‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’: what are the lyrics and who wrote the carol?

9 December 2020, 15:50

The lyrics and history of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’
The lyrics and history of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

We reveal the lyrics and history behind the carol that demands – and makes you feel rather hungry for – figgy pudding.

A joyous encore at Christmas choral concerts around the country, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ is also heard on doorsteps, in pub corners and outside supermarkets throughout the month of December. It even makes an appearance at the end of best-Christmas-film-of-all-time (don’t @ us), Home Alone.

And would you know it, the song is thought to date all the way back to the 16th or 17th century.

At that time, carollers wanted grub like figgy pudding (see the second verse, below) to keep their tummies full and spirits high on cold winter evenings.

But for its present popularity we can thank the composer Arthur Warrell, who published a carol in 1939 called ‘A Merry Christmas’. He admitted that he had been inspired by a traditional English song, written some time before…

Read more: The 30 greatest Christmas carols of all time >

What are the lyrics to ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’?

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year

[Chorus]
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish a merry Christmas and a happy New Year

Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring some out here

[Chorus]
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year

For we all like our figgy pudding
For we all like our figgy pudding
For we all like our figgy pudding
With all this good cheer

[Chorus]
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year

And we won’t go until we get some
And we won’t go until we get some
And we won’t go until we get some
So bring some out here

[Chorus]
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year