Home»Opinion»The ‘War on Christmas’ over Starbucks’ holiday cups: The Epitome of Ridiculous

The ‘War on Christmas’ over Starbucks’ holiday cups: The Epitome of Ridiculous

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Clarissa Schmidt:  November 17, 2015


The giant coffee chain known for its “basic” pumpkin spice lattes as well as their double chocolatey chip Frappuccino has provoked a huge controversy with its new holiday cups.

In past years, the cups have been decorated with traditional holiday designs such as ornaments, snowflakes and pine trees. However, this October Starbucks released their new design clear of any holiday images or messages. Just a simple, two-toned red colored cup.

There was a sudden outcry claiming that Starbucks was positioning itself as “anti-Christmas.”

The backlash came from a number of people, including Christians, who were against the plain design of the holiday cups. They believed that the design took away “Christ and Christmas.”

The controversy began with Joshua Feuerstein, a former broadcasting evangelist in Arizona, who shared his outrage with Starbucks in a Facebook video. The video showed Feuerstein “tricking” a barista into putting “Merry Christmas” on his cup.

“Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus… so I pranked them… and they hate it,” Feuerstein said on his Facebook page.

Since its upload last Thursday, the video has reached 15 million views. After watching, many people agreed with Feuerstein, using the hashtag, “#MerryChristmasStarbucks” in efforts to get back at the company for “intentionally” erasing Christmas designs.

According to Starbucks, the minimalist design is “another way Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.”

“This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of design & content.

The festive images in the past have never directly correlated with Christianity or Christmas to begin with. Birds, scarves and trees are generally liked by everyone. By creating this simple design, it eliminates religious discrimination altogether and makes everyone feel comfortable holding a slightly overpriced recycled coffee cup.

“We do not expect, nor is it the job of, a company or cup to share the Christian faith,” the president of BASIC College Ministries at the University at Albany, Kaitlyn Puukila, said. “As Christian people, it is our job to share our Christian faith with the world. We do not hold an offended position against Starbucks, their Christmas cup, or rules they may or may not have about saying Merry Christmas to customers…We do not believe that it is at all important in comparison to the works we are doing for the Glory of God.”

Starbucks also happens to sell its own “Christmas blend” of coffee. Where is the anti-Christmas in that?

“It’s really respectable that such a large corporation acknowledges and understands the idea of being inclusive,” UAlbany alum Emily Beyer said. “These [people] are basically equating a lack of representation as a war, get over yourself. There are many other important things to be focusing on than a damn cup.”

If there are any realizations coming out of this “war,” it’s that something as little as a red cup has people more angry and concerned than larger national issues, such as homelessness and violence.

So, here’s a tip on fixing this “issue.” If someone doesn’t like the cup, then they shouldn’t go to Starbucks. I think there are plenty of better things to do in a day instead of bothering baristas. After all, #ItsJustACup.

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