Christmas | News

Hallmark Says It Was Wrong to Replace the Word 'Gay' with 'Fun' on Holiday Ornament

Hallmark made headlines earlier this week after changing the classic text of a Christmas Carol on a new  ornament for the 2013 holiday season, replacing "gay apparel" from "Deck the Halls" to "fun" apparel.

OrnamentThey defended the move in a statement earlier this week.

"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."

After anger from the public, the company has changed its tune, the AP reports:

The company updated its statement Thursday, saying it was surprised by the public's response and that it now realized it shouldn't have changed the lyrics.

"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," the statement read. "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."

But Hallmark spokeswoman Linda Odell said the company has no plans to stop selling the ornament.

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  1. They sound full of something....

    Posted by: Ankerich | Nov 1, 2013 10:36:12 AM

  2. She should be fired...

    Posted by: Ankerich | Nov 1, 2013 10:36:29 AM

  3. That's a pathetic statement. We didn't mean to offend, but hey, we'll be selling the ornament anyway. I don't really care much about this situation but honestly, would have been better for Hallmark to keep quiet.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Nov 1, 2013 10:39:12 AM

  4. So according to Hallmark, the word 'Gay' is not good enough, nor appropriate enough for their products?

    M'Kay...I usually buy ALL my holiday cards at my local Hallmark store.

    But see, that was BEFORE they went all pre-emptively homophobic on us.

    So, like many other Homophobic Operations, I will no longer be purchasing any cards or any thing else from hallmark.

    They want to simply erase words because they think they can?

    Do they know that is the first step in Erasing People?

    My wallet just erased Hallmark.

    Too bad. I supported THEM through their tough times over the past 40 years.

    Posted by: Jenny 0 | Nov 1, 2013 10:41:29 AM

  5. When this thing first started, I thought: "they are trying not to offend anyone and as a result will wind up offending everyone". And that seems to be the case - we understand and regret that people are upset, but we still are going to sell our ornament anyway! Umm, ok...

    Posted by: KT | Nov 1, 2013 10:50:55 AM

  6. Okay kids, simmer down. This sh#t is getting out of hand.

    Gay does not just mean "fun" anymore. It means same sex attraction/love. We have completely taken the word and made it our own. Awesome. We should celebrate that. does not fit the christmas carol anymore. Obviously it is logical to change "gay" to "fun". That is what the song intends to communicate. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Hallmark should not be called to task, they should not have to apologize and all my brothers an sisters who are GAY need to find something real to get pissed about. This was not a problem until we made it a problem.

    Posted by: James | Nov 1, 2013 11:45:01 AM

  7. Yup, KT. I don't believe what Hallmark did was necessarily homophobic, just really really stupid.

    Deck The Halls is an old song and the words are what they are. IF you're afraid people won't buy your cr@ppy ornament because the meaning of the word "gay" has changed, THEN PICK A CHRISTMAS CAROL THAT DOESN'T USE THE WORD GAY!!!

    Posted by: Caliban | Nov 1, 2013 11:49:09 AM

  8. This doesn't even bother me. The common usage of the word is far from what it used to be. Although, it is kind of fun to ponder on gay christmas apparel! Can I haz a rainbow reindeer?????

    Posted by: Lucas H | Nov 1, 2013 11:54:30 AM

  9. with the word gay being used in that context - as a gay man I have NO problem with it being used that way......

    Posted by: disgusted american | Nov 1, 2013 12:07:34 PM

  10. At least I know that sending emails to these corps has some impact. I'm glad that I send mine. At least they acknowledged they were idiots, but maybe they will come out with a modification...a "gay" sticker to put on the ornament. LOL

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Nov 1, 2013 12:10:24 PM

  11. People are mad about this? Realllly? It's obvious no one would have bought it as anything but a gag gift with the original lyrics intact. With that said, I can't see anyone buying this dumb ornament as it is now for any reason. Should've just nixed it all together.

    Posted by: JMC | Nov 1, 2013 12:30:46 PM

  12. Hallmark Ill be sending E Christmas cards and buying other more Hallmark anything for our family.

    Posted by: MAP | Nov 1, 2013 12:54:22 PM

  13. I initially read about this on MSN. I checked Hallmark's scores on HRC's shopping guide and HRC's Corporate Equality Index. They score 100% on HRC's shopping guide and 90% on HRC's CEI ( Corporate Equality Index ). It's obvious that some of the commenters above didn't know that or bother to check it out. It is folly not to check that out if it is important to you to direct your money to companies who care about us and divert it away from those who don't.

    Posted by: Stan D | Nov 1, 2013 1:16:13 PM

  14. I just read the original comment thread and wtf lol people were reaching so far to make this seem terrible that one guy bent over backwards to compare it to the completely unrelated homophobic abuse of his father. Towleroad you are seriously SO extra sometimes

    Posted by: JMC | Nov 1, 2013 1:25:02 PM

  15. I like the way everyone assumes the change was homophobic.

    Because Hallmark is clearly afraid of all those icky gays they sell a wide variety of gay cards to, and couldn't possibly have instead thought "Man, this ornament's just going to become one gay joke after another."

    Posted by: Rob | Nov 1, 2013 2:20:21 PM

  16. They were in a quandary no matter what they did. Had they used the word "gay" no straight person would have bought one.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 1, 2013 2:52:17 PM

  17. It's hilariously inept. Have you seen those stores that use Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World" (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog) as a "Christmas/Holiday" song in their seasonal ads? That provokes a world of giggle from me, too.

    "Fun" apparel - what a world of stupid. the upside? anyone who buys it will win any "Ugly Xmas Sweater" contest they enter.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 1, 2013 3:00:07 PM

  18. @James. I wish we could've appropriated a better word than "gay", which sounds frivolous and superficial. Just like many catty fashiony queens are, sadly.

    Lesbians got to reference ancient antiquity. Way cooler.

    Posted by: Jaker | Nov 1, 2013 3:59:07 PM

  19. It was wrong of Hallmark to change gay to "fun", but reality is that the ornaments were already made (likely in China or somewhere else in the far east) and they'd have to eat the cost of trashing the "PC" ornaments. It's unfortunate, but money often speaks louder than responsible behavior.

    Posted by: Joseph Singer | Nov 1, 2013 4:17:21 PM

  20. The decision to change the word is at the crux of the matter, not the meaning. There must have been some thought placed into making the change in the first place. Who at Hallmark decided that the public might be "confused" by the word 'gay'. Really? So they changed a traditional holiday song's lyrics just to not confuse us that the sweater ornament isn't homosexual. And to think all these years I considered holiday sweaters gay.

    Posted by: liroso | Nov 1, 2013 5:15:17 PM

  21. It's idiotic in the extreme. The only reason to use an uber-classic Christmas carol is because it IS an uber-classic Christmas carol. So take one of the most recognizable set of lyrics that has ever existed and change it?!?!? WTF?

    Then when that brings the predictable-to-all-but-the-blind objections from all quarters, issue a non-apology apology and do nothing about the product gaffe?? Corporate stupidity at its most absurd levels.

    Posted by: Zlick | Nov 1, 2013 6:46:10 PM

  22. If they didn't think anyone would get upset, they're idiots. But I think they're just being disingenuous. It's an ugly ornament anyway, and I prefer to avoid paying to put something ugly in my home.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 1, 2013 11:23:36 PM

  23. They should have changed the words to "Now we don our gaudy apparel," and if asked about it, they could explain it as a joke about how gaudy the ornament is.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 2, 2013 11:59:11 PM

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