The Kansas City company's Facebook page received numerous complaints about an ornament featuring a red sweater reading, "don we now our fun apparel," instead of the traditional "don we now our gay apparel" from the1800s Christmas carol, KCTV, Kansas City, reported Thursday.
"Changing the words to Christmas Carols -- REALLY?" You can be sure that myself and many others won't be buying your cards anymore," a Facebook user named Carl commented.
The company said the ornament, designed by artist Matt Johnson, is meant to celebrate gaudy Christmas sweaters, not cause offense.
"Hallmark created this year's Holiday Sweater ornament in the spirit of fun," the company said in a statement. "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."