The Hallmark card company has defended removing the word ‘gay’ from the Christmas carol Deck the Halls, saying it didn’t want to confuse anyone because of its multiple meanings.
Instead, a Christmas ornament baring a line from the carol reads ‘don we now our fun apparel.’
‘Hallmark created this year's Holiday Sweater ornament in the spirit of fun,’ the company said in a statement.
‘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.’
Hallmark said the ornament, which is a miniature woolen sweater, was intended to remind people of the modern trend of dressing in colorful sweaters during Christmas.
‘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 company said in a statement.
The decision to drop the word ‘gay’ from the lyric attracted a storm of criticism of Hallmark on its Facebook page.
‘This is a horrible thing your company is doing,’ wrote one former customer.
‘I will not be buying Hallmark products ever again until this is changed. And no one else should either. The term ‘gay’ in the song was in no way a slur. However, your company has now made it into something it never was. I'm ashamed of this supposedly "family" company.’
‘Very disappointed with the Hallmark sweater ornament,’ wrote another.
‘If it was supposed to represent the "ugly Christmas sweater party" trend why not just leave the lyrics off of the ornament. People would know what it meant. By adding and changing the words you have offended a whole new group of people. Looks like your designers and approvers over thought this ornament a little too much.’