For 20 years, December Diamonds has designed and created campy decorations celebrating the LGBTQ community, including the classic gay mermen ornaments.
December Diamonds was founded in 1999, and during the early years, it sold traditional coastal-themed Christmas ornaments. The company introduced its first gay merman, Nemo, a buff, shirtless blond hunk, in 2003.
“The first one was basic, very crass,” Jones said. “But then they started evolving and becoming a little more personality-driven. That’s when the gay community really went after it.”
Jones purchased December Diamonds in 2015 and used his expertise as a marketing and product design executive to bring fresh ideas to the company.
Jones also designs all of the ornaments, including such favorites as “Stiff One,” a sassy bartender with an octopus bottom, a farmers market-themed hunk named “Big N Tasty,” or “Justice,” who raises his clenched fist and holds a Black Lives Matter sign.
Approximately 100 designs are in production.
Jones draws inspiration for the gay mermen series from fan suggestions and real life experiences.
“I can be sitting having a drink with friends and see someone walk by and think, Oh, that’s a great idea for an ornament,” he said.
The Rehoboth Beach ornament is a tribute to the LGBTQ beach in Delaware where Jones has vacationed.
Jones and his team have added more diversity to the gay mermen ornaments. Bears, men with beer bellies, silver foxes, trans mermen, and a variety of cultures are represented.
“The biggest appeal is that, no matter who you are, you’re going to find an ornament that you identify with,” Jones said.