While other newsworthy headlines fought for attention earlier this month, beloved coffee chain Starbucks caught the attention of many because they supposedly started a war on Christmas.
The company’s highly anticipated holiday cups were released to mixed reviews from coffee lovers across the nation earlier this month.
Starbucks has released a collection of holiday themed cups every holiday season since 1997 and over the years they have increasingly become more highly anticipated. In contrast to the cups covered with winter inspired designs of previous years, this year’s cup features a simpler two-tone red ombre design.
Some consumers enjoyed the simplicity of the cup while others felt that the company was lazy for not including any design. Other groups took offence to the cups because they felt that the lack of cartoon snowflakes on their cups meant that Starbucks hates their religion.
The fact that there are people taking such offense of how a cardboard cup is designed is trivial in the grand scheme of things.
“I honestly don’t know why people would get offended. People are mixing dots that should not be connected whatsoever. It’s just a cup.” said RIverside City College student Anthony Garza.
Some of the hostility against the company started when a self proclaimed social media personality named Joshua Feuerstein posted a video on Facebook after the cups were unveiled claiming that Starbucks “hates Jesus” because of the lack of holiday designs on their cups this year in comparison to previous years. It quickly went viral.
In the video, Feuerstein asks “all great Americans and Christians” to start a movement that he has called #MerryChristmasStarbucks in which customers tell the baristas that their name is “Merry Christmas” so the baristas are forced to write the phrase on the cup. He does this because he claims that baristas are not allowed to say “Merry Christmas” to customers and by having them write the phrase on the cup in place of their name he is fooling them into saying it, thus going against their supposed hatred for the holiday.
Later in the video, he even shows off his shirt with Jesus printed in it to the camera before pulling out his gun because if Starbucks hates “the Second Amendment so much” then he would love to anger them further by carrying his weapon in their store.
Feuerstein, who has a huge conservative following, makes the impression that Starbucks hates Christmas to the point that they are trying to erase it from their stores entirely. If you were to walk into any Starbucks or check their online store you would see that that is untrue.
They have many Christmas-themed items available to purchase including an advent calendar and ornaments. Special Christmas blends of their drinks are available online along with the seasonal beverages brewed in store. Not to mention that some of the paper bags that their baked goods are served in have mistletoes illustrated on them. Plus the pieces of cardboard that you can use to put over the red cup to make it easier to hold have snow printed on them. But sure, they hate Christmas.
Starbucks has never explicitly stated that their cups were targeted for the demographic that celebrates Christmas. The cups never said “Merry Christmas” on them nor did they have any kind of religious decoration on them, only winter-inspired designs like snowmen and ornaments. Starbucks has never appeared to be a Christian-centric company.
In an official statement posted on their website, the company claims that they are trying to be more inclusive with their design this year by “inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.”
They continue to say, “Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the core values of Starbucks, and each year during the holidays the company aims to bring customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season. Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”
“It’s already Christmas-y enough.” said RCC student Danni Garcia. “The colors alone, red and white, it’s pretty Christmas-y in my opinion. I do feel that people are reading too much into it. It’s just a red cup.”
There have been numerous posts made and hashtags started on social media where Christians and people of other faiths question the purpose behind the whole movement whether it be in support of #MerryChristmasStarbucks or to mock others for putting such an idea out there. If you are against a company, giving them your money doesn’t really seem like it gets your point across.
“If you celebrate Christmas you shouldn’t let a cup define how you celebrate or have it affect how you celebrate Christmas.” said RCC student Aaron Roberts. “It just shows how unaware or apathetic people are to real issues going on in our country.”
The new design has done something that the other cups did not always do: it has a sense of inclusiveness. It was designed to make everyone feel included, not to offend.
There are bigger things to care about than what Starbucks chooses – or chooses not to – display on their cups.
Viewpoints' editorials represent the majority opinion of and are written by the Viewpoints' student editorial board.