I guess I will formally chime in. The 2018 Winterbash FAQ says:
Why are you doing this to us?
For sites that have hats on by default, your moderator teams or your communities indicated that hats would be a fun, lighthearted thing to do. Why did we offer it in the first place? Because we thought it was a nice way to finish out another really amazing year. You can always decide you hate hats and turn them off.
In 2013, we had to tell SE if we wanted to be included (default was no hats). In 2014, they changed the default to hats, but asked us to respond either way. In 2015 and 2016, they did not even bother asking for responses to opt in and instead only asked for a response to opt out. In 2017 and 2018 they simply did not ask for anything. the idea was that support for hats was so decisive (most sites really love hats and a few really hate hats) that SE stopped asking mods if we wanted them or not.
There may have been some discussion regarding them stopping the discussion, but I really do not remember. In 2017, I asked moderators I noticed we did not get the standard email asking if we wanted hats or not. I asked other moderators from all the SE sites what they were doing and there was strong support that we probably did not need to poll users anymore. If someone else starts a poll and it becomes clear we don't want hats, I will let SE know that we don't want them anymore. In this way democracy is not really dead.