Each year Hallmark comes out with a set of holiday “keepsake” ornaments, and this year is no exception. But one has garnered worldwide attention — and possibly collector status — for what it omits. Hallmark's 2013 “Holiday Sweater” keepsake ornament (shown in photo) is colorful and bright, and includes a stanza from the popular Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" that refers to donning “gay” apparel. But, instead of using the potentially offensive word “gay,” the folks at Hallmark decided to have the sweater ornament read, “Don we now our fun apparel,” and therein lies the complaint of some homosexuals.
The Associated Press reported that Hallmark was inundated with comments from gays and their supporters, some of whom “said they would never again buy Hallmark merchandise and that the change amounted to the company rewriting Christmas classics in the name of political correctness,” reported AP. “Others suggested removing the word 'gay' demonstrated a homophobic bias.”
One man wrote on Hallmark's Facebook page that “there is nothing wrong with the word ‘Gay.' It can mean fun, happy, excited, exuberant ... and it refers to gay people.... There’s nothing wrong with either! Bad Hallmark! Bad!” Another wrote that “our GAY family will [return] any Hallmark cards received.”
Mitch Levine of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Kansas City, where Hallmark is headquartered, quipped that the “whole thing seems silly to us. No one was offended by that in the song and the change was not necessary.”
A Hallmark spokesperson explained that the word on the ornament was intentionally changed to prevent any misinterpretation by shoppers. “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,” said Hallmark's Kristi Ernsting, painfully explaining the obvious. “Today it has multiple meanings ... 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.'”
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Photo of Hallmark "sweater ornament": AP Images