Hallmark Sweater Ornament Controvery

    November 2, 2013

A Hallmark ornament is the center of a social media controversy. The ornament is a tacky sweater that has words to the popular Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls”, except for one word: “gay”.

The company changed the word “gay” to “fun”, in the phrase “Don we now our gay apparel”, and says they never meant to make a political statement. After the controversy started, Hallmark released a statement defending their product.

The original statement, posted on October 30, read:

Hallmark created this year’s 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 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.

The next day, they released another statement apologizing for changing the word and admitting they should have left the original phrase.

The updated statement, posted on October 31, read:

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. 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.

Hallmark has said they have no intentions of pulling the Christmas ornament from their shelves.

Image via Hallmark.com