When I first learned that people were up in arms over Hallmark's "ugly sweater" holiday ornament, I thought, "Really? How on EARTH is an ugly sweater controversial?" Then, I learned that the real reason for angry comments on Facebook and boycotts emerging right and left was that the popular card company emblazoned the ornament with a nod to "Deck the Halls": "Don we now our FUN apparel!" Note how I said nod.
But that's not how some critics saw it. Angered critics took to social media to boohoo that Hallmark was making a political statement by replacing the original lyric "gay" with the word "fun." They see it as a complete OFFENSE, one of the first battles in this year's War on Christmas! Eye roll. Oh wait, and it gets even loonier.
Facebook commenters vowed to boycott Hallmark merchandise and described the one-word tweak to the lyrics as the company "rewriting holiday classics" (give ... me ... a break) in the name of political correctness. You HAVE to be kidding me. Get over yourselves, people!
It's called poetic license! Since when did we start having to take everything so seriously? Also, let's talk about this: What if they had just used the original lyric: "Don we now our gay apparel." Then they'd be the target of vitriol for a whole DIFFERENT reason.
Aaaand that's pretty much why Hallmark says they did it. Hallmark released a statement Wednesday pointing out the unfortunate reality that whether we like it or not, for better or worse, using 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 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.
Makes perfect sense to me. Then again, people are just so darn sensitive no matter WHAT you do these days, I guess the safest bet for Hallmark may have been to go with a different lyric altogether. Ridic!
How do you feel about Hallmark tweaking the Christmas carol's lyric?
Image via Hallmark.com