Starbucks' red cups should not define your Christmas

Holiday design shouldn’t diminish one’s Christmas spirit

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. There’s a magical feeling that comes with the holiday season that doesn’t occur at any other time of year.

As someone who was raised in a Catholic household, for years I went to religious education where other kids and I learned about the history behind our religion, including the history of Christmas.

Not once did I learn that the true meaning of Christmas should be defined by how mega-corporations choose to advertise. I don’t recall a Bible passage that discusses how the three wise men came bearing gifts of Starbucks lattes in a classic holiday cup design the night Jesus was born.

But the way people are reacting over the recently released Starbucks holiday cup design, one may think that’s exactly what happened.

Since 1997, Starbucks has annually unveiled a holiday cup featuring a new design. In the past, the cup designs have included winter themes ranging from snowflakes to snowmen on a red background. This year, Starbucks introduced a simple red cup with an ombré design as its holiday design.

Controversy soon followed after the announcement.

It first started with one man who posted a video on Facebook of himself talking about how he hates the new cup design, declaring that Starbucks is against Christmas and is contributing to the “war on Christmas.” He even encouraged people to go to Starbucks to order drinks and tell the baristas their names are “Merry Christmas” so it can be written on the cup. Many others have taken to Twitter with the hashtag “boycott Starbucks” in order to voice their displeasure.

When I first saw a headline about people being outraged over the Starbucks holiday cups, I laughed. I thought it was a joke. To my disbelief, upon further reading the article I realized it was not satire – some people were actually offended about how a coffee shop is distributing their drinks.

Since when is Christmas about commercial items? I always learned that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus. Are we all so immersed in the commercial aspect of Christmas that we really don’t see the true meaning?

Arguably, the other holiday cups never symbolized Christmas either. Last year, the cups had simple brushstrokes of snowflakes and pine tree needles. The year before that, snowflakes and ornaments wrapped around the Starbucks logo. Snowmen have also been a popular staple consumers have seen on their coffee cups during the holiday season.

While all of these make me think about Christmastime, these images loosely represent Christmas and ultimately just link the holidays to the winter weather in which they occur. I don’t see how anyone could make a good argument about how a winking snowman represents the birth of Jesus.

If a red cup is offensive to you and ruining your Christmas because you don’t believe a corporation is properly celebrating a holiday, you have to look into how you perceive one of the most important holidays in Christian faith.

If you’re reading this and find yourself as one of the people who are angered by the lack of Christmas on your Starbucks cup, I hope you do boycott the company.

This is not because I agree with you. I want you to boycott Starbucks because I hope you take that $5 bill you would have spent on a venti coffee and instead donate it to a homeless shelter or buy a toy for a child in need.

If you’re that concerned with the lack of Christmas spirit at a corporation, use your own Christmas spirit to help others in need during a time where there’s emphasis on helping one another out.

So instead of taking to social media to voice your displeasure at what you feel is the lack of corporations celebrating Christmas, take that passion and follow the true meaning of Christmas by giving to those who are less fortunate and by celebrating the birth of Jesus.

In the end, that’s what gives the holiday season that magical feeling – not what design is on your Starbucks cup.

Marlee Tuskes is a news desk editor and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @marleetuskes5.