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Hallmark regrets nixing 'gay' from Christmas carol

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

No more gay apparel?

Since the 1800s the world has sang the widely known lyric, "Don we now our gay apparel," in the song Deck the Halls.

Kansas City-based Hallmark changed the words for one of its new holiday ornaments. Keepsake Artist, Matt Johnson, designed the ornament, a red sweater, to say "Don we now our Fun apparel." The ornament's description on the website says, "When it comes to Christmas sweaters, gaudy can be good! Hang up this flashy sweater to make your tree's outfit complete. With its catchy phrase, Don we now our FUN apparel! everyone will be in on the joke."

On Thursday afternoon, Hallmark said it was stunned by the outpouring of criticism and apologized to those offended by the change. However, the company will still sell the ornament.

The changed lyrics brought complaints to Hallmark's Facebook page, like Karl who wrote, "Changing the words to Christmas Carols – REALLY?" You can be sure that myself and many others won't be buying your cards anymore." Diane wrote, "If you can't be original, then you are nothing at all."

KCTV5 contacted Hallmark headquarters about the removal of "gay" from the lyrics on the sweater.

Hallmark sent KCTV5 this response no Wednesday:

"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."

But Hallmark was singing a different tune on Thursday.

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.

The ornament sells for $12.95 online.

A company spokeswoman said production and shipping schedules make it impossible to change the lyrics back this year.

"So it stays as it and remains for sale," the company spokeswoman said.

Hallmark admitted Thursday it didn't anticipate the backlash to the lyric change.

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.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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