Hallmark is defending its decision to drop the word “gay” from a Christmas ornament it’s offering for sale.

The greeting card and holiday decoration company is selling a red “Holiday Sweater” ornament that features a line from the Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls.”

The song has traditionally included the lyric, “Don we now our gay apparel,” but the Hallmark ornament instead reads, “Don we now our fun apparel.”

The word “fun” is spelled out in capital letters, while the rest of the lyric is written in mostly lower-case letters.

Critics began posting remarks questioning the lyric change on the company’s Facebook page.

“Hallmark: It’s okay to be gay, you don’t need to rewrite Christmas carol lyrics,” said one Facebook post, while another pointed out that her co-worker’s name was “Gay” and asked whether she should change her name.

The company issued a statement about the word change, saying the ornament was created in the spirit of “fun.”

"When the lyrics to 'Deck the Halls' were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800's, the word 'gay' meant festive or merry," according to a statement released Wednesday. "Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation."

But it released another statement Thursday expressing surprise at the uproar.

“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,” the company said in its second statement. “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 remains for sale on Hallmark’s website as part of its Keepsake collection for $12.95.

“When it comes to Christmas sweaters, gaudy can be good!” reads the item’s description. “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.”

[Christmas tree illustration via Shutterstock]