The Seattle-based coffee giant cares about selling lattes, not representing Christianity
Another day, another pointless controversy brewing on social media.
This week’s drama involves Starbucks and their annual holiday cups. Since 1997, devout Starbucks customers have awaited their arrival to signify the beginning of the holiday season. The design varies from year to year, but has consisted of things from snowflakes and snowmen to Christmas ornaments and reindeer. When the holiday menu debuted at the beginning of the month, the seasonal cups had no snowflakes or Christmas trees—in fact, they had nothing at all, they were just simply red. You might think this is just a creative liberty, a new minimalist approach to the holiday classic, but some people on social media took this as an all-out war on Christmas.
Even though some years the cups didn’t feature any sort of religious symbolism—unless it was a snowy night in Jerusalem when Jesus was born—many outspoken Christians believe that removing things like snowflakes and Christmas ornaments from the cups was Starbucks’ attempt to push their secular agenda on their customers and is yet another sign of our society’s decline into political correctness. The decision prompted people on Twitter to start the hashtag “#BoycottStarbucks,” and Joshua Feuerstein, a former television and radio evangelist, went so far as to say that “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
Republican presidential candidate and all around hothead Donald Trump even addressed the controversy by calling for a Starbucks boycott, and suggested that he wouldn’t renew the lease of the coffee chain’s Trump Tower location in New York.
Starbucks set the record straight by explaining that they intended the two-toned ombré design to be a blank canvas to encourage customers to draw their own designs and tell their own stories as a way to embrace people from every background. “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of design and content, said in a statement. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
This controversy not only seems unwarranted, but completely ridiculous. A Starbucks cup is just a piece of cardboard that you fill with a fancy $6 latte and then throw in the trash. They are not trying to make a political statement. And the cups didn’t even always represent Christmas! Snowflakes and snowmen are not Christmas-related, they are winter-related, and the cups are for the seasonal drink menu from November to January, not a Christmas menu. There doesn’t need to be a religious connotation at all; even if they have featured Christmas trees or Santa Claus on their products through the years, those images have gotten so commercialized that they barely even represent the Christian religion for most people. What’s the point in getting mad? Do people really have nothing better to do? Besides, it’s a coffee shop chain—since when are they the moral compass for the nation?
Possibly the most laughable part of the whole thing is that outraged customers started telling baristas that their names were “Merry Christmas” so that they would have to write it on the cup. Seriously—because nothing says “TAKE THAT, STARBUCKS!” quite like spending your money in their store. You sure got them! If you’re truly outraged by this whole ridiculous situation, just stop buying your daily venti non-fat caramel brûlé latte and go somewhere else that will cater to your immature overly-sensitive needs.