Plain Christmas cups cause many to see red


Comic by Zoierae Hill

Starbucks is known for its traditional winter-themed coffee cups but this year controversy is brewing over the corporate decision to feature unadorned red cups.

Starbucks says the plain cups allow customers to decorate their own cups, encouraging them to “tell their Christmas stories in their own way.”

Unexpectedly, many have found this action offensive.

People view the decorations, including snow flakes, as “Christmas decorations” and say that by removing them, Starbucks has taken away the spirit of Christ.

One Arizona evangelist posted a video to Facebook, saying that Starbucks “hates Jesus” and the reason that they took the winter designs off their cups was specifically to take “Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups.”

The cups’ designs were never meant to symbolize Christmas. The cups were always religion-neutral, displaying the traditional symbols of winter with snowflakes, ice skates, snowmen and more. Christian designs, such as nativity scenes, were never depicted.

The evangelist has encouraged customers to go to Starbucks and use the name “Merry Christmas” when ordering to trick  Starbucks into writing the phrase on their cups. The The impression that Starbucks baristas are not allowed to greet their customers with “Merry Christmas” is false.

A Starbucks spokesperson said that their baristas “are not provided a script or a policy around greeting customers. They are simply encouraged to create a welcoming environment to delight each person who walks through our doors.”

Many companies have adopted the phrase “Happy Holidays”  to appeal to a broader audience and not a specific religion.

Since Starbucks is a global company serving millions of customers worldwide, many of whom celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas around the same time of the year, the company chooses to acknowledge the season.

The fact that people are upset over the lack of designs shows Starbucks’ claim to be correct as  “third space”–not home or work but another place to meet friends. Those who believe Starbucks is attacking Christmas shows that Starbucks has become so dear to their hearts that they feel personally attacked as well.

On the other hand, this may simply prove how many people are waiting  for something to fight about.

With so many problems facing us today,  a mere change of design on a paper cup should not take up so much time or energy.