants to show. Holly is an evergreen tree that can be pruned into a hedge or allowed to grow to 50 feet. It has red berries.

Now it means, Decorate your home with branches from the Holly tree.

Manheim Steamroller

Tis the Season to be Jolly

Fa la la la la la la la la

Ok, I say to my child, let's try the next line.

Tis - sort of gets this, does it mean is? Yep, that's right

Season - like winter or spring? Yep, very good.

Jolly - sort of blank stare and the "you mean like happy"" My reply, " Christmas time is also considered a season"

OK, we know what this verse means.

Christmas is a time to be happy.

Charming scene from "A Christmas Story"

Don we now our gay apparel

Fa la la la la la la la la

This verse is fraught with danger.

(No editorial comment here other than to say that the word gay means happy or cheerful. It is a shame that the word has been appropriated by other groups and has been turned into a taunt. Enough said. I happen to like the word gay to say that someone is cheerful.)

Ok, so I ask the boy what "don" means. He has no clue.

I don't ask what the word gay means because I am just skipping the whole other dialog and will tell him what it means in the song.

He doesn't know what apparel is. This is fun because I can tell him that he is wearing it and he still doesn't know that it is clothing.

Don - an old word for putting on something.

Gay - cheerful

Apparel - clothing

What does this line mean? Dress up in your party clothes.

The Monkey's - Deck the Halls - Sorry, couldn't resist

Troll the ancient yuletide carols

Fa la la la la la la la la

Troll - The boy doesn't know the Internet term for troll yet. He's only 9 and he can learn it later. Yes, I have some trolls left over from way back when. (see example in the picture)

What I found interesting is that there is a debate about the word troll. Some say it is really "toll". I think that after some research that it is troll. Regardless of where you stand on it it means a song sung in a round (over and over in counterpoint like Row,row, row your boat) or to sing to sing in a full voice merrily. Toll means the ringing of bells and many carols were rung through church bells.

Ancient - he understands this word. I'm his grandmother raising him and he thinks I'm ancient, especially when he sees the trolls from my childhood.

Yuletide carols - Ancient yuletide carols may refer to the song that were sung by pagans. Christmas was set as the same time of the Pagans Yuletide. Many of the words and traditions were adapted for Christmas, like the yule log.

What does this mean now? Sing the old carols loudly and joyfully.

Psych - What could be better?

Lyrics to Deck the Halls

I've done the first verse , it's up to you to explain the rest of the lyrics to your child

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


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)