I've been singing this song aloud since a week ago, after hearing Eileen Ivers performing it at her concert in Concord NH. We actually have a holly bush growing in front of our house. It's a very old carol, and it maintains the feel of the original carols that were actually dancing songs written for celebrations of all kinds. This one's lots of fun to sing, and we've more than once found ourselves, the whole family, singing this out while driving together in the car.
The holly bears a prickle as sharp as a thorn;
And Mary bore Jesus on Christmas Day morn.
And Mary bore Jesus our Saviour to be
And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly.
And the first tree in the greenwood it was the holly.
Now the Holly bears a berry as white as the milk
And Mary bore Jesus, who was wrapped up in silk.
Now the Holly bears a berry as green as the grass
And Mary bore Jesus, who died on the cross.
Now the Holly bears a berry as black as the coal
And Mary bore Jesus, who died for us all.
Now the Holly bears a berry as blood is it red
Then trust we our Saviour who rose from the dead.
The holly bears a bark as bitter as gall;
And Mary bore Jesus Christ to redeem us all.