“O Christmas Tree”


A German Christmas Carol in German and English

WITH TRADITIONAL ENGLISH LYRICS for “O CHRISTMAS TREE”

“O Tannenbaum” – “O Christmas Tree”
This is just one of at least a dozen English versions of this traditional German song, dating back about 500 years – long before it was considered a Christmas carol. (A Tannenbaum is a fir tree.) The English “O Christmas Tree” versions came about after the Christmas tree custom had spread across the Christian world. Also see the original German version of this carol with a literal translation.

See more about the “O Tannenbaum” song below.

DEUTSCH
Musik: Volksweise
Text: Ernst Anschütz, 1824
ENGLISH
Traditional melody
Lyrics: Author unknown
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green
in summer’s clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
What happiness befalls me when oft
at joyous Christmas-time
Your form inspires my song and rhyme.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
What happiness befalls me
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich
was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft
zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid
mich lehren.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson
– – –
That constant faith and hope sublime
Lend strength and comfort
through all time.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson.
MORE > Original German lyrics for this carol
BACK > German Christmas Carol Lyrics


About This Carol

caption here

Ein Weihnachtsbaum bei KaDeWe in Berlin.
A Christmas tree at the KaDeWe department store in Berlin. PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

A Tannenbaum is a fir tree (die Tanne) or Christmas tree (der Weihnachtsbaum). Although most Christmas trees today are Fichten (spruce) rather than Tannen, the qualities of the evergreen have inspired musicians to write several “Tannenbaum” songs in German over the years. The best known German version (above) was penned in 1824 by a Leipzig organist named Ernst Anschütz. The melody is an old folk tune. The first known “Tannenbaum” song lyrics date back to 1550. A similar 1615 song by Melchior Franck (1573-1639) goes: “Ach Tannebaum, ach Tannebaum, du bist ein edler Zweig! Du grünest uns den Winter, die lieben Sommerzeit.” (“Oh fir tree, o fir tree, you are a noble bough! You make the winter, the dear summertime green.”) – There are at least a dozen English versions of this carol, all by unknown authors, but all are based on the German original. The melody is also heard in US college sports songs.

Next | German Christmas Carol Lyrics in German and English

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