The greeting card company Hallmark has apologized for causing concern over the removal of the word "gay" from the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" on its sweater ornament, which is drawing negative comments on the company's Facebook page.
"We've been surprised at the wide range of reactions expressed about the change of lyrics on this ornament, and we're sorry to have caused so much concern," Hallmark says in a statement after the replacement of the verse "Don we now our gay apparel" with "Don we now our fun apparel" created a controversy.
"We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn't have changed the lyrics on the ornament," the Missouri-based company clarified.
However, comments are still pouring in. "Replacing gay with fun, very tacky," reads a post. "…Worst marketing decision ever… Shame on you!!" reads another comment.
Another customer writes: "How absolutely ridiculous!! The original meaning of that word is: 'light-hearted and carefree,' and an older meaning is 'brightly colored.' …That [homosexual] community took a beautiful word and have misused it, destroying its original meaning to the 'politically correct' society. I believe it's time for a boycott of your stores."
The Hallmark website describes the ornament saying, "When it comes to Christmas sweaters, gaudy can be good! Hang up this flashy sweater to make your tree's outfit complete. With its catchy phrase, Don we now our FUN apparel! everyone will be in on the joke."
However, some are writing in favor of the change. "Thank you Hallmark for putting 'fun' in our lives!" writes a woman. "…Even though I don't have room to put up a tree this year- I am going to buy this little sweater ornament b/c it's cute and I choose not to trivialize the little word change. UGH!" says another woman.
In a statement issued earlier, Hallmark explained why it changed the word, saying it created the Holiday Sweater ornament in the spirit of fun. "When the lyrics to 'Deck the Halls' were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word 'gay' meant festive or merry. Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation," the statement read.
"The trend of wearing festively decorated Christmas sweaters to parties is all about fun, and this ornament is intended to play into that, so the planning team decided to say what we meant: 'fun.' That's the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it," it added.