I’ve always been a fan of Starbucks. I think they’ve done a great job with their hot and cold cups, especially around Christmas, and, despite the copious amounts of syrup put in their drinks, they’ve come up with some pretty interesting flavor combinations. But really, I had no idea that “red cups” were a thing until one of my friends asked me if I was excited for their return. I have a collection of Starbucks cups that line my kitchen cabinets, but on my list of holiday things to be excited for, red cups were not on it. That being said, I appreciate Starbucks’ attempt at trying to get people in the holiday mood, even though before we start decorating things with green and red, we do have this little holiday called Thanksgiving to keep in mind, but that’s besides the point.
I was very surprised, and a little confused to see the online rage expressed at Starbucks for their choice in this year’s design. For those of you who haven’t had a reason to pop in and see the new cups, it’s a slight, ombre red design, a departure from previous year’s snowflakes and snowmen. The reason for the outrage? Apparently because the lack of snowflakes and snowmen means that Starbucks is somehow being less Christian. First of all, I didn’t realize that it was the duty of a secular company to put a religious message on their product and second of all, how are snowflakes and snowmen religious in the first place?! Some angered Christians argue that the holiday pictures were symbols of hope.
In a video posted by Arizona-based evangelist Joshua Feuerstein that has more than 12 million views, he asks, “Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off their brand-new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red.”
In the past, the cup has featured poinsettias, leaves and snowflakes. It’s not like there have been crosses and manger scenes.
Feuerstein’s solution to the “lack of Christ” on Starbucks’ cup is to tell the barista your name is “Merry Christmas” so the barista has to write it on your cup. This has also inspired the trending Twitter hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks.
Now, I try not to use my blog to approach topics like religion because sometimes I have strong feelings about my faith that once I start talking about, I can’t stop, but really, if the cup your coffee comes in defines your relationship with God or the strength of your faith, you probably have bigger problems than a red cup.
I mean if it bothers people so much, they can draw crosses and mangers and put Bible versus on their cups instead. Starbucks even said the purpose of this year’s designs was openness.
“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cup designs,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
I’m on board. If you need me, I’ll be drawing all over my new red cups.