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"...back in the 1800s, the word 'gay' meant festive or merry."
Popular greeting company Hallmark is under fire for removing the word "gay" from one of its Christmas ornaments.
The ornament, which is currently on sale for $12.95, is designed to look like a Christmas sweater and it includes a line from the famed song, "Deck the Halls."
But rather than reading, "Don we now our gay apparel," as the song has traditionally been sung for the past 150 years, the Hallmark version is a bit different, CNN reported.
Text on the ornament, instead, reads, "Don we now our FUN apparel." The word "gay" is removed and its replacement is displayed in all caps.
A screen shot from the Hallmark website
Critics quickly lashed out and claimed that the change was somehow a slight against the LBGTQ community. Many of these critiques were posted on Hallmark's Facebook page.
"You not only have NO idea how to pull off the Christmas sweater concept, you have NO CLASS and come off ignorant. Disappointing, Hallmark. VERY DISAPPOINTING," wrote one woman. "My co-worker's name is Gay. Should she she change her name this year, too?"
"Hallmark: It's okay to be gay, you don't need to rewrite Christmas carol lyrics," added another individual.
On Wednesday, the company attempted to temper the backlash by issuing a statement.
"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," the company said. "Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation."
The company goes on to explain that its planning team felt "fun" would get more at the spirit of wearing festive sweaters and that it would more appropriately resonate with customers.
The product's description on the company's website does put an emphasis on the "fun" surrounding wearing flashing or gaudy Christmas sweaters.
"When it comes to Christmas sweaters, gaudy can be good! Hang up this flashy sweater to make your tree's outfit complete," it reads. "With its catchy phrase, Don we now our FUN apparel! everyone will be in on the joke."
Hallmark has not issued another response to the controversy since posting the press release on Wednesday.
Featured Image Credit: Hallmark
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