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Learn to Play The Holly and the Ivy

Updated on November 8, 2015

The Holly and the Ivy

The Holly and the Ivy is a delightful old English Christmas Carol that is often sung in England in a traditional nine lesson and nine carol service. It is also a lovely tune. Would you like to play The Holly and the Ivy? I put some free sheet music for the Holly and the Ivy into this page. You can save it and print it if you like.

To me, it never quite seems like Christmas until I hear the boys of Kings College chiming in with the rising of the sun and the running of the deer and those magic aspirational high notes. Then the magic of the season truly takes hold. The Holly and the Ivy is a carol that is full of mediaeval symbolism and borders on the pagan, which gives it a delightful and special charm. The old religion in Britain and Europe was very much a nature religion and early Christians shared the symbols of the old Yule festival. This page will show you how to play The Holly and the Ivy, introduce you to various versions of the carol and hopefully entertain you too!

You can save and print this image of the melody of The Holly and the Ivy. It is in the key of G which is easy for recorder and most stringed instruments. It has note name noteheads to help beginners too.

The Holly and the Ivy - Free Sheet Music for the Holly and the Ivy

The Holly and the Ivy free sheet music feel free to download or print this music for personal use.
The Holly and the Ivy free sheet music feel free to download or print this music for personal use. | Source

The Holly and the Ivy Mugs

Source

The Holly and the Ivy Mug


The Holly and the Ivy Mug by Persimew has a holly design with a tree sprite on one side, plus the notes for The Holly and the Ivy on the reverse. The music on this page was produced for this design.

The Holly and the Ivy Lyrics

Words of The Holly and the Ivy for you to sing

The holly and the ivy,

When they are both full grown

Of all the trees that are in the wood

The holly bears the crown

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing in the choir

The holly bears a blossom

As white as lily flower

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

To be our sweet Saviour

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing in the choir

The holly bears a berry

As red as any blood

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

To do poor sinners good

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing in the choir

The holly bears a prickle

As sharp as any thorn;

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

On Christmas Day in the morn.

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing in the choir

The holly bears a bark

As bitter as any gall;

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

For to redeem us all.

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing in the choir

The holly and the ivy

Now both are full well grown,

Of all the trees that are in the wood,

The holly bears the crown.

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing in the choir

The Holly and the Ivy has been a favorite of mine since childhood and I hope you enjoyed it too. Thank you for visiting my page about The Holly and the Ivy Christmas carol.

The Holly and the Ivy - do you know it? - Have you ever sung The Holly and the Ivy?

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    • GirlLovesNature1 profile image

      GirlLovesNature1 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful! I listen to Carols from Kings every Christmas and always look forward to hearing this song. Nice lens.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      The Holly and the Ivy is one of the Christmas songs that brings back the Christmases of my childhood. Nicely done page.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 

      7 years ago

      I had heard this song and it is very nice. Wonderful page of old traditional Christmas Carols :)

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 

      7 years ago

      I adore this song! It's probably my second favourite next to Good King Wenceslas!

    • profile image

      jseven lm 

      7 years ago

      I love the Christmas hymns and the deep meaning to them, good job!

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