Hallmark’s ‘Deck The Halls’ Ornament Replaces ‘Gay’ with ‘Fun’ Just So Nobody’s Confused

Hallmark, the card-and-gift company for all things festive and merry, has released an image of a new ornament for the 2013 holiday season. The ornament, in the shape of a sweater, has a lyric from the classic "Deck the Halls," but one word has been clearly omitted and replaced. Rather than donning "gay apparel," the clothes are now simply "fun." 

The change in lyrics was reportedly made to promote clearer understanding of the song in a modern-day context.

HallmarksweaterHuffPost reports:

A spokeswoman for Hallmark said the line was intentionally changed to prevent misinterpretation by holiday 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," Kristi Ernsting told The Huffington Post in an email. "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.'"

She added: "That’s the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it."

Do you take offense at the sweater's alterations? Or is it okay for Hallmark to reframe "Deck the Halls" for a modern audience?

Photo via Hallmark.

Comments

  1. Drummond says

    I find it unnecessary and homophobic. People who are too stupid to know the difference between GAY and “don we now our GAY apparel” should be ignored.

  2. Rick says

    The reality is that if they used the word “gay”, nobody would buy the item except gay people, except perhaps as a joke.

    Of course, they probably should have just come up with a different product idea than inviting controversy and bad publicity with their actions, but people don’t always think these things through.

  3. jamal49 says

    Stupid. I think we’re all intelligent enough to suss the difference in usages of the word “gay”.

  4. Rick says

    I wouldn’t buy one obviously because I’m not gay. Also because I’d have no one to laugh about it with. My family doesn’t have me around for the holidays due to my sinful nature and I certainly don’t have any friends to celebrate with due to the fact that I think they’re sinful.

  5. James in Hollywood says

    For me, the sole effect of “Don we now our gay apparel” simply puts the melody in my head. The effect of “Don we now our fun apparel” just makes me think “Gay, gay gay! They’re afraid of the word ‘gay!'”

  6. Howard says

    Someone at Hallmark didn’t think this through. They have every right to change the word “gay” to “fun”, and I have the right not to buy it. They could have avoided most of the controversy by making two versions. One with the word “gay” one with the word “fun”, so that consumers had a choice of what word they wanted. Traditionalists (including me) will want “gay”, others may want “fun”.

    A good retailer gives the people what they want. Now it’s them against us. Not very bright Hallmark.

  7. e.c. says

    I don’t think they’re gonna make anyone happy with this one. Yes “GAY” has more than one meaning, but none of them would be considered offensive.

  8. woody says

    We should start calling ourselves “fun” and ruin the Hallmark marketing department’s brilliant plan.

  9. NotSafeForWork says

    Holy crap! I didn’t know my father was working for Hallmark! This is the word he used instead of gay (well, funny was the actual word.

    Except when he wasn’t calling me a “swish” which was a totally cute word for a male Steward that he learned during his days working for TWA in the 1960’s….

  10. Critifur says

    SMH. At least they could have used an actual synonym. Gay in that context does not equal fun. Fan can be the source of one’s gay feeling. Very lame.

  11. NotSafeForWork says

    Ironic the kept the archaic words “Don” and “Apparel” but not gay. Yeah, I “don” my “apparel” …said no one ever.

  12. CHRISTOPHER I says

    I wonder how Hallmark decided it would be easier for customers to explain why the word “fun” is there rather than why the word “gay” is. Either way will raise questions, and it seems to me that the only one guaranteed to bring up a discussion of anti-gay animus is the former. The latter is easily dismissed with a simple “Gay also means fun.”

  13. Christopher says

    I find the change uncalled for. It takes away the seriousness of when the word gay is used in an offensive manner. Seriously Hallmark, you are mocking hate speech. With the all the options online, there’s no need to visit your local Hallmark store.

  14. shanestud says

    Hallmark with their cards and sappy TV movies has always been conservative. I am a subscriber to their on-line -E-Card site and there are no greeting cards to send s-s couples getting married. DOMA was struck down, now with N.J., 34% of Americans live in states that have s-s marriage. Hallmark should become inclusive but I think they are afraid of offending their “family values” customer base. A boycott of Hallmark is certainly something I could support.

  15. Mike says

    Well, guess that it is “politically correct”, however I sort of enjoyed the DOUBLE ENTENDRE. Especially with people that were so out of it that they REALLY did not know what the word GAY meant now. Seriously, I once had a very elderly great aunt who used to crack me up every Christmas with singing “don we now our gay apparel” ♪♫ around her house. Then again she used to shake the cord of a just used vacuum before putting it away to “remove all the electricity” . . .

  16. gregory brown says

    The next logical step is to eliminate “we” since that suggests “wee” and that leads to shame over be dwetting or–shudder– encouraging water sports.

  17. Leroy Laflamme says

    Beyond silly. Next they’ll have to ‘update’ fa la la la la la la la la. ‘A spokeswoman for Hallmark said the line was intentionally changed to prevent misinterpretation by holiday shoppers.’ I can quite believe that. They expect sales to be poor because anti Gay bigots wouldn’t buy their sweater (ugly or not) with the word gay on it. Seems American conservatives have the same agenda as the Russians in mind when they forbid homosexual propaganda.

