Did Hobby Lobby Sell a ‘Shotgun Shell Ornament’ for Christmas in 2023?

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In 2023, the American arts-and-crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby sold Christmas ornaments themed on 12-gauge shotgun shells.

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In mid-December 2023, we received reader mail asking if the American arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby – a company with Christian owners and a website that says they’re “committed to” following “Biblical principles” – sold an ammunition-themed Christmas tree ornament. The reader included in their email a screenshot of a “Shotgun Shell Ornament” on the Hobby Lobby website.

This was true. As of Dec. 14, 2023, the Hobby Lobby website (archived) listed the “Shotgun Shell Ornament” as “out of stock online.” The price was $3.99. It was marked down to $1.99 due to a 50 percent off Christmas sale. The brand was shown as The Christmas Shoppe.

Online users discussed how Hobby Lobby was selling a shotgun shell ammunition and gun or firearm-themed Christmas ornament.

A search of the Hobby Lobby website for the word “shotgun” produced other similar items, such as a “Shotgun Shells Ornament” (one red shell and one green shell), “Shotgun Shells Ornament” (three red shells) and “Shotgun Shell Wreath Ornament,” among other products.

Such controversy as arose regarding the shotgun shell ornaments, however big or small it may have been, appeared to have begun on social media, as most controversies seem to do these days.

One Facebook post from Nov. 16 included a picture that was taken in a Hobby Lobby store that showed some of the shotgun-themed Christmas ornaments displayed next to a fishing-themed ornament.

These Christmas ornaments were intended for Hobby Lobby customers who enjoyed hunting and fishing. This was evidenced by the fact that the products appeared to have keywords that were hidden in the website’s page source code, so that if customers searched for hunting ornaments or fishing ornaments, they would find products that were relevant to those subjects. For example, a search of the company’s website for hunting ornaments successfully displayed results for the shotgun shell-themed Christmas ornaments, even though the product names and descriptions did not mention the word “hunting.”

A different user who posted about the products in December shared the same photo, and added, “Some of us didn’t need one more reason to never set foot in a Hobby Lobby store but they just gave me one more.”

In a more recent post, a person said of the picture, “Hobby Lobby will not sell Hanukkah items, but they will sell these.” (It’s true that the company no longer carried Hanukkah items in its stores, as we previously reported.)

One Facebook user also posted of the ornaments, “Nothing says Happy Birthday Baby Jesus like shotgun shells.”

In sum, it’s true that Hobby Lobby sold a small selection of shotgun shell-themed Christmas ornaments in late 2023. The products were intended for hunting enthusiasts, just as the fishing-themed ornaments were intended for customers who enjoy fishing. Further, for clarity regarding the religious ownership of Hobby Lobby and the Facebook comments that referenced this fact, while the Bible does not feature firearms (a technology that had yet to be invented), it does make numerous mentions of both hunting and fishing.

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