The holidays aren’t here until the cups are festive (enough)


Ashley Yanda

The Christmas season starts at different times of the year for each person.  For some, it is the day after Thanksgiving, and for some avid Starbucks drinkers, the release of the red holiday cups and the holiday themed drinks mark the start of the Christmas season.  Once the Peppermint Mocha and a beautifully decorated red cup is in hand, it really begins to feel like Christmas is upon us.  From decorated, to plain red, to green, and now to the new customer designed cups, the debate over the holiday cups has not been dull.  Last year, the cups were a plain red without decorations, which sparked controversy and debate on the removal of Christmas decorations on the red cups.

Customers were outraged and believed that Starbucks was discrediting their belief system. There are customers who celebrate Chanukah and Kwanzaa, neither of which are Christian holidays.  Every year Christmas is becoming more and more commercialized, and less about religious significance.  Customers who do not consider themselves religious participate in the Pagan aspects of Christmas, such as visiting Santa Claus, passing around gifts, and decorating a tree.  However, no matter how commercialized Christmas gets, the organs still hold religious symbolism for Christianity.  Customers who are not Christian and celebrate Christmas are celebrating the commercial side Christmas, and not its true origins.

On Nov. 1, Starbucks released a green cup that was decorated with hundreds of figures, drawn with a single stroke of a pen.  The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz commented on the project and said, “The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community.”  The cups once again sparked controversy.  Critics hated the color and the idea behind the cups, but thankfully for them, Starbucks has released six new customer designed cups that are red and celebrate the holiday season.

The traditional white cups have been seen as a canvas by Starbucks customers in the past, and last season, customer artists took it upon themselves to draw holiday designs on their plain red cups, creating new cups for this season. Sophomore Angelica Roman enjoys a Pumpkin Spiced Latte once the weather gets cold.  She says, “It’s interesting how last year there was a controversial issue with the holiday cups for religious purposes. Starbucks addressed this year’s holiday trying to appeal to different cultures, not religions.” While the new cups still represent Christmas, this year’s cups represent more than just Christmas.  They represent winter and all the wonderful parts of the season; Christmas being a part of that.  Two of the cups feature trees that are covered in snow which has nothing to do with Christmas other than the time of year.  The other cups are a little more “Christmas-y”, but they do not rub the Christian holiday in the faces of the Starbucks customers.  Sophomore Tyler McCormick says he “really like[s] the new Starbucks cups. They are creative and perfectly capture the holiday spirit that we all know and love.”  This year Starbucks has done their best to eliminate all the controversy by allowing the customers to design the cups.  The cups represent what the people who visit Starbucks regularly want to see on their holiday cups.