  18. Leroy Laflamme says

    Beyond silly. Next they’ll have to ‘update’ fa la la la la la la la la. ‘A spokeswoman for Hallmark said the line was intentionally changed to prevent misinterpretation by holiday shoppers.’ I can quite believe that. They expect sales to be poor because anti Gay bigots wouldn’t buy their sweater (ugly or not) with the word gay on it. Seems American conservatives have the same agenda as the Russians in mind when they forbid homosexual propaganda.

  19. Jack M says

    I don’t think the majority of people really do understand that, at one time, the word was used to mean “happy.” So I think using the word “fun” is a good idea. It’s not homophobic, it’s just that the meanings of some words change.

    For instance, in Shakespeare’s time, the word “naughty” meant evil. It is not so severe a word today.

  20. trees says

    Here’s how Hallmark should modernize these lyrics: “Let’s put on our fun clothes”, not “Don we now our fun apparel”. Who says “Put on we now” our apparel? Who speaks backward like this? If they were being really honest, they would say, “Let’s put on the crappiest sweater we can find.” Hallmark should also modernize their own name to Churchstain.

  21. Speedieg says

    What Hallmark means is that we did not want to loose sales to the those customers that hate all things homosexual and we want to be absolutely clear we have nothing to do with homosexuality.

  22. gordon says

    I think the ornament is ugly, and since the word “gay” was co-opted by the homosexual community, I think that Hallmark was OK with the change. I am 63 and gay by the way. Gay used to mean happy and somewhat silly. “Gay” today doesn’t have the same general usage. Oh, well, time and language march on. We just need to get over being insulted by everything.

  23. gordon says

    I think the ornament is ugly, and since the word “gay” was co-opted by the homosexual community, I think that Hallmark was OK with the change. I am 63 and gay by the way. Gay used to mean happy and somewhat silly. “Gay” today doesn’t have the same general usage. Oh, well, time and language march on. We just need to get over being insulted by everything.

  24. gordon says

    I think the ornament is ugly, and since the word “gay” was co-opted by the homosexual community, I think that Hallmark was OK with the change. I am 63 and gay by the way. Gay used to mean happy and somewhat silly. “Gay” today doesn’t have the same general usage. Oh, well, time and language march on. We just need to get over being insulted by everything.

  25. gordon says

    I think the ornament is ugly, and since the word “gay” was co-opted by the homosexual community, I think that Hallmark was OK with the change. I am 63 and gay by the way. Gay used to mean happy and somewhat silly. “Gay” today doesn’t have the same general usage. Oh, well, time and language march on. We just need to get over being insulted by everything.

  26. northalabama says

    yes, the word “gay” has multiple meanings, one of which could impact sales due to bigots’ unbridled hatred.

    so, let’s try to increase profit by cowering to the lowest common denominator, and re-write traditional song lyrics – no class. hallmark = fail.

  27. Leroy Laflamme says

    In the late 18th Century & the 19th Century, the word gay was a euphemism, in England, for a the life of a female prostitute. Living the gay life implied she earned her living as a protitute.

  28. Graphicjack says

    If they felt the need to change the lyrics, and I can see the challenges of keeping the word gay in it and am not overly offended by it, then the best idea was to scrap the concept of the sweater completely. As others have said, changing the lyric that most people know from a young age, only raises questions about the word change and makes it into a bigger deal than it ever needed to be. Fail.

  29. Oscar in Miami Beach says

    The reason is that these sweaters are made in Bangladesh and Bangladesh is a muslim country and for them the word GAY is synonym of the DEVIL.So there would probably be a riot and demonstration about making a garment with such a word in it.Stupid as backwards as all muslim countries do but Hallmark is thinking about selling the piece in the South of the USA. Besides that Hallmark is afraid of the word and truthfully the sweater is hideous.I cannot think of anybody buying the aweful piece.

  30. Kurtis Edwards says

    I really don’t think it’s a big deal. I think the larger picture is our unacceptance with the evolution of language. I, as a gay man, don’t get offended when I hear someone use the word gay. Even if they say something is gay. It really depends on the context of how they used it, they can still be used as derogatory words. However, I think the non-derogatory evolved definition is used a lot more. Someone said only gay people would buy if it said gay in that big of font and I agree with that line of thought.

  31. Randy says

    If they didn’t type “GAY” in gigantic caps, no one would think twice about it. Changing the lyric is lame.

  32. Neil says

    1. The original song was in Welsh. This is a Gaelic language, but not Gaelic.
    2. The English version is not a translation: completely new words. So it’s not a single Welsh word that could be translated in a couple of different ways.
    3. If you’re quoting something because it’s evocative, it’s the form everyone knows that is evocative, so you keep it like that–or you find a quote you like better.

    Romeo, Romeo, why are you Romeo? … so much better in the original Klingon.

  33. Ted says

    Ridiculous. If it’s being marketed as the “Ugly Sweater” ornament and the word “gay” was on it, there’d be hell to pay – the likes of Dan “Jesse Jackson” Savage and John “Al Sharpton” Aravosis would see to that. But evidently since today, everyone needs to be offended by everything, Hallmark trying to avoid all that is in itself offensive enough to the terminally offended.