Accused of taking the "gay" out of Christmas, Hallmark has changed traditional song lyrics on a sweater ornament. The "Holiday Sweater" reads, "Don we now our fun apparel."
Comments, like this one, have been harsh on the company's Facebook page: "Your ugly sweater ornament is offensive and just another reason why I will look for another company to use for greeting cards!"
The company posted a statement and an update in response to the controversy:
Holiday Sweater Ornament Update
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.
Statement originally posted 10/30/2013
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.
- To what extent do you agree with the strong reactions? Do you think the anger is justificated, or did people overreact?
- Assess Hallmark's first statement and the update. What works well, and what would you suggest changing?