Holiday sweaters aren't just typically ugly — they can cause heated debates, too. In 2015, Target carried a bright red sweater that boldly proclaimed "OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder," which some said was a slam at those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, known by its OCD acronym. Meanwhile, Nordstrom was selling a blue sweater that featured a large menorah, dreidels and Stars of David, plus the tag "Chai Maintenance" in a nod to a negative stereotype about Jewish women. Nordstrom pulled its offensive sweater after the outcry, although Target did not [source: Channick].
Two years before, Hallmark created a tiny ornament depicting an ugly holiday sweater. Trying to be politically correct, the sweater featured the phrase, "Don we now our FUN apparel!", a modification of the lyric in "Deck the Halls" that reads, "Don we now our gay apparel." The lyric change ended up offending nearly everyone. Gays and liberals pointed out the word "gay" is nothing to be ashamed about. Conservatives argued Hallmark should not have bowed to the politically correct by substituting a word that originally meant "happy" and well, "fun."
After mastering the unusual feat of angering people on both the left and the right, Hallmark apologized for the offending ornament, and it quickly disappeared from the company's website [sources: Top Tenz, Lutz].
Author's Note: 10 Holiday Controversies
My goodness, reading about all of these controversies right as the holidays are arriving is both sad and funny. Sad that a holiday season intended to spread love and joy can generate so much nastiness, yet funny to see all of the little things that people can get so worked up about. Just chill, everyone!
More Great Links
- Adweek. "Starbucks' Red Christmas Cups for 2016 Probably Won't Offend Anybody (Probably)." Nov. 14, 2016. (Nov. 15, 2016) http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/starbucks-red-christmas-cups-2016-probably-wont-offend-anybody-probably-174604
- Brown, Laura Lewis. "Is It Okay to Lie About Santa?" PBS. (Nov. 22, 2016) http://www.pbs.org/parents/holidays/is-it-okay-lie-about-santa/
- Butts, Charlie. "Nativity scene marks three decades after court win." One News Now. Nov. 3, 2015. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://www.onenewsnow.com/legal-courts/2015/12/03/nativity-scene-marks-three-decades-after-court-win
- Channick, Robert. "Target, Nordstrom diverge on ugly holiday sweater controversies." Chicago Tribune. Nov. 13, 2015. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-target-nordstrom-sweater-1114-biz-20151113-story.html
- Christmas Tree History. "History of the Christmas Tree." (Nov. 15, 2016) http://www.christmastreehistory.net/controversy
- Collins, Paul. "Christmas Season Starts Earlier Every Year!" Slate. Nov. 6, 2013. (Nov. 15, 2016) http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2013/11/does_christmas_shopping_start_earlier_every_year_nope_the_long_history_of.html
- Crimmings, Jill. "Rethinking Hanukkah Traditions, Or Why I'm Not Buying Mensch on a Bench." TC Jew Folk. Dec. 19, 2014. (Nov. 15, 2016) https://tcjewfolk.com/rethinking-hanukkah-traditions-buying-mensch-bench/
- Frances Willson Thompson Library. "Research Topic Ideas." Nov. 22, 2016. (Nov. 25, 2016) http://libguides.umflint.edu/topics/current
- Goldman, David. "Starbucks holiday cups through the years." CNN. Nov. 10, 2016. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://money.cnn.com/gallery/news/companies/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-cups/index.html
- History. "Columbus Controversy." (Nov. 25, 2016) http://www.history.com/topics/exploration/columbus-controversy
- Johnson, David Kyle. "The Santa Claus Lie Debate: Answering Objections." Psychology Today. Dec. 9, 2013. (Nov. 15, 2016) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/plato-pop/201312/the-santa-claus-lie-debate-answering-objections
- Karaian, Jason. "How long before we see Santa in July? Introducing Quartz's Christmas Creep Calendar." Quartz. Nov. 6, 2016. (Nov. 22, 2016) http://qz.com/532809/how-long-before-we-see-santa-in-july-introducing-quartzs-christmas-creep-calculator/
- Lutz, Ashley. "Hallmark Apologizes For Ornament That Says 'Don We Now Our Fun Apparel." Business Insider. Nov. 1, 2013. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://www.businessinsider.com/hallmark-apologizes-for-ornament-2013-11
- Mikkelson, David. "Xmas Abbreviation." Snopes. Dec. 25, 2013. (Nov. 15, 2016) http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/xmasabbr.asp
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Christmas tree, Festivus pole share spotlight at Wisconsin Capitol." Dec. 8, 2013. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://archive.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/christmas-tree-festivus-pole-share-spotlight-at-wisconsin-capitol-b99159302z1-234975101.html
- Pappas, Stephanie. "Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas." Live Science. Dec. 22, 2012. (Nov. 22, 2016) http://www.livescience.com/25779-christmas-traditions-history-paganism.html
- Pew Research Center. "Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now." Dec. 18, 2013. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/18/celebrating-christmas-and-the-holidays-then-and-now/
- Retail Wire. "Christmas creeps up early in England." Nov. 6, 2016. (Nov. 22, 2016) http://www.retailwire.com/christmas-creeps-up-early-in-england/
- Rich, Tracey. "A Gentile's Guide to the Jewish Holidays." Judaism 101. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://www.jewfaq.org/holidayg.htm
- Roff, Peter. "Don't Be a Scrooge About Phrasing." U.S. News & World Report. Dec. 12, 2014. (Nov. 16, 2016) http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2014/12/12/theres-nothing-wrong-with-saying-happy-holidays-or-merry-christmas
- Sullivan, Kayla. "Nativity scene on courthouse grounds controversy continues." WLFI. Nov. 2, 2015. (Nov. 15, 2016) http://wlfi.com/2015/11/02/nativity-scene-on-courthouse-grounds-controversy-continues/
- Top Tenz. "Top 10 Weirdest Christmas Controversies ever." Dec. 24, 2013. (Nov. 23, 2016) http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-weirdest-christmas-controversies-ever.php
- Viña, Gonzalo. "Brexiters divided over trade and immigration." Financial Times. June 25, 2016. (Nov. 25, 2016) https://www.ft.com/content/f21298d0-3ac4-11e6-8716-a4a71e8140b0
- Whitten, Sarah. "Starbucks holiday red cup brews controversy on social media." CNBC. Nov. 13, 2015. (Nov. 15, 2016) http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-red-cup-brews-controversy-on-social-media.html
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