For greeting card giant Hallmark, this isn't just another tacky holiday sweater.
The Kansas City, Mo. based company has been defending itself this week after it began selling an ornamental, miniaturized version of the ugly holiday sweater. The ornament, which sells for $12.95, is emblazoned with the phrase: "Don we now our FUN apparel!"
Critics took to Twitter and Hallmark's Facebook page, accusing the company of making a political statement by using the word "fun" to replace "gay" in the lyric from the "Deck the Halls" Christmas carol.
Facebook commenters said they would never again buy Hallmark merchandise and that the change amounted to the company rewriting holiday classics in the name of political correctness.
Hallmark released a statement Wednesday saying the multiple meanings attached to the word "gay" meant the sweater's lyrics would be "open to misinterpretation."
"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 statement read. "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 Kansas City, Mo.-based company says it was surprised by the reaction and now realizes it shouldn't have changed the wording. But a spokeswoman says Hallmark won't stop selling the ornament.