God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
(15th century)

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen is an English traditional Christmas carol. The melody is in the minor mode. It was published by William B. Sandys in 1833, although the author is unknown.

Like so many early Christmas songs, the carol was written as a direct reaction to the church music of the 15th century. However, in the earliest known publication of the carol, on a c. 1760 broadsheet, it is described as a "new Christmas carol", suggesting its origin is actually in the mid-18th century. It appeared again among "new carols for Christmas" in another 18th century source, a chapbook believed to be printed between 1780 and 1800.
The Holly And The Ivy (1868)

The music and most of the text of The Holly and The Ivy was first published in England by Cecil Sharp in the late 1800's. Holly and ivy have been the mainstay of English Christmas decoration for church use since at least the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. European Holly (Gaelic: cuileann) was sacred to druids who associated it with the winter solstice, and for Romans, holly was considered the plant of Saturn.

There are indications in other manuscripts that in ancient English village life there was a midwinter custom of holding singing-contests between men and women, where the men sang carols praising holly (for its "masculine" qualities) and disparaging ivy, while women sang songs praising the ivy (for its "feminine" qualities) and disparaging holly. The resolution between the two was under the mistletoe. These three plants are the most prominent green plants in British native woodland during the winter, and for this reason they earned respect from the early country-dwellers and a place in their traditions